Arboretum Paths: Bugfest is this Friday and Saturday

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, September 20, 2017

By Patricia R. Drackett
Pat is the director of the Crosby Arboretum and
assistant extension professor of landscape architecture with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Bugs – they are everywhere! Insects will be taking center stage this Friday and Saturday at Crosby Arboretum’s annual Bugfest event.
Celebrate all things buggy during this two-day extravaganza. Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the Arboretum will host a field day open to insect collecting by school and homeschool groups. Enjoy night collecting activities from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Friday evening. Bring your flashlight!
Bugfest is open from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturday, and will include a visit by the Audubon Institute’s Bugmobile. A Buggy Midway with children’s craft activities will be open on both Friday evening and Saturday morning.
In its eleventh year, Bugfest is a unique opportunity to learn about the world of insects (and arachnids), and is coordinated by Extension Entomologist Dr. John Guyton, along with professors and students from Mississippi State University’s Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology Department.
Dr. Guyton will display his travelling “Arthropod Zoo”. Arthropods are invertebrates with jointed legs that make up more than 80% of all animals on Earth, such as spiders, centipedes, mites, ticks, lobsters, crabs, shrimp, crayfish, and scorpions.
Classes attending Bugfest on Friday will have many opportunities to explore insects. Tours will be conducted in the pitcher plant bog, and to explore aquatic insects along the Pond Journey trail. Butterflies and pollinating insects will be featured. Attendees can learn about bees and beekeeping from MSU Extension professor and research apiculturist Dr. Jeff Harris, and local beekeepers Buddy Broadway and Jac Coleman.
Enter the key words “interesting” or “amazing” and “bug facts” into your favorite Internet search engine and you’ll soon be reading some fascinating subjects. Haven’t you ever wondered how long a cockroach can live without its head? And just how big are the largest insects in the world?
Insect collections can be entered at county fairs. Students who would like to start a collection now to enter next year will find information both at Bugfest and on the MSU Extension Service website ( which has many publications to help develop a prize-winning collection. Just enter “insect collecting” in the search field.
Have an insect you can’t identify? Bring it in (dead or alive) to the entomology station on the Pinecote Pavilion during the event. Here, experts will be assisting with insect identification as well as guidance on proper collecting and mounting techniques.
Other facilities around the country offer well-attended “bugfests”, for example, natural science museums and university entomology departments. We are pleased to offer the coastal region a first-rate annual insect celebration! Arboretum volunteers will be assisting the professors and students from the Mississippi State University entomology department, along with Mississippi Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists.
Visitor feedback for Bugfest continues to be enthusiastic. Night collecting activities are highly popular – collecting stations will be set up along the pathways with various types of lights near sheets that attract nocturnal insects such as beetles and moths.
Families who wish to explore insects further may be interested in author Sally Kneidel’s books. Two of my favorites are “Pet Bugs: A Kid’s Guide to Catching and Keeping Touchable Insects”, and “More Pet Bugs: A Kid’s Guide to Catching and Keeping Insects and Other Small Creatures”. Both books can be found on websites offering used books for as low as a penny plus shipping costs!
Friday’s school field day is free for teachers and chaperones, and $2 for students. Classes will enjoy live insect demonstrations, collections, pet bugs and exhibits, and collecting and mounting insects. Friday after 6 p.m., and all day Saturday, the cost will be the regular site admission: $5 for adults and $2 for children.
See the Arboretum program calendar at for more information on Bugfest. To schedule an arrival time for a school group on Friday, September 22, please call the office.
On your next visit, enjoy the fall gallery exhibit by Poplarville artist and writer Erlene Smith. Her work will be on display through the end of November. Our morning Smart Phone Photography Workshop on September 30 has filled and photographer Diana Thornton is offering 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Diana will reveal how you can get stunning images with your phone camera. The program is open to ages 12 and up and is limited to 12 persons. Cost for non-members is $7. Reservations requested.
Call 601-799-2311 now to sign up for programs.
The Arboretum is located in Picayune, I-59 Exit 4, at 370 Ridge Road.

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