Family, Fun, Fireflies: OARDC Insect Night Is July 15

July 6, 2017
A photo of a green luna moth. Photo by I Stock.

WOOSTER, Ohio — Certain kinds of creepy crawlers only come out at night.

They’ll star at an upcoming event in Wooster.

Secrest Arboretum’s annual Insect Night — a free public event for bug-crazy kids, their families and others — is from 8 to 10:30 p.m. July 15.

Activities will include a bug zoo, face painting, edible insects — meaning that, yes, you can eat them — coloring table, temporary insect tattoos, and an educational hunt in the dark for beetles, moths, fireflies and their friends.

“We’re growing young entomologists,” or insect scientists, said co-organizer Denise Ellsworth of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

The arboretum is part of OARDC, 1680 Madison Ave. in Wooster, which in turn is part of The Ohio State University and its College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Leading the walks will be a swarm of Ohio State entomology graduate students.

An eye-opener for kids, in a good way

“Having our graduate students from around the world meet with young budding entomologists is a highlight for me,” said Ellsworth, who is program director of OARDC’s Honey Bee and Native Pollinator Education Program.

“Realizing that people do make a living out of collecting and studying insects is an eye-opener for many kids, who love insects but never imagine they could work with them as adults,” she said.

The bug zoo will have live scorpions, walking sticks — placid, palm-sized, twig-shaped insects — giant millipedes and more.

In the past, the zoo has been a family favorite, Ellsworth said.

‘You could see his face light up’

“One little boy who was afraid of insects actually got brave enough to hold a walking stick,” she said. “You could see his face light up when he realized he’d done it and it was OK.”

Participants in the event should bring a flashlight, good walking shoes and a clear jar for collecting insects. Signs on the OARDC campus will point the way to the arboretum, which is not quite 2 miles from the Madison Avenue entrance as the luna moth flies.

Details, rain date

Details are online at In case of threatening weather, participants should call 330-263-3723 to see if the event will be held. The rain date is July 18.

Co-sponsors of the event are Ohio State’s Entomology Graduate Student Association, OSU Zamorano Program, and Mike and Diane Borger of Apple Creek.



Kurt Knebusch


Denise Ellsworth