MSU Bug Club draws a crowd at Springticipation

What’s it like to pack up Madagascar hissing cockroaches, tarantulas and other live specimens on a cold winter night so hundreds of people can meet them?

The MSU Bug House's Madagascar hissing cockroaches.
The MSU Bug House's Madagascar hissing cockroaches. The MSU Bug Club frequently meets for activities in the Bug House. Photo by Be Noble Photography.

It’s been an extremely frigid January, but that didn’t stop the MSU Bug Club from successfully packing up the Department’s live insect specimens and heading to the Breslin Center for MSU’s Springticipation. The event helps MSU’s undergraduate students find organizations and groups for a variety of opportunities and community. The Bug Club’s display was one of the more popular as students were shown how to hold exotic arthropods.

Many of the showy specimens at the club’s exhibit are native to places with a warm habitat. Along with the Madagascar hissing cockroaches, blue death feigning beetles are native to the deserts of the southwestern US and the curly haired tarantula is from Costa Rica. Temperatures that evening were way below freezing, so club members pre-heated cars, put most of the insects in styrofoam coolers and wrapped the tarantula's enclosure in a thick fleece blanket.

"Transportation was the easy part, but keeping them warm was the challenge,” said outreach chairperson Claire Komarzec. “While the car could stay toasty, keeping them warm from car to building was worrisome."

"A lot of the visitors were very apprehensive about handling our insects at first, but after telling them fun facts and clearing up their misconceptions, most warmed up to the idea,” said club president Osten Eschedor. “Even some who were very fearful at first grabbed a flier and promised to come to our next meeting."

Bug Club vice president Nate Howder said, "I think Springticipation was a great opportunity for us. A lot of people don't know that there's an MSU Bug Club and many people don't know that they're interested in bugs until they get a closer look."

Find the MSU Bug Club on Twitter @bugclubmsu.

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