Bug Fest is back. Who wants a chocolate chirp cookie?

That's one big bug. Check out the jungle nymph at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Credit: ANSP
That’s one big bug. Check out the jungle nymph at the Academy of Natural Sciences.
Credit: ANSP

For most travelers, returning from a trip carrying “a lot of bugs” would be the definition of a vacation nightmare. For Karen Verderame, it’s just the opposite. “If I’m coming home with bugs,” Verderame said earlier this week, following a brief sojourn to Arizona, “the trip was a success.”

Verderame, an insect specialist at the Academy of Natural Sciences, hopes to instill the same excitement about creepy-crawly critters this weekend at the sixth annual Bug Fest, which features live bugs, roach races, an insect cook-off and tasting, and hands-on activities for kids.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Masters of Deception,” focusing on insects that use camouflage and mimicry to hide from predators, whether imitating a leaf or a stick to merge with their surroundings or mimicking a bee or wasp to frighten potential antagonists. “The way that insects have evolved to survive is amazing,” Verderame said. “A great way to highlight that is by looking at the tactics of camouflage and mimicry. Bug Fest will give people the opportunity to see these guys up close and to really examine just how masterful they are at disguising and blending in.”

Visitors to Bug Fest with adventurous palettes will be able to taste a variety of insects that weren’t successful enough at camouflaging themselves to avoid the kitchen of chef and entomologist Zack Lemann, who will offer dishes such as Chocolate Chirp Cookies and go head-to-head in an “Iron Chef” style competition with Drexel University chef Chuck Ziccardi.

“What many people don’t realize is that insects are extremely sustainable, very environmentally friendly and a very healthy alternative to a lot of other foods out there,” Verderame explains. “There’s so much more protein in insects than in any beef that you could eat.”

For those who can’t quite stomach eating the insects, Verderame at least hopes that Bug Fest will change people’s negative perceptions of its subjects. “Our goal is to get people excited about the world of insects,” she said. “We hope that we’re igniting a passion for insects in people that will carry on and maybe help make more fans of bugs out there.”

Bug Fest 2013
Aug. 10-11
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
1900 Ben Franklin Pkwy.
$13-$15, 215-299-1000
www.ansp.org



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

City Council to discuss officer re-training

The New York City Council has set a Sept. 8 oversight hearing to learn more about the NYPD's review of police officer training in the…

Local

Brooklyn lawmakers: Let riders know sooner about bedbugs…

Two Brooklyn lawmakers are calling for more transparency when it comes to bedbugs and mass transit. Council Member Mark Treyger and Assembly Member Bill Colton…

Local

Jasper Johns aide admits stealing, selling artwork for…

A former assistant to renowned American contemporary artist Jasper Johns pleaded guilty on Wednesday to selling nearly two dozen of his works without Johns' knowledge.

National

Sister of accused Boston Marathon bombers arrested for…

The sister of the accused Boston Marathon bombers was arrested in New York City for threatening a woman over the phone, saying she could "put a bomb on you," police…

Movies

Interview: 'Life of Crime' star John Hawkes likes…

John Hawkes talks about playing a bumbling crook in "Life of Crime" and how he wanted his "Martha Marcy May Marlene" villain to be "bland."

Gossip

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got married

The couple tied the knot in Chateau Miraval, France.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Labor Day in NYC: Make the last weekend…

Soon, it’ll be time for wool accessories and knee-high boots. Even the Pumpkin Spice Latte has already arrived — but we still have one last…

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

NFL

Giants vs. Patriots: 3 things to watch

The Giants wrap up their extended preseason campaign Thursday night by playing host to the Patriots.

NFL

Fantasy football: What to take away from preseason

The third set of exhibition games, which went down last weekend, is the dress rehearsal week.

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…