UF’s BugFest Opens To The Public For The First Time
By Giuseppe Sabella
Tomas Bustamante, 25, holds a queen bee for spectators during a demonstration by the Honey Bee Club. He said the colony replaces its queen in about 16 days if the previous one dies.
Tomas Bustamante, far right, holds a panel of bees for spectators. Bustamante is a 25-year-old graduate student at the University of Florida and treasurer of the Honey Bee Club.
From left, Sanskriti Bhosale, 9, Yulee Zimmerman, 7, and Andrew Zimmerman, 49, focus on a panel of bees during a demonstration at Saturday’s BugFest.
Andrew Grim removes a panel covered in thousands of bees during a demonstration. Grim, a 19-year-old finance major at the University of Florida, said a large hive holds 20,000 bees on average.
Andrew Grim, vice president of the Honey Bee Club, prepares a smoker for the next bee demonstration. Grim is a 19-year-old finance freshman at the University of Florida.
Ayden Geary, 8, comes face-to-face with a Madagascar hissing cockroach. “It’s cute,” he said.
People of all ages gathered to observe, race and consume little creatures during the fifth annual BugFest on Saturday, hosted at the University of Florida’s Steinmetz Hall, which houses the department of entomology and nematology.
This year marks the first where the event is open to the public, rather than just for students, said Kristen Donovan, a 22-year-old entomology senior at UF.
Donovan said the Entomology Club puts on BugFest each year to spotlight the study of insects. This year, she said, they wanted to inspire children and families with the world of bugs.
Dmitry Kardasz, 5, held a rectangular piece of paper marked with abstract lines of green, purple and blue.
“We put maggots in paint, and when they come out you put them on your paper,” he said. “And then they make art for you.”
Dmitry said maggot art is the best activity, but he also enjoyed the food.
He tried the banana bread–but it had a surprise.
“It was bug banana bread, for some reason,” Dmitry said.
The menu also included oatmeal worm cookies, larval hummus and mealworms in Creole, nacho cheese and plain flavors.
Farther down the hall, cameras flashed during photo-booth sessions and cockroach races.
Outside, visitors were able to observe an Asian forest scorpion, Chilean rose tarantula and a hive of bees.
Gainesville could have an expanded public Wi-Fi access throughout the corridor of town stretching from the east edge of the University of Florida campus all the way to downtown as early as this fall.