independent

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Come to our creepy crawly wonderland

Maria Herlihy & JOE LEOGUE

Published 11/07/2013|05:26

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Curious Critters! Christopher and Ali Twohig practice their bug hunting in anticipation of Ireland's first ever Bug Festival at Millstreet Country Park taking place on July 20th and 21st.

A WEEKEND of creepy crawlies, bugs and slugs await as Ireland's first ever Bug Festival is set to take place in Cork.

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A WEEKEND of creepy crawlies, bugs and slugs await as Ireland's first ever Bug Festival is set to take place in Cork.

The centrepiece of Millstreet Country Park's Bug Festival (July 20 and 21), will be the Bug Hunt - an opportunity for children to track and learn about the various species that live in the 500-acre park, including one of the rarest animals in the country, entomologist Dr Aoife Dillon explained.

"While many of us just think of slugs as horrible little creatures that eat our vegetables, the Kerry Slug found in Millstreet Country Park is one of the rarest animals in Ireland and protected under European Law," she said.

She said the hairy green and black caterpillars of the Emperor Moth, which can tickle children' hands, turn into amazing adult moths with large spots on their wing, which looks like eyes and flash at predators to scare them away.

"My favourite insects in the park are the orange and black Sexton beetles, also known as Grave digging beetles because they eat the flesh of small dead birds and mice," the insect expert said.

The Bug Hunts will start at 2pm on each day, with children led by in-house ecologist Lorna O'Mahony, while families will also be invited to take part in a treasure hunt and make their own pit fall trap in the arts and crafts area of the park.

Meanwhile, Lorna will be able to explain everything from frogs to damselflies.

"We have been absolutely blown away by the response from kids to the range of activities at the Park, especially the bug hunts. Their interests in insects and arthropods, their identification, life styles and connection to their natural habitat seems to have captured the imagination of many youngsters," said Donie Howard, general manager of Millstreet Country Park.

For more info. see www.millstreetcountrypark.com.

Corkman

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