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BugFest 2009 explores the Land of Lepidoptera

(RALEIGH) — Hey waiter. Where can I go to guarantee a fly in my soup? BugFest 2009 of course! The biggest bug-centric festival in the country— only at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh, Saturday, September 12, 9am–9pm. FREE.

This year’s event features Lepidopterans, the order of insects that includes more than 180,000 species of moths and butterflies. Special presenters include William Conner, a Wake Forest University biology professor and national expert on “The Bat-Moth Arms Race,” or how moths use sound to avoid becoming bat food. Nick Haddad, associate professor of zoology at NC State University, will present a talk on our state’s most endangered butterflies, including St. Francis’ satyr, which can only be found at Fort Bragg, NC.

All four floors of the Museum, Bicentennial Plaza and the State Capitol Grounds will be crawling with bugs, bug-lovers and bug-experts, with more than 100 different displays and presentations this year. Standard favorites return, including live bee bearding where you can watch a person “grow” a living beard of bees; the Roachingham 500, where you can “bet” on the fastest Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, such as the legendary Roachard Petty; and the Café Insecta, where you can enjoy yummy bug-filled fare prepared by chefs from the Museum’s own Acro Café, as well as from Raleigh restaurants Globe, Busy Bee Cafe, 101 Lounge and Zely & Ritz. Traditional food and drink are also available for sale.

The nearby Capitol Grounds will house the Kids Zone, where youngsters can make their own butterflies, meet live animals at buggy story time, or discover the origin of frass as they crawl through a giant inflatable caterpillar. Additionally, the Land of Lepidoptera will provide all ages with tips on creating butterfly gardens, indentifying rare and common North Carolina butterflies, and getting involved with Monarch Watch.

Stay late for the Evening Insectival (5-9 pm) and discover what happens when shipwreck survivors on the atomic island of Beiru incur the wrath of a gigantic moth worshiped as a goddess in the b-movie classic “Mothra” (aka “Mosura,” 1961). You can also watch the premier of Museum videographer Art Howard’s HD film on the amazing migration of monarch butterflies called “Lessons from the Journey,” or groove to live music from The Rosebuds.

Terminix Co. of Eastern North Carolina is the Lead Sponsor of BugFest 2009, and Anvil Knitwear is the Event Sponsor. Additional sponsors include US Dept of Agriculture, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, Armstrong Cricket Farm, Caribou Coffee and Whole Foods Market. All BugFest activities are free (unless otherwise noted on-site). Activities on the Capitol Grounds will close at 5 p.m. For information call 919-733-7450, ext. 502/523, or visit bugfest.org.