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Scientific Artwork Attracts Human and Arthropod Alike

Humans are bitten and stung by them, and sometimes have their gardens and crops eaten or even destroyed by these little organisms. Insects are everywhere and have a bad reputation with many people. But without them, the terrestrial environment would fall into chaos. Scientist-turned-artist Brandon Ballengée, PhD, is trying to change the perspective that many people have of insects and did so by attracting both human and insect together for a night in the Research Triangle Park, NC.

Ballengée said his Love Motel for Insects aims to inspire people about “those pesky creatures many of us never think of unless we are trying to swat them.” Being the most diverse group of animals on the planet, insects are essential to human survival, such as pollination of many plant-crops.

“We need bugs, and it is about time we learn to appreciate these tiny marvels of evolution and heroes of ecosystems,” he said.

View Dr. Ballengée's interview and visuals from the RTP180 event:

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society showcased Ballengée’s sculptures in July during RTP180: Art in the Triangle (#RTP180). The event was held at The Research Triangle Park where around 300 people attended.

Ballengée presented his Love Motel for Insects that are comprised of sculpted, lit structures and use ultraviolet lights to attract bugs so people can learn more about them.

Entomologists Elsa Youngsteadt and M. J. Epps, both postdoctoral researchers at North Carolina State University, put together a pamphlet on the most common species in the area before the event so that attendees could identify some insects.

An article about Ballengée’s artwork was recently published in American Scientist.


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