Buggin’ Out on the Hilltop

Messenger photos by Dedra Cordle
A number of exotic insects made a visit to the Hilltop YMCA. On March 19, the recreation center welcomed The Ohio State University’s mobile bug zoo onto its premises as a part of its educational outreach programming. Organized by youth experience director Latoyia Mosley, the BUGmobile provided curious children and adults with an up close and personal look at a number of live insects such as the Arizona blonde tarantula, the Blue Death Feigning Beetle, the Bold Jumping spider, the Giant Hairy Desert scorpion and the Madagascar hissing cockroach. Only a small handful of these misunderstood insects were able to be touched and held by the audience, but those who dared to allow the cockroaches to crawl over their hands came away with a better appreciation for the creatures. “This is my first time holding a cockroach,” said Maddie Graham (pictured here), the area child care director at the YMCA of Central Ohio, “and I have to say that it has been quite a fun experience.” The BUGmobile’s outreach and insectary health technician said that is the purpose of the mobile bug zoo program. “We want to open up people’s minds and show them that the world is a lot less scary when you learn that these insects are not out to get you,” said Gina Hill. “The world becomes a lot bigger and a lot less hostile once you become friends with them.”
Cousins Olivia Carro (far left) and Ben Hummler examine the insects in the BUGmobile.
Gina Hill, the BUGmobile’s outreach and insectary health technician, speaks to a local family about insects.
Goose, a wild-caught Giant Hairy Desert scorpion, moves around in her enclosure. The entomologists at the university believe she is pregnant.
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