Have you seen the scene in ‘Men in Black’ where Edgar the Bug Man metamorphoses into a larger-than-life creature that is a little bit like a giant cockroach that can talk, except with more slime involved? My ex-animator friend reliably informs me that real life insects are often used as a starting point for drawing anything intended to be alien or creepy. Just looking at this picture of an American cockroach makes me feel creeped out, to be honest.

American Cockroach, from Wikipedia.
American Cockroach, from Wikipedia.

You don’t need to invoke interstellar travel in order to meet these weird creatures. Insects make up a huge proportion of the animal world here on Earth and as BuzzFeed and similar sites are fond of reminding us, many of them have looks and habits that seem extremely alien to humans.

Insects can be extremely annoying, dangerous and also useful.

Braconid wasp by Katja Schulz on Flickr. Braconid wasps are parasitic wasps that can be used as biological control of aphids.
Braconid wasp by Katja Schulz on Flickr. These parasitic wasps can be used to control aphid populations.

This term, weather permitting, the children in my classes will be venturing out into different environments to collect and categorise insects, to learn about insects that endanger us and insects that help us and to find out exactly what entomologists do.

I hope the children have fun this term. I’m certainly looking forward to it.

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