WOOSTER, Ohio – The spotlight, albeit an ultraviolet one, will soon shine on bugs in the dark.
“Our idea is that kids will learn about the different kinds of insects that can be found in nature, and they’ll learn that there are a lot of insects that are good and they shouldn’t fear them,” said event co-organizer Luis Cañas, an associate professor of entomology -- insect science -- at the center.
The popular free event goes from 8-10:30 p.m. starting at the arboretum’s Seaman Orientation Plaza. That’s about 1.7 miles from OARDC’s main entrance at 1680 Madison Ave. in Wooster. Signs on campus will direct you to the arboretum.
OARDC insect experts -- scientists and graduate scientists -- and arboretum staff are behind it. The program, Cañas said, should be “a lot of fun for kids and their parents.”
There will be a bug zoo, cockroach races (8:30-8:45 p.m.), “walk like an insect” races (8:45-9:15 p.m.), firefly collecting (9:15-9:45 p.m.), free washable insect tattoos, and, starting at 9:45 p.m., the actual walk itself.
Every five minutes, groups of 15 or so people will head out onto the arboretum grounds, stopping at vapor lights, UV black lights, pheromone traps and other sorts of insect attractants -- all designed to bring in bugs that tend to be hard to see. Giant moths and beetles may be some of them.
You’ll see live creatures, too, in the bug zoo, including such insects as walking sticks and hissing cockroaches and arthropods -- insect cousins -- like scorpions and giant millipedes.
And plan to show up hungry -- or not. You can chow down on chocolate-covered insects, though they won’t in fact be alive anymore. Free samples will be available.
Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes, Cañas suggests. And bring a flashlight and a collection jar if you can.
For more information, call 330-263-3818. Call ahead, too, if the weather looks iffy. The rain date is the next day, July 17, at the same time and place.
OARDC is the research arm of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
Cañas also holds an appointment with Ohio State University Extension, which is the college’s statewide outreach arm.
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