This weekend, BUGfest will celebrate the western bumble bee
Insect and plant lovers, BUGfest is back! The Natural History Museum of Utah will be humming with bug lovers this weekend sharing un-bee-lievable facts about Utah's invertebrates and the plants they pollinate.
Over half of animal biomass on Earth is inhabited by insects. Every year, the Natural History Museum of Utah hosts BUGFest, an event to educate and celebrate the importance and marvels of bugs, and 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 be turned into a sense of wonder," said Christy Bills.
Bills is the invertebrates collections manager at the Natural History Museum of Utah. She, like many other bug enthusiasts, is excited to host the annual BUGfest event this weekend at the museum in Salt Lake City.
BUGfest is back and it’s bigger than ever. Jason Cryan is Sarah B. George Executive Director of the Natural History Museum of Utah.
“BUGfest is a pretty common festival celebrating all things invertebrates in natural history museums across the country. ... This year in our first two-day festival, the focus bug is the bee," Cyran said.
Not just any bee — this year, BUGFest is celebrating the western bumble bee, which is currently under review to be listed as federally protected. Dr. Ashley Rohde, a postdoctoral researcher at New Mexico State University, recently received her PhD at USU focusing on this bumblebee.
“Utah is part of the range of where the western bumble bee used to be really common. ... It was such an important and charismatic pollinator ... and unfortunately, in the last 15 or so years we've seen abundances ... really decrease to the point where, in a lot of places, it's actually pretty hard to find," Rohde explained.
Not only will the festival highlight this critical critter, Cyran said there will be plenty of bug treats and events for all ages.
“It's going to be an amazing celebration of bugs, insects, invertebrates, all kinds of things related to multi legged friends. We have speaker series, we have bug-bar, so you can try some really good food with insect ingredients. ... We have face painting for the kids and arts and crafts projects and all kinds of amazing things," Cyran said.
BUGFest takes place Aug. 12 and 13. Tickets are available for purchase here.