Meet Andrew Markey, an amateur entomologist with an impressive collection of hundreds of mounted bug specimens from around the world.
He is better known as @bugboy on Instagram, where he has become an inspirational figure – all thanks to his love and passion for bugs. You’re probably wondering why bugs? After all, most bugs tend to have a bad reputation. It all started after Andrew shared some photos of his insects on social media four years ago, captivating thousands of people and giving them a new appreciation for these remarkable creatures, and inspiring others to pursue their interest in zoology fields such as entomology (the study of insects). Andrew’s audience enjoys seeing these strange, yet beautiful creatures from different parts of the world. From the Amazon rainforest to the mountains of Indonesia, his collection is quite diverse, with many being rare and outstanding in size and color. They are truly a work of art.
“I have always loved the great outdoors. I spent many days being outside appreciating our wildlife. The earliest memory of my fascination with insects was at around the age of 7 after discovering a large grasshopper in my backyard. I was intrigued, so I caught and kept it as a pet for some time. I told one of my elementary school teachers about the grasshopper and that’s when I learned about this specific field of study called entomology. I was inspired to check out some books on insects, and one particularly talked about how to collect and preserve insects from the wild. And this is what led me to the road to perdition,” Andrew explains how he got started in the hobby.
“Getting children interested in bugs at an early age is crucial to dismiss the myths that surround these invertebrates. . .” says Andrew.
Andrew started his collection with local Michigan insects first before expanding to the extraordinary large ones found overseas. Displaying mounted insect specimens is often compared to taxidermy, but there’s more to it. Entomological collections are a valuable resource for scientific research and can help scientists quickly identify invasive pests that affect agriculture. His collection continues to grow and he hopes to have it on public display, whether at a zoo or children’s museum, within the next couple of years for others to enjoy.
Andrew is passionate about the great outdoors and encourages others to get outside and explore nature. He also loves educating people and uses his amazing collection of bugs for educational outreach, visiting various schools, clubs, community organizations, and even private birthday parties, teaching children about biodiversity and the ecological importance of arthropods, in hopes to increase their interest in science and outdoor activities. The hobby of bug catching is also great for home-schooled children who enjoy hands-on learning and outdoor adventure. Andrew says that outdoor learning can have a positive impact on a child’s development and improve their academic performance as it gives them the real-life application of what they are learning.
“Getting children interested in bugs at an early age is crucial to dismiss the myths that surround these invertebrates. Most of the fear that we have with bugs is usually a result from media or common misconceptions, portraying these animals as dreadful creatures, but through outreach opportunities, kids get to see some of these bugs up close, while providing them the chance to ask questions and even interact with them,” says Andrew.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a net and get outside with your kids and observe some of nature’s most underrated creatures and step into the amazing world of bugs! Check out Andrew’s impressive collection of critters on Instagram and give him a follow at @bugboy or visit his personal website and take a virtual tour at www.andrewmarkey.com.