Bug Fest 2017 logo

When: Saturday, June 24th; 10:00AM - 3:00 PM

Where: Hilltop Garden & Nature Center 2367 E. 10th St. on the campus of Indiana University, Bloomington.

What:  Bug Fest is a celebration of insects and their relatives.  This will be our 5th Anniversary BugFest!!!  Designed for children of all ages, from 1 to 101, the mission of Bug Fest is to educate the public about insect and spider biology. Guest lecturers will share their knowledge of dragonflies, butterflies, spiders, and other topics, plus there will be information tables on a variety of subjects, including pollinators, garden insects, forest pests, public health, and live insect displays. Activities will include insect crafts, mealworm races, cricket spitting, insect games, story telling, and more! A display of student art with an insect theme is also planned. Free Admission!

Cost: Free! However, a donation of canned fruits or vegetables to go to the Hoosier Hills Food Bank and Mother Hubbard's Cupboard would be greatly appreciated. The flowers of many of our fruits and vegetables are pollinated by insects, so these foods would not exist without the aid of insects. Donation bins will be available at the entrance to Bug Fest.

For more information: Contact the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service at 812-349-2575.

Bug Fest is a collaboration of Monroe County Parks & Recreation, City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, Hilltop Garden & Nature Center, Sycamore Land Trust, Sassafras Audubon Society, The WonderLab Museum, and the Purdue University Extension Office.

If you would like to have a Station at the 2017 BugFest, please complete the Bugfest 2017 Station Proposal Form!

Proposal forms will be reviewed by the Bug Fest Planning Committee and applicants will be notified by June 9th of acceptance.

The Bug Fest Planning Committee reserves the right to refuse applications.

Remember, most of our fruits and vegetables are pollinated by insects! 

Bug Fest Speakers:

Main Classroom
Time Topic Details
10:30 – 11:15

Leslie Bishop


An introduction to the fascinating work of spiders and their vital role in nature. Dr. Bishop will focus on the interesting diversity and unique life styles of spiders that live right here in Indiana.
11:30 - 12:15

Jason 'Smiley' Scott and Sarah Ferguson, White River Bee Keepers

Honeybees and Beekeeping

Learn about the roles of honey bees, how hives are established and the steps to keep bees and harvest honey.
 12:30 – 1:15

Anne Perez

Forensic Entomology

 1:30 – 2:15

Tom Swinford


Ferocious predators and powerful fliers, dragonflies have changed little over millions of years. DNR expert Tom Swinford will show you how to identify dragonflies, and describe their unique stream and wetland haunts. He will also provide an overview of dragonfly biology and conservation.
Event Patio
11:00 - 11:30

Patty Callison

Stories on 6 legs

Patty Callison from the Bloomington Storytellers Guild will entertain children with insect-themed stories.
11:45 – 12:15

Mike Voyles

Beautiful Bizarre Bugs

Dress-up in the exoskeleton of an insect or arachnid to find out what makes each unique. Get up close with some of WonderLab’s amazing arthropods, and learn what makes them so successful.
 12:15 – 12:45

Joe Lee

Flea Circus

An imaginary journey into the world of fleas for children of all ages.
 1:00 – 1:30

Mike Voyles

Beautiful Bizarre Bugs

Dress-up in the exoskeleton of an insect or arachnid to find out what makes each unique. Get up close with some of WonderLab’s amazing arthropods, and learn what makes them so successful.
1:45 – 2:15

Joe Lee

Flea Circus
An imaginary journey into the world of fleas for children of all ages.

Insect Safari

Try your hand with an insect net on this informal walk looking for insects.
2:45 Cricket Spitting Contest (near entrance)

Bug Fest Exhibits:

Exhibit Topic Presenter Description
Beetles IU Bloomington, Moczek Lab We will demonstrate the life cycle of dung beetles using live samples. This will include exhibiting a beetle ant farm, the balls of dung that mothers construct for offspring, as well as larvae, pupae, and adult dung beetles. Participants will have the opportunity to hold a dung beetle. At the end of the exhibit, we will display and discuss related (i. e. non-dung feeding) scarab beetles from around the world.
Aquatic Insects! Monroe County Stormwater Services/City of Bloomingtion Utilities Lots of insects start their lives in water and depend on good water quality to survive. We will have an aquarium of live aquatic insects along with other smaller, individual containers for visitors to see these bugs up close.
Garden pests and beneficials Purdue Extension/Monroe County Master Gardeners We have insect samples and magnifying glasses for kids and parents to closesly examine common garden pests/beneficials
Carnivorous plants Larry Wilcox We will have potted carnivorous plants and we plan on having paper plate replica Venus Fly Traps that will show how the Venus Fly Trap captures insects. We will also have display boards with pictures that show the plants in their native habitat.
Insects, disease and human health Monroe County Health Department. The Monroe County Health Department will have the carnival like "Pick a Duck" game that we use to educate attendees in a fun, interactive way. Each duck has a number on the bottom that is linked to a question regarding mosquitoes, ticks (disease causing insects) and bedbugs. The questions are divided into several age-appropriate lists so all the kids can feel and be successful in learning about the insects.
Fossil Bugs! Indiana University Paleontology Collection This booth will demonstrate the uniqueness of bugs in the fossil record and will highlight the very long and rich history of bugs on this planet.
Honey Bees White River Beekeepers See beekeeping equipment, and an observation bee hive.
Gogreendistrict.com: Movement, Habitat, And Recycling Monroe County SWMD There will be photos of insects displayed. Booth attendees will imitate the movement of insects. They will learn what habitats those insects like. They will then identify some items that can be recycled in Monroe County, put those items in a recycling bin, and also learn that a spray bottle of vinegar and water and/or baking soda can clean things without attracting or hurting insects, human life, or other life like chemical soaps and cleaners...considered Household Hazardous Waste (HHW).
Galls and the Insects that Make Them Sycamore Land Trust See various types of galls that insects and plants produce. These crazy growths aren't well understood by scientists but are a fascinating look into some of the crazy relationships between insects and plants. We plan to have some galls on hand that visitors can touch and explore, and possibly have some gall specimens under a microscope so everyone can take a closer look. Play a matching game where visitors can attempt to match the type.
Lightening Bug Disco Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Brown County State Park Learn all about bioluminescence and how to tell the difference between Lightening Bug species just by watching them light up.
Native Plant Vendor Eco Logic Nursery Observe live native plants and learn which pollinator groups benefit the most from each species. Plants will also be available for purchase.
Honey Bee Challenge Monroe County 4-H Youth Development Program Have you ever wondered what paths honey bees and other pollinators take to do their job? Stop by our booth to create a bath for your robot honey bee to pollinate specific plants and return to its home safely. Build your own robot honey bee and design a course for them to complete on a map of farm.
Roach Races WonderLab Choose your own roaches and then race them to see whose roach wins. Interact with the insect and see how it behaves, moves, and looks while it is living.
Imperiled Insects in Indiana U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service See factsheets, posters, lists of websites etc. on species that are federally threatened/endangered in Indiana with a special emphasis on insects (Rusty-patched Bumble Bee, Karner Blue Butterfly, Hine's Emerald Dragonfly, American Buring Beetle etc. ) and their chief night-time predators (bats). We will provide a table of crafts (tie-dyed, coffee-filter butterflies).
2017 Monarch Egg Rescue a SUCCESS!! Winterhaven Wildflowers Indiana is a part of the summer reproductive grounds of the monarch butterfly, the remarkable orange insect with the farthest migration in the world.  This year, for the first time in recent history, dozens of Hoosiers helped rescue thousands of tiny monarch eggs stranded on immature milkweed plants after an untimely South wind blew some migrators too far north before the milkweed was large enough to support caterpillars.
Hummingbirds as Pollinators Sassafras Audubon Society We will be having a hummingbird craft and demonstration of how hummingbirds pollinate specific kinds of flowers.  We will give out a handout of what native Indiana flower species attract hummingbirds. 

Bug Fest Sponsors:

Sponsor Level
Butterfly Sponsor Level
Monroe County Stormwater Services Butterfly
Monroe County Parks and Recreation Foundation Butterfly
Bloomington Hardware Butterfly
Chrysalis Sponsorship Level
World Wide Automotive Chrysalis
Fowler Tree Services, Inc. Chrysalis
Sassafras Audubon Society Chrysalis
Eco Logic LLC Chrysalis
Brinegar Eye Care Chrysalis