MSU's Bug House teaches visitors to appreciate critters
Not everyone possesses a fascination for the insects of the world. In an effort to combat the negative reputation that bugs sometimes have, academic specialist and collections manager Gary Parsons has dedicated his time at MSU to exposing people to the reasons why he loves bugs through the Entomology Bug House.
“Most kids, and actually adults, sort of have a fear or disgust of bugs,” Parsons said. “For those of us who work there, it’s kind of like we want to share the cool things, the reasons why we like insects, and that you don’t have to be afraid of them. They do good things for us.”
Entomology graduate student Dan Gibson acquired his love of bugs from a charismatic biology teacher during his undergraduate years.ch
“They’re fascinating,” Gibson said. “There’s a lot of interesting things they do and systems they work with.”
His graduate school project advocates for beneficial insects.
“There are a lot of different types of insects, bees get the most attention, that provide services to us, that do a lot of useful things,” Gibson said. “Beyond bees though, there’s not that much that gets very much credit.”
The Entomology Bug House hosted an open house Monday, an event that reoccurs every second Monday of the month during the school year. It is not open on a regular basis, but tours are scheduled with schools to try and increase their success as an outreach program, Parsons said.
“You can’t get away from them (insects) for one thing, they’re all around us,” Parsons said.
The Bug House works with undergraduate and graduate students from different departments to broaden people’s knowledge of the world of bugs. Entomology graduate student Margie Lund worked with bugs during undergraduate school and she said the experience stuck with her.
“I work in agriculture so I started doing horticulture and working with plants,” Lund said. “Once I was away from the crawling around things, I kind of missed it.”
She had developed an appreciation for bugs.
“I think their personalities are fun because you don’t really think of these little creatures having personalities until you work with them and realize how different (they are),” Lund said.
Lund said she enjoys working with kids and seeing all of the schools groups come through the Entomology Bug House.
Having people of all ages come in and share the same fascination that he maintains is why Parsons does it, he said. Parsons strives to leave a lasting impression on people to make them want to come back again.
“Every day, I can learn something new about an insect,” Parsons said. “I will never know everything there is to know.”