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ITHACA, N.Y. — On Oct. 19, the Department of Entomology will host Insectapalooza – an annual extravaganza that aims to take the “creepy” out of “creepy-crawly.” From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors can interact with more than 150 species of live insects and, for the entomologically adventurous, eat them as a snack. New for this year’s event: Admission is free for all ages.

Now in its 16th year, Insectapalooza is moving to Stocking Hall, up Tower Road from its previous home, Comstock Hall. Scott McArt, assistant professor of entomology, said the new venue will have more open spaces for visitors, volunteers and exhibits. One of them, he said, is Nelly – a large ladybug sculpture on loan from Billing Productions.

• Related: PHOTOS: Visitors at Cornell’s ‘Insectapalooza’ see butterflies, spiders and more

“Nelly is so big it actually never made it in [to Stocking Hall],” said John Losey, professor of entomology and director of The Lost Ladybug Project. Nelly will be on display outside of Stocking Hall, Losey said.

Another new display will be hosted by Corrie Moreau, the Martha N. and John C. Moser Professor of Arthropod Biosystematics and Biodiversity. Moreau’s research examines the complex and intimate role ants have in ecosystems.

“There are more ants [on the planet] than all the birds and mammals added together,” Moreau said. “We will feature some local favorites, including the Dracula ant, wood ants and carpenter ants.”

For those counting the days until Halloween, Insectapalooza will have the traditional “bucket of maggots.” The Butterfly Room, where participants can get up close to free-flying butterflies, is back by popular demand, as are cockroach races, insect face-painting, honey tasting, insect stickers, and arts and crafts.

“The goal of Insectapalooza is to showcase amazing insects and all the amazing things they do,” McArt said. “They provide critical ecosystem services such as pollination, predation of crop pests and nutrient cycling so plants can grow. In other words, insects are an important part of everyone’s lives. And many of them are just spectacularly beautiful or do really interesting things.”

For more information on parking and sponsorship opportunities, visit the event website.

Featured image: File photo by Kelsey O’Connor

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