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In the spirit of Halloween, freshmen are embracing the ghoulish holiday in a creepy, crawly way.

The popular First-Year Studies course It’s a Bug’s Life, taught by entomology and plant pathology professor Jerome Grant, examines how insects have shaped our world and influenced our lives through movies, television, art, literature, and even food.

“Insects are cool! With more than one million described species of insects on our planet, they represent the most diverse group of animals on earth and live just about everywhere,” said Grant. “Because they outnumber us about 250 million insects to every human, isn’t it about time to learn something about them?”

The most famous movie featuring bugs is the animated film from which the course took its name, It’s a Bug’s Life. However, other movies and television shows, such as Fear Factor, Men in Black, Starship Troopers, and X-Files, have fed upon a phobia of insects, which students explore in detail throughout the semester.

Utilizing a hands-on approach, the fourteen students get up close and personal with insects through a variety of activities such as the organization and implementation of a cricket spittin’ contest and an insect zoo.

And now, just in time for Halloween, the class is about to offer its best-known event— the ninth annual Buggy Buffet, an insect smorgasbord, with bugs as the main menu item.

The Buggy Buffet will be at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 29, in Hollingsworth Auditorium in Ellington Plant Sciences. The event, free and open to the public, is hosted by students in the course in conjunction with the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology.

“In some countries, insects even make their way to the dinner table, where they provide a good source of protein,” said Grant. “At the Buggy Buffet, you can experience what a third of the world’s population experiences every day.”

Tentative menu offerings include an appetizer of ants-on-a-log (celery with pimento cheese topped with ants), followed by an entrée of Special K-ricket casserole, waxworm wontons and mealworm meatballs. The meal will conclude with a dessert of chocolate chirp cookies and assorted chocolate covered insects.

A silent auction will be held during the Buggy Buffet to aid the group’s efforts. Numerous insect-themed items and artwork will be available to purchase.


Jerome Grant (865-974-0218,

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,