Inaugural Insect Fair Set for April 18

Organized by UC Riverside graduate students and the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, one-day fair will take place in downtown Riverside

A Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula (Grammostola rosea). A tarantula is an arachnid, not an insect. Photo credit: James D. Ricci, UC Riverside.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Insects, among the most diverse group of animals on Earth, live in all habitats. They can be predators, prey, parasites, hosts, native or invasive, and are capable of provoking in people reactions ranging from horror to fascination.  While some insects are regarded as pests, others are happily eaten on a regular basis in some parts of the world (see photo immediately below).

Cockroach chili, made with American cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) farmed at UC Riverside.Photo credit: Kim Hung, UC Riverside.

Cockroach chili, made with American cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) farmed at UC Riverside.Photo credit: Kim Hung, UC Riverside.

The public has the opportunity to get an introduction to the rich world of insects at the inaugural Annual Riverside Insect Fair on Saturday, April 18. Organized mainly by the University of California, Riverside Entomology Graduate Student Association (EGSA) and the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, the fair will take place on Mission Inn Avenue, between Orange Street and Lemon Street, downtown Riverside, Calif. The fair begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. Admission is free.

“Our hope is that this event will not only showcase some of the excellent work that UC Riverside has become famous for, but also that it will help to foster more interest in STEM fields here in the Inland Empire and further cement Riverside’s place as a city of arts and innovation,” said James D. Ricci, a graduate student in the UC Riverside Department of Entomology, who is one of the principal organizers of the fair.

A young insect-lover is seen here fascinated by an eastern lubber grasshopper (Romalea guttata). Photo credit: James D. Ricci, UC Riverside.

A young insect-lover is seen here fascinated by an eastern lubber grasshopper (Romalea guttata). Photo credit: James D. Ricci, UC Riverside.

The fair will feature giant stag beetles (prized by Japanese beetle collectors), and giant eastern lubbers, which are some of the largest grasshoppers on Earth. Birdeater tarantulas, swallowtail butterflies, giant water bugs, stick insects, assassin bugs, and many more creepy-crawlies constitute some of the attractions for adults and children.  The fair will also have tie-dye with ground-up insects and “draw your own termite trail.”

More than 60 booths staffed by vendors, educators and sponsors will be open at the fair.  Vendors include companies that work with millipedes and other invertebrates; equipment, tools, supplies, books, and educational materials related to entomology; and insect-themed jewelry and décor.  Educators include the UCR Entomology Graduate Student Association; Northwest Mosquito and Vector Control District; Lorquin Entomological Society; Southern California Arachnid, Bug, Invertebrate, Entomological Society; California Master Gardeners; and UCR’s Department of Entomology, Community Garden and Friends of the Entomological Research Museum.

“Downtown Riverside is a popular destination that is easy to find and get to from nearly anywhere in Southern California,” Ricci said. “Moreover, plenty of public parking is available. We picked this location to make it easier for families to attend the Annual Riverside Insect Fair, which will have tons of activities for children and adults.”

Besides the EGSA and the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, the fair is organized by the UCR Botany and Entomology Undergraduate Student Association. Several local businesses and community groups are supporting the event.  Sponsors are the UCR Entomology Graduate Student Association; Riverside Metropolitan Museum; ISCA Technologies; and BioQuip.

“Many of the museum’s visitors feel squeamish about insects until they learn a little about them, and all the ways we, as humans, benefit from them,” said Teresa Woodard, the curator of education at Riverside Metropolitan Museum. “From decomposers to pollinators, our world would be a much different place without insects!”

More information about the fair can be found by emailing jricc001@ucr.edu or clicking here and here. More photos below.

Events displaying insects are immensely popular with the public, such as the event seen here that was held at UC Riverside in February 2015. Photo credit: James D. Ricci, UC Riverside.

Events displaying insects are immensely popular with the public, such as the event seen here that was held at UC Riverside in February 2015.Photo credit: James D. Ricci, UC Riverside.

A Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula (Grammostola rosea). A tarantula is an arachnid, not an insect.Photo credit: James D. Ricci, UC Riverside.

A Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula (Grammostola rosea). A tarantula is an arachnid, not an insect.Photo credit: James D. Ricci, UC Riverside.

Giant Asian Mantis (Hierodula multispina). Photo credit: Kim Hung, UC Riverside.

Giant Asian Mantis (Hierodula multispina). Photo credit: Kim Hung, UC Riverside.

Giant Stag Beetle (Dorcus titanus). Photo credit: Kim Hung.

Giant Stag Beetle (Dorcus titanus). Photo credit: Kim Hung.

The Western Hercules Beetle (Dynastes granti). Photo credit: James D. Ricci, UC Riverside.

The Western Hercules Beetle (Dynastes granti). Photo credit: James D. Ricci, UC Riverside.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-6050
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Additional Contacts

More information about the fair
E-mail: jricc001@ucr.edu

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