Penn State's Great Insect Fair imagines a world without bugs

September 19, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — If asked whether they would be happy in a world without insects, some people might answer in the affirmative. But such a scenario would be disastrous for Earth and its inhabitants, according to entomologists.

Appreciating insects' role in agriculture and the environment will be the focus of Penn State's 2019 Great Insect Fair, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, 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, "Living With(out) Insects," explores the widely publicized, worldwide decline of insects, said one of the organizers, Michael Skvarla, director of Penn State's Insect Identification Laboratory.

"Insects are integral to the health of the planet and people," Skvarla said. "They pollinate our crops and feed on pests, help decompose dead animals, form the base of food webs, and stabilize natural environments. So this year, we want to highlight how important insects are to all of these systems."

In keeping with the theme, visitors will have an opportunity to see exhibits featuring stream macroinvertebrates and native plants for insects. There also will be several opportunities to see live insects, including an insect zoo, butterfly tent and nocturnal insect tent.

In addition, Skvarla noted, visitors can learn about ticks and vector-borne diseases, as well as insect-vectored plant pathogens.

Other planned exhibits and activities include the following:

  • Honey tasting.
  • Insect construction.
  • Carnivorous plants.
  • Face painting.
  • Insect deli.
  • The invasive spotted lanternfly.
  • 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.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 19, 2019