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Bugging out: NMSU entomology course gives students a taste of the insect world

Release Date: 23 May 2022
Bugging out: NMSU entomology course gives students a taste of the insect world

A class at New Mexico State University has caught a lot of buzz this semester, and students said they were antsy to participate in all the course has to offer.  
The Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Weed Science department at the College of ACES offers many different “Viewing a Wider World” course opportunities for students studying various majors.  
The course in entomology, which is the study of insects, enrolled nearly 500 students in the spring 2022 semester. Scott Bundy, professor of entomology at NMSU, said the class is a hybrid format, offered both online and in-person.  
“Some students react differently, but I get a lot of feedback from them online, during live online, as well as emails, questions and comments,” Bundy said. “So, I think there’s pretty good interaction.”  
Some insects may have a creepy-crawly reputation, but Bundy said there is way more for people to learn about them if they are open-minded.  
“I think insects are really amazing, and everybody should know how cool they are,” he said. “The ultimate driving factor in the class, is here’s why insects are so important to us, here’s how they’re really cool, here’s why they’re not scary – and some that are – and why they’re scary. It just gives people a better understanding of their importance and from my standpoint, as an entomologist, I just like to show people how really cool they are, and I’m always excited to see them, so it’s fun for me.”  
Students like Jacob Villa, a senior, have already spread the word about the class and how interesting it was for them.  
“My sister is more into creatures than I am, so she asked what class I was taking, and I told her it’s an entomology class where you just learn about insects,” Villa said. “She’s a sophomore here at NMSU and said she wanted to take the class, so she’s already registered for the class and very excited to take it next semester as well.”  

Toward the end of the semester, students in the class have the opportunity to experience something many others don’t: eating insects. This ranges from fried worms to grasshoppers – and even live mealworms.  
“For me, I was interested in the mealworms a little bit more because I have a bearded dragon who I feed mealworms and crickets to daily, so I handle them often myself,” Villa said. “I was interested in what they actually taste like, because my pet eats them every day. I’m glad I got to try it.”  
When learning about insects and even discovering how they taste, students ended the semester with a different perspective and opened their minds to how important they are in our world.  
“A lot of times, at least what I’ve learned, insects are very misunderstood,” Villa said. “They’re a very important part of our ecosystem and a lot of people are often afraid of them. Some of them are creepy creatures, but they do provide a lot of benefits to the world, so it’s nice to be able to understand them on a deeper level now, including their taste as well.”  
“If this class doesn’t sound like it’s your cup of tea, we also talk about a lot of cool things that relate to everybody, so most people have fun by the end of the semester,” Bundy said, noting that students in his course come from many different disciplines and areas of study. “I get art majors, science majors, and all diverse kinds of groups of people. It’s fun to see what their perspectives are and informs me how to deal with talking about insects to people.” 
For more information about the entomology course at NMSU, contact Bundy at

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