One of the joys of spring is observing the antics of insects and their relatives as they resume their activities. To celebrate this annual renaissance, the UMD Department of Entomology hosts an Insect Petting Zoo as part of the Maryland Day Gala at the College Park Campus of the University of Maryland on Saturday, April 28, from 10 am to 4 pm. This year’s petting zoo will feature an incomparable ensemble of friendly, ferocious, and creepy crawly creatures. A visit to the award winning petting zoo is sure to delight insect aficionados of all ages. This year's extravaganza features bugs from around your home and around the world.
Giant Lubber Locusts straight from the Everglades of Florida will reveal their favorite delicacies and show you how they defend themselves from being eaten.
Why is the lubber locust orange and black? Find out at the insect petting zoo.
Meet one of our gargantuan Tarantulas and learn how they capture and subdue their prey.
Meet a giant tarantula face to face.
Watch out for the Whip Scorpion that has a clever trick to thwart attack by enemies up its sleeve, or should we say, at the end of its tail.
Hold a whip scorpion if you dare and find out how it defends itself.
If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a Black Widow Spider with a bright red hourglass tattooed on her abdomen.
How did the lovely black widow spider earn her name?
The arts of trickery, mimicry, thanatosis, and other feats of deception and disguise will be revealed by Blue Death Feigning Beetles, Robber Flies, Flower Flies, and Monarch Butterflies. Asian Walking Sticks are true masters of disguise as they hide in the branches of trees. See if you can spot one hiding somewhere in the zoo.
The Insect Zoo is not just a treat for the eyes alone. Children will have the chance to hold and touch (with parental permission, of course) a Giant Millipede from Africa or a hairy Tent Caterpillar fresh from a cherry tree on the campus of the University of Maryland. If touching isn’t your thing, then you can listen to the buzzing of a Bee or the Hissing Cockroach from Madagascar. Curious smells are on the menu as well. Meet an arachnid that smells like vinegar and a bug that smells like cilantro. If you dare, sniff the most nefarious alien home invader of them all, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.
Meet face to face the number one vector of West Nile Virus: dreaded Culex mosquitoes.
Watch as a female Culex pipiens form molestus extracts all the blood she needs to produce the next batch of eggs and scurries away to the shadow of a knuckle to hide. Filmed at twice life speed.
Stop by the invasive species corner to meet the grim reapers of our urban forests Emerald Ash Borers and Asian Longhorned Beetles. Be sure to check out our newest threat from Asia, the Spotted Lanternfly.
If you see this rascal on your landscape contact your county’s extension service or the Maryland Department of Agriculture right away.
If you are feeling social, investigate colonies of two amazing social insects, Honey Bees and Eastern Subterranean Termites.
Learn why honeybees and other pollinators are at risk.
Children can collect insect stickers and the first 600 visitors may take home a Terrapin Lady Beetle to release in their garden! If you enjoy the life aquatic, be sure to stop by The Swamp across the hall and learn how Dragon Flies capture their prey insects and Diving Beetles extract oxygen from water. So, come one, come all to explore Maryland Day and the Insect Petting Zoo!
The Insect Petting Zoo is located in Room 1161 on the ground floor of the Plant Sciences Building, at the intersection of Regents Drive and Fieldhouse Drive.
To learn more about Maryland Day, please visit the following websites: