Its natural that insects freak you out. After all, they look like alien creatures and have natural defense systems that can hurt: They bite, they sting and they can stink.
But bugs are sometimes beautiful, too and a necessary part of our ecosystem. Without them, life on Earth as we know it would end.
The soil would rot, nothing would get pollinated and things wouldnt get recycled through natural decomposition. They are the fragile foundation of our ecosystem and yet we dislike most of them.
The goal of the Idaho Botanical Gardens annual Bug Day is to teach kids and adults that bugs arent something to be feared, says Elizabeth Dickey, director of the gardens educational programs and organizer of this event.
But insects are really cool. They have a role to play in how nature works, and you dont have to kill them, Dickey says.
Grabbing kids interest is the key, she says.
Kids seem to be naturally interested in bugs, she says. I think when theyre young, bugs are a little like them, so theyre at their level.
At Bug Day you can have fun with bugs from eating lollipops that contain an insect inside to watching bug races.
You can Ask an Entomologist about any bug or spider you bring in yourself or catch at the site. Remember: Insects have six legs; spiders have eight. Spiders are arachnids, which is a whole different deal, but an entomologist can talk about both.
The adventurous can get up close with giant Madagascar hissing cockroaches and Vietnamese walking sticks both on loan from Zoo Boise.
Learn about the Wests native blue orchard bees and other pollinators.
Make a buggy craft. This year you can decorate your own butterfly and turn it into a toy.