Forest Service Brings "Bad Bugs" and Good Fun to BugFest 2016
Nearly 30,000 insect enthusiasts and bug-curious people recently landed at BugFest 2016, an annual event held in Raleigh, NC, and sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Adding to their journey through bug-filled exhibits, crafts, games, activities, and cuisine were Forest Service representatives from the Eastern Threat Center, Southern Research Station, and Uwharrie National Forest, who staffed a “Bad Bugs in the Woods” booth highlighting invasive insects threatening eastern forests. Visitors at the booth learned about such "bad bugs" as the emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, and hemlock woolly adelgid, as well as the redbay ambrosia beetle and walnut twig beetle, both associated with fungal diseases. "Many were amazed that these tiny insects could kill a tree," says Erika Mack, a Center resource information specialist at the booth. Mack, along with Center research ecologist Frank Koch and biological scientist Michael Gavazzi also helped young visitors use their fingerprints to craft ants, beetles, butterflies, and caterpillars. BugFest returns in September 2017.