Secrest Night Insect Walk is Aug. 12

Secrest Night Insect Walk is Aug. 12

The Secrest Arboretum will host its Night Insect Walk on Friday, Aug. 12 from 8-10 p.m., and among the insects people might encounter is the robber fly, which disguises itself as a bumblebee to ward off prey that might be afraid of getting stung. It's clever because the robber fly cannot sting.


Ready to get your creepy-crawly on? In the dark, no less? The Secrest Arboretum has just what you’re looking for.

Part of a series of events that includes a tree walk, science show, bird walk and more, the Arboretum will host its Night Insect Walk on Friday, Aug. 12 from 8-10 p.m. The Insect Walk is making its first appearance in three years, the 2020 and 2021 editions having been wiped out by COVID.

“We are very excited to bring back the Ohio State University’s biggest insect-themed annual event,” an Arboretum statement said. “Kids and adults of all ages can attend for free to witness the beauty and diversity of night-flying insects, from glittering fireflies and singing crickets to huge, colorful moths and iridescent beetles.”

At the Night Walk, anybody can see bees, ants, Japanese beetles and just about any other day-faring insects. What the walk offers is a chance to see insects that either don’t come out at night or change habits once the sun sets.

“Part of the purpose of the event is people don’t get a lot of exposure to insect life at night outside of fireflies,” said Iliana Moore, a graduate student at Ohio State, where she studies bumblebees, sustainable agriculture, and pollinator diversity and richness in urban and agricultural spaces, among other things. “People need to know more about and get more direct experience with interesting night-time insects.”

Moore said some insects are primarily nocturnal. Among them are moths, beetles and the beloved fireflies.

“You can see a huge diversity of moths that you would never see in the daytime,” she said. “There are a lot of beetles that you would never see in the daytime. At night you can see differences in their behaviors with things like their mating behaviors. Fireflies flash their lights to attract mates. They only do that at night. They’re releasing pheromones.”

Many Northeast Ohioans have lamented the reduction in the firefly population over the years. A generation ago people could see the light-up insects by the thousands nightly. Now their numbers are thinner, especially closer to urban areas.

Moore said fireflies are not endangered, but they, like many insects, have endured 30-40 years of their numbers declining globally.

“In the ’80s and ’90s, you would take a road trip and your whole windshield would be covered in bugs,” she said. “There’s been a lot of habitat lost, with all the activities humans do that reduce habitat over the world.”

Moore is a graduate assistant working as an outreach coordinator for the Night Walk. She wants to continue her career in the outreach area rather than in research. “I want to continue bringing this insect knowledge to the world,” she said.

The Secrest Arboretum is located at 2122 Williams Road in Wooster. Those attending should bring a flashlight, wear good walking shoes and have a clear plastic jar for collecting insects.

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