Penn State's Great Insect Fair offers a view of the 'unseen'

August 31, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Although insects are all around us, we tend to pay attention primarily to the ones that sting, bite, eat our garden plants or invade our homes. But there is much more about the world of insects and other arthropods that goes unnoticed.

Giving the public a glimpse into this fascinating world is the goal of Penn State's Great Insect Fair, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 23, at the Snider Ag Arena on the University Park campus. The event is sponsored by the Entomology Department in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

The theme of this year's fair is "See the Unseen," according to one of the organizers, Margarita López-Uribe, assistant professor of entomology.

"Many intriguing aspects of insect behavior happen at times or in places that make them difficult for people to see," she said. "For example, the Insect Fair will offer an exhibit on gall insects, which trick plants into building structures where the insects have protected places to feed and reproduce."

López-Uribe noted that the event also will feature a nocturnal-insect tent, allowing visitors to see species that are active at a time when most people are asleep. In addition, a demonstration honey bee hive will give attendees a chance to see the normally unseen inner workings of a bee colony, she said.

The fair also will include other interactive exhibits and activities:

  •        Insect zoo
  •        Backyard bees
  •        Honey tasting 
  •        Bumblebees
  •        Butterfly tents
  •        Insect construction
  •        Vector-borne disease
  •        Insects from the Inside
  • ·       Face painting 
  •        "Zombie ant" fungus
  •        Insect deli 

Admission for the Great Insect Fair is free, although donations will be accepted to help defray costs. Free parking is available at the Snider Agricultural Arena and across Park Avenue behind the Centre County/Penn State Visitor Center.

To learn more about the fair, call the Department of Entomology at 814-865-1895 or visit the department's website.


  • Great Insect Fair 2016 - tailless whip scorpion

    A tailless whip scorpion was on display at the Insect Zoo during the 2016 Great Insect Fair.

    IMAGE: Nick Sloff, Department of Entomology

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 31, 2017