A magnified look at the fascinating world of insects

Academy of Natural Sciences' new exhibit is no pest

John McDevitt
May 22, 2018 - 6:31 pm
Xtreme Bugs

John McDevitt | KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It's a bug's life, and we're just living in it — at least that's how it feels in a new exhibit surrounded by nearly 20 larger-than-life critters.

The Xtreme Bugs exhibit opens this weekend at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, featuring state-of-the-art insect animatronics.

Xtreme Bugs
John McDevitt | KYW Newsradio

A 12-foot-tall hissing pink orchid mantis greets you outside the museum. Indoors, you meet insects like bees, beetles, ants and ladybugs.

"They are not the clunky, jerky movements of some of the kind of laughable electronics we might be used to," said Jennifer Sontchi, senior director of exhibits and public spaces. "These are smooth-moving."

The exaggerated size of the bugs spotlight how special these insects really are, Sontchi noted.

"This is something I really was surprised to find out: Ladybugs actually hibernate in the Earth in groups of maybe a million to stay warm," she enthused. "I mean, who can imagine that on a winter day? They also tell the fascinating story of swarming ... [and> the complex communication systems that are needed for such a swarm."

The Xtreme Bugs exhibit opens Saturday and runs through Jan. 21, 2018.