A unique course, Bugs in the System, tries to remove ‘insect disgust’ among students. It creates awareness about the breathtaking diversity of insects around us. The course is created for non-biology major students and does not require any prerequisite biology knowledge.
“Insects are small, so they are unnoticed. but their lives are extremely fascinating and relatable! I wanted students to be aware of this. Rather than learning theory about how to classify insects, students routinely went to the field and looked at live insects and then learnt their characteristics and biology,” says Divya Uma, a faculty member at Azim Premji University, who facilitates this course at the University.
“Students got hooked on finding insects and photographing them in the field. We also collected insects and brought them to the lab, and viewed them under the microscope.”
The students showcased all the insects that they found on our campus and nearby areas, which they had catalogued, at an exhibition held at the University campus in Bengaluru, recently.
From bark mantids to bagworms— the exhibition had a lot on display and was open to the entire University, giving all a glimpse into the insect world.
“Many students had not seen things under the microscope — and this was a new experience for students. We noticed that the campus still has a lot of insects in areas that have some mixed diversity of plants, but in areas where there are monocultures of plants or ornamental plants, there are hardly any insects”, says Divya.
Divya Uma shares an overview of the course and the exhibition:
Bug finders share their experiences
Did you know that bees have handbags on their legs to collect pollens and that contrary to popular belief, neither are all bees social nor do all of them live in hives?
How do bees communicate? Do they also share GPS?
Know what Harishree Khunth (2021 – 24, BA in Philosophy) learnt from the course:
There is an insect group that is an excellent source of protein requiring much less infrastructure maintenance as compared to other forms of animal meat. Surprised?
Hear Siddhartha Natarajan’s (2021 – 24, BA in History) experience:
Hear Jahnavi Eluru (2021 – 24, BA in Philosophy) share her experience of stepping out to find wasps and using techniques to catch them: