Insect Festival 2022 Brings Loads of Buggy Fun to Northwest Arkansas

Lab technician Ben Gibson shows elementary school students a whip scorpion (not a real scorpion) and other insects from the Entomology Insect Zoo during the 2018 U of A Insect Festival.
Fred Miller

Lab technician Ben Gibson shows elementary school students a whip scorpion (not a real scorpion) and other insects from the Entomology Insect Zoo during the 2018 U of A Insect Festival.

The critters that give you the creeps seem friendlier at the U of A Insect Festival.

The 2022 festival is hosted by the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of the U of A System Division of Agriculture, and the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the U of A.

The free, one-day festival opens from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 27 in the Pauline Whitaker Animal Science Center arena, located on the Milo J. Shult Agricultural Research and Extension Center at 1335 W. Knapp Dr., Fayetteville.

"We love telling people about all the cool things that arthropods do, especially just how important they are in food production, our environment and in our culture and history," said Ken Korth, entomology and plant pathology department head. "Kids of all ages will have a great time at the event."

"We are happy to be hosting the Arkansas Insect Festival again," said Chad Mills, administrative manager for the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. "The event is fun for all ages and highlights the important role that insects play in our environment and in our lives."

Representatives of the Arkansas State Parks, Master Gardeners and the Scott Family Amazeum of Bentonville join Division of Agriculture faculty and staff to bring exhibits and activities, including a live arthropod zoo. The festival will also feature biology faculty from the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the U of A and the College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma State University.

Two fan-favorites return to the Insect Festival — the Butterfly House, featuring Monarch butterflies, and the Madagascar hissing cockroach races. Visitors have the opportunity to hold and pet the cockroaches, which is not as icky as it sounds, and root for their favorites in the races.

Display and activity booths are also provided by a variety of festival partners, including the J.B. and Johnelle Hunt Family Ozark Highland Nature Center, Historic Cane Hill, Terminix, Scott Family Amazeum and Arkansas Monarch Conservation Partnership. Other highlights for the day will include a plant disease diagnostics clinic, craft booth table and honeybee display. 

The first Insect Festival was organized in 1993 by experiment station entomologist Don Steinkraus, who retired recently but is still active in the event.

"Every one of the festivals has been a big success," Steinkraus said. "We get about 3,000 people each year. The festival brings together entomologists and plant pathologists from all over the state.

"It entertains people and educates people," he said. "It's a blast."

A full list of booths and activities is available at the Arkansas Insect Festival.

Visitors can register for the festival online.

Free parking for the festival is available at the Animal Science Center and Agri Park, located on Garland Avenue across from Highway 112. A walking trail nearby leads to the arena. 

To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: aaes.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch and on Instagram at @ArkAgResearch. To learn about Extension Programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter at @AR_Extension and Instagram at @AR_Extension.

To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.

About the Division of Agriculture: The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture's mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation's historic land grant education system. The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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