- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
If you see a “creepy crawler,” don't yell “yecch!” and run for cover—or the nearest exit. Instead, say “Interesting!”
Insects should delight you, not frighten you.
That's what Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator at the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, told the crowd at a recent program at the Vacaville Public Library.
She placed a stick insect on her wrist and everyone watched it crawl up her arm.
“It thinks I'm a tree,” she said. "It's climbing to the top of the tree."
“Interesting!” the participants said on cue.
Yang displayed drawers of butterfly, dragonfly and beetle specimens from the Bohart--the home of nearly eight million insect specimens--and showcased critters from the Bohart's live “petting zoo.” They included Madagascar hissing cockroaches or “hissers," stick insects or “walking sticks," and scorpions.
“Interesting!” they called out.
Yang talked about honey bees, bumble bees, black widow spiders, tarantulas, praying mantids and ladybugs ("they're actually beetles, not bugs, so they're really lady beetles").
The March 11th program marked her 15th traveling outreach program of the academic year, or since September 2018.
Following her presentation, the children and their families made a beeline for the insects, picking up the hissers and walking sticks. They transferred the bugs between themselves faster than ticket takers do for passengers at New York Central.
Visitors who tour the Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus, are also told that "yecch" is banned. They are encouraged to use words such as "interesting," "fascinating" and "tell me more!" Directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, the insect museum is open to the public Monday through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 5 p.m. (excluding holidays). Admission is free.
And if a picture is worth a thousand words...a thousand words!...then the first word ought to be "interesting."
At least when the picture pertains to kids and bugs...