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What's the buzz about BugFest?

One of the Bee Lab experts stands behind high definition photos of bees taken and edited by Chelsey Ritner.
Michael Branstetter
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USDA-ARS Pollinating Insects Research Unit
One of the Bee Lab experts stands behind high definition photos of bees taken and edited by Chelsey Ritner. Dr. Branstetter helps educate the public about the diversity of bees.

Over half of animal biomass on Earth is inhabited by insects. Every year, the Natural History Museum of Utah host’s BugFest, an event to educate and celebrate the importance and marvels of bugs. There is also a bug bar you won’t want to miss.

“Everyone has an emotional response to insects, everyone. So either you are filled with wonder when you see a butterfly, or you're filled with disgust when you see a cockroach. That strong emotional reaction can almost always, even if it's a negative feeling, be turned into a sense of wonder,” said Christy Bills, the Invertebrates collections manager at the Natural History Museum of Utah. She, like many other bug enthusiasts, is very excited to host the annual BugFest event this Saturday at the museum.

Staff and participants at a previous Scientist in the Spotlight shows children interesting critter.
Mark Johnston
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©NHMU
Crawl your way over to BugFest!

“We'll have experts there to answer people's questions about our historic insect collection. But we'll also have partners who do entomology research, and can answer people's questions about bees, pollinators, and all different kinds of work that's been done in the community,” Bills explained.

One partner participating in BugFest is the USDA-ARS Bee Lab. Dr. Michael Branstetter is an entomologist at the Bee Lab and adjunct professor at Utah State University.

“The idea is to show people kind of really what is a bee? And what are all the different forms that bees take, we'll have a lot of things ... actual insect specimens, showing the diversity of bees," Branstetter said. "So people hopefully will come through our station, learn a bit about bees, and then we want them to draw their own bee."

Because it is also Pollinator Week, Branstetter is especially excited to help people realize just how misunderstood bees can be.

“Our goal is going to be to present information to the public about bees, and pollinators. Bees are, you know, they're insects but they're fuzzy; they're like little flying teddy bears that collect pollen. There's at least a few bees out there that are pretty cute and so you should come take a look and see for yourself,” Branstetter said.

 Research Leader of the USDA-ARS Bee Lab, Diana Cox-Foster, displays some of the labs lives bees as she explains factors involved in some species declines.
Micheal Branstetter
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In light of Pollinator Week, there will be a special emphasis with pollinators and bees at this year's BugFest! Come and meet some of Utah's world experts regarding bees, thier diversity andlife history! Research Leader of the USDA-ARS Bee Lab, Diana Cox-Foster, displays some of the labs lives bees as she explains factors involved in some species' declines.

In addition to the special emphasis on bees at this year's festival, the museum’s public works liaison, Echo Paixao, mentioned one rare opportunity involving a special chef.

“You're also going to get a chance to sample some food at our bug bar. For anyone who's feeling a little adventurous, we're going to eat like the rest of the world eats and we're going to eat some bugs on Saturday,” Paixao said.

Visit their website to purchase tickets for this weekend's event.