Friday, 10 May 2013

The Full Bug

We kicked off our day at Imperial Festival with some tentative sunshine, tucked away in the beautiful Queen’s Lawn courtyard of Imperial College London. It was Alumni Reunion day, so there were already a few eager people popping their heads into our tent by 10.30am – a bit earlier than our predicted midday kick off! 
Matt started talking about bees
...and didn't stop!
As this was our first major outing, we brought with us a whole range of games to try, as well as some interesting things to look at and smell. From the infamous 'Whose Poos?' to mushroom sniffing, there was something for everyone. We even brought a hive of live bumblebees, which drew a huge crowd, with everyone wanting to spot the queen. 
Whose poos are these?
As predicted, 'Whose poos?' was a roaring success – we asked people to match the poo to picture of animals, which proved both totally irresistible and surprisingly challenging! It turns out most people have never considered what frog droppings look like before... and lots of people weren’t shy about picking it up. 
Jules in action
Around lunchtime, it started to rain properly, and that was when people REALLY started to pour in. We were also sharing the tent with some iguanas, cockroaches, locusts, giant millipedes, at least two boas, and many more beasties, as well as a man who was making comets, so it started to get a bit crowded. Luckily for us, it dried up quite quickly! 
One of our neighbours
The best part of the day was the amazing selection of questions people asked us. Lots of people were interested in which mushrooms are edible in the UK, why they smell the way they do, and what it’s like to be a bee. My personal favourite question was when someone asked about the insect on our stickers - the ‘roadbug’ on our logo is Anthocoris nemorum – you can tell by its long body. Sarah also explained that the quickest way to tell the difference between a beetle and a bug is the to look at the shape its wings make – if it’s a T shape (like a ladybird) then it’s a beetle, but if it’s an X or a Y, it’s a bug. 
Despite taking place in the middle of London, the first two species records were uploaded onto our iSpot page - many thanks Martin!

Holly with roadbug stickers
After an absolutely fantastic day, lots of hard work from the BES Roadies and a brilliant crowd, we packed up for some well-earned rest. We spoke to over 500 people in a single day at Imperial Festival, so who knows how many people we might have met by September? Our next tour date is Wychwood Festival, so if you’re there, come and say hello!

Holly Rogers - 8 May 2013

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