Crosby Arboretum BugFest this Friday and Saturday

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, September 19, 2018

By Patricia R. Drackett, Director and Assistant Extension Professor of Landscape Architecture
The Crosby Arboretum, Mississippi State University Extension Service

We’re looking forward to the Arboretum’s annual BugFest this Friday and Saturday! Explore the world of entomology and insect collecting, identification, and more, with Extension Entomologist Dr. John Guyton, and professors and students from the MSU Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology Department.

Friday, September 21 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM will be a field day for registered schools and homeschool groups. From 6:00 to 8:30 PM, all ages will enjoy “Black Lighting for Bugs” and other night-collecting activities. Bring a flashlight or headlamp!

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Children will have fun exploring the “Buggy Midway” which offers entomology-based kids’ craft activities, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday and from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. The New Orleans Audubon Zoo’s Bugmobile will make presentations from 10 a.m. until noon on Saturday morning.

The cost for BugFest’s school field day on Friday is $2 for students, and no charge for teachers or chaperones. School groups must call ahead and be assigned an arrival time. Friday evening and Saturday admission is $5 for adults, and $2 for children. Arboretum members enter free.

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 for exploring insects.

Although one of the topics covered during BugFest will be proper mounting techniques for insects in collections, children who are interested in bugs can simply collect them in a container for observation, or choose to “capture” photos on a camera phone to bring back to an expert for help in identifying a specimen.

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 on the MSU Extension Service website ( which offers many publications to help develop a prize-winning collection. Just enter “insect collecting” in the search field.

Other facilities around the country offer well-attended “bugfests”, for example, natural science museums and university entomology departments. The Crosby Arboretum is pleased to offer the coastal region this first-rate annual insect celebration!

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 will 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!

Have an unknown insect? Bring it to the MSU entomology professors and students during BugFest for identification. For more information on insects, visit and search by keyword for research-based information you can trust from the Mississippi State University Extension Service.  See the interactive program calendar at for more information on Bugfest.

In celebration of caterpillars, and our upcoming BugFest event, a kids’ craft workshop, “My Bug Jar” will be led by Kim Johnson on Sunday, Sept. 16 from 2:00 to 3:00 PM. Children will create a personalized collecting jar to bring to the event. As children must be accompanied by an adult, there is no minimum age requirement. Space is limited, and reservations are required. Members’ children $4, and non-members’ children $6 (no charge for adults for this program). Please call 601-799-2311 to register for these programs as soon as possible.

Mark your calendar for our big Fall Native Woody Plant Sale on October 5-6 (Friday and Saturday). A floral design workshop with horticulture professor Dr. James Delprince will be held during the sale on Saturday, October 6. See the brand-new, easy to access, interactive calendar on our website ( for details on this or any other events, and remember to visit our Facebook page or website). The Arboretum is located at 370 Ridge Road in Picayune, I-59 Exit 4, at 370 Ridge Road (south of Walmart and adjacent to I-59).