Penn State's Great Insect Fair celebrates insects in pop culture

September 17, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Given many people's aversion to them, insects and other arthropods typically are not very popular in most circles. But that doesn't stop them from having a prominent place in popular culture.

Appreciating insects' influence in society and culture will be the focus of Penn State's 2018 Great Insect Fair, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 22 at the Snider Agricultural 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 "#ArthroPop: Insects in Pop Culture," according to one of the organizers, Margarita López-Uribe, assistant professor of entomology.

"Insects have been an integral part of our recent history," she said. "For instance, there are movies, songs and art inspired by insects." She noted that examples include movies such as "Arachnophobia" and "A Bug's Life"; books such as "Charlotte's Web"; and music such as "Flight of the Bumblebee."

In keeping with the theme, visitors at the fair will have an opportunity to see exhibits titled Super Bugs; Insect Vectors in Human History; The Original Aliens: Parasitoid Wasps; Zombie Ants; #HauntedSoils; and Tick Checks, Maggot Art and Fly Jello.

López-Uribe said the event also will feature a new monarch butterfly tent, allowing visitors to experience close interaction with monarchs and learn about their development. 

Other planned exhibits and activities include the following:

  • Insect zoo
  • Honey tasting 
  • Nocturnal insect tent
  • Insect construction
  • Carnivorous plants
  • Face painting 
  • Insect deli
  • The invasive spotted lanternfly
  • The bedbug epidemic
  • Amazing adaptations 
  • The insects of the ocean: crustaceans
  • Insects Are Us 4-H Club of Monroe County, Pennsylvania

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 entomology department at 814-865-1895 or visit the department's website.

  • Great Insect Fair 2018 poster
    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 17, 2018