More than 500 gather for 4th annual Bug Bizarre!

The fourth annual Bug Bizarre!, a free community festival celebrating the joy and excitement of entomology, attracted 484 visitors and at least 69 volunteers staffing information tables over a three-hour period on Saturday, Oct. 7, in the Deep Run Park Recreation Center.

A total of 22 exhibits featured a variety of subjects, including pollinators, garden insects, forest pests, public health, live insect displays and numerous children’s activities. Returning this year were fan favorites: Cockroach Races featuring Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches.

Junior Master Gardeners offered three activities for children. The youngest participants could make a ladybug hat to wear, construct a Codling moth caterpillar, and stamp apple prints which they could turn into insects if they wished.

“I know, as I walked around, it seemed that until the very end most everyone was always busy during the event,” said Ed Olsen, Henrico County Extension Agent. “I also noted that many people stayed for a long time at the event.”

Olsen said the main purpose of the event was to raise people’s awareness about bugs and bug-related issues. “We nailed that,” he said.

“One of the Master Gardeners that staffed the welcome table told me that one person commented as they were leaving that they thought the Bug Bizarre! was only going to be a kids event,” Olsen said. “They were surprised that they had learned so much about bugs themselves!”