Help Us Make Virtual Reality a Reality!


Hello Science Enthusiasts! The COVID pandemic has brought us to our creative knees in how to continue our mission. I mean how do you create a personally engaging experience, without being there to personally engage?

As many of you may know, we have begun a virtual reality project designed to give you that personal immersive experience. We are investing in 2 macro 360 cameras that will give you the perspective of being 2″ tall.  Not only are we going to take you into our terrariums with our animals, but also into the real world as well. It will be as terrifying as it is fascinating and possibly even dwarf Jurassic Park! I mean, who hasn’t fantasized about being 2″ tall and in a terrarium with a Goliath Bird Eater?!

We will be the first and only one’s in the world to bring you this experience – here – on our website!

Our project is so exciting that Merge Edu has decided to collaborate with us on the project to bring you the best experience ever! If you are not familiar with Merge Edu, we STRONGLY suggest you check them out.  They are the leader in VR and AR education technology and your kids will lose their minds over it.

In order to make this Virtual Reality a Reality, we need your help.  We have created a Gofundme campaign for this project and would greatly appreciate your sharing it on social media. To celebrate our new partnership with Merge Edu, the first 10 donations over $150 will receive a Merge VR headset and AR cube!



Another way you can support our efforts is to purchase your copy of My Science Diary off of Amazon. It is even available on Kindle and all the proceeds go to keeping our mission going.

My Science Diary, the first activity book by, The Gateway Science Project, Inc My Science Diary is designed to hone the natural, often insane, curiosity all kids have. It is the elementary steps to a greater thought process, turning playtime into an opportunity to build critical thinking skills and scientific literacy. The world is in dire need of not just working scientists, but a population that is scientifically literate. Our story as humans is woven into the story of science; it is the story of how we left the cave to explore the stars. This endeavor was accomplished not by a handful of experts, but by thousands of curious individuals all contributing their observations and tested ideas. The story of science is full of examples of ordinary children who, because of a single moment of inspiration, went on to pursue science. These ordinary children grew up to make discoveries that had an impact on all of humanity. Simple questions like “why does electricity affect a compass?” and “What is this mold doing in my petri dish?” led to some of the greatest advances in human civilization. With every book sold, we understand the next Newton, Einstein, Faraday, or Curie may be holding it right now. By exciting, educating, and inspiring kids, we look to spread scientific literacy so that the next generation will be ready when the next “mold in my petri dish” opportunity rears its head.

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While our other project is in motion, we will continue our video series on YouTube and our monthly newsletters.  With the help of Ryan Kresse, a wonderful writer, we will be bringing you the “Bug of the Month” and other exciting articles including what you can find in the winter and keeping your own Creepy Crawly Zoo.



The Merge Cube is an absolutely FANTASTIC product for your child’s education.  Want to try it out for free? Click on the image and you can download and print out your own to make at home. Courtesy of Merge Edu.



family backyard science



Are you looking for something scientific to observe this summer as a family? Let me show you one of my favorite things to do AND you can do this in your own backyard!


Insects are everywhere BUT we are only seeing half the picture during the day. The other half comes out at night. Animals that are active at night are referred to as “NOCTURNAL.” And many nocturnal insects are attracted to lights. The reason they are attracted to lights is that many insects use the moon to navigate at night and artificial lights confuse them. Specifically, they are attracted to Ultraviolet light also known as BLACK LIGHT.

I’m going to save you some time here and let you know that the best black lights to use are either fluorescent or LED. Incandescent blacklights don’t work very well. You can find black lights at most party supply stores or if you are in the Milwaukee/Chicago area a good place is American Science and Surplus stores.

I use this light that I got off of Amazon and it is a 50w LED. IF YOU’RE WATCHING THIS ON YOUTUBE, I’ll share the link down in the description for you. But a great science experiment would be to experiment with different lights and see what lights work best and try to figure out why – and you can record your observations in your MY SCIENCE DIARY (ALSO AVAILABLE ON AMAZON)


The setup is simple. Besides a light, you will need a white sheet. One that has been washed in detergent works best because detergent helps to reflect the UV light and they “fluoresce.” The sheets serve two purposes: one is to act as a giant reflector for your black light and the other is contrast. Once the insects come in, you can see them when they land on the sheet. There are two ways to set up your sheets, one is to hang them like a wall and the other is to lay them flat on the ground. OR you can do both. There is no right or wrong, just a matter of preference. This is how I set things up.

Once you have your sheets set, you will need a power source for your light. If you are doing this at home, that’s easy. If you are not at home, I use a car or lawnmower battery with a power inverter. LEDs do not use a lot of power so they should last for quite a few hours.

So, what do you do next? Grab a chair and some snacks and wait for all the cool nocturnal insets to come to you.


Different insects fly at different times of the night. Depending on the area you live in, from Mid-May to Mid-June all the cool giant silk moths like Luna, Polyphemus and Cecropia are out. Typically, they do not start flying until 11 pm. Another thing you will observe is that all summer long the insects that you will see will change. But hey! Don’t take my word for it. Go get your science diary and record your own observations! BlackLighting for insects is a great backyard family activity. Remember to record all your observations in your My Science Diary and compare your notes to the same dates next year! If you liked this video and would like to see more videos, be sure to like and subscribe and share this video.

I am entomologist and science evangelist Antonio Gustin, and this has been a My Science Diary Moment.



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Earlier this week we sent out an email asking for your help with our mission to build our permanent location. (SEE DETAILS HERE) If you didn’t get that email, well, you may wish to check your spam folder… or click here. 
This is a summary of what we are asking of you. Some of which take absolutely no effort on your part but truly help us.


We are in need of grant writers, graphic designers, photographers, video production assistants, bloggers, salespeople, web designers, etc etc.  Have a skill to share we haven’t mentioned? – that’s fine too.  Have spare time? We can help you with that.


Be the first to fill out and submit the form below and you win!


Quick! Someone call Rikki-Tikki-Tavi! April’s bug of the month are the Mambo and White-spotted African assassin bugs! This insect is famous for its two spots and infamous for its powerful venom. A neurotoxic venom similar in potency to that of a cobra AND it can spit its venom like a cobra as well! A venom so powerful that it can cause temporary blindness in humans and knock down crickets from 12 inches away.   I don’t think anyone will be holding these but we will do a public feeding. They are merciless voracious hunters and it will be a scene sure to be reminiscent of the Colosseum.

Assassin bugs are everywhere and are considered beneficial. They are pretty much like a spider with one fang or as it’s known in the insect world a “proboscis.” While many insects have a proboscis with two sides, one for injecting and one for sucking, Assassin bugs just have one chamber.  This allows them to deliver a massive dose of their venom which liquifies their prey and then suck it up quickly.

It has been recently discovered that assassin bugs have two kinds of venom, one for prey and one for defense.  They will bite to defend themselves and it is considered more painful than a bee sting.

Assassin bugs are of the order Hemiptera (true bugs) and have many famous members of their family, the family Reduviidae that is. One smooching member you may have heard of is the kissing bug.  This nasty little member of the Reduviidae family will sneak up on you while you sleep and bite you on the lips. Their bite can deliver a protozoan parasite named trypanosoma cruzi. This causes a disease known as Chagas disease. A disease with a whole list of wonderful nasty symptoms one of which is sudden death, if left untreated.

Good times…. Good times!


Want to see the feeding frenzy? Then come to our next show, April 13th @ Discovery World!

Ladybird is back! … kind of.

Many of you have asked about Ladybird, the Burgandy Goliath Birdeater tarantula (theraphosa Stirmi).  She was gone the last couple of shows because she was going through a molt. Well, she molted and now besides being even bigger than before – “she” turned out to be a “he!”

Yes, Ladybird is a dude.  Not that there is anything wrong with that but we needed a new name.  I was going to put it up for a vote on the book of faces BUT I had a name I wanted to use, Paul.  In honor of one of my favorite Bugs Bunny episodes with Witch Hazel.

So, Paul, Paul is back!



Earlier this week we sent out an email asking for your help with our mission to build our permanent location. (SEE DETAILS HERE) If you didn’t get that email, well, you may wish to check your spam folder… or click here. 
This is a summary of what we are asking of you. Some of which take absolutely no effort on your part but truly help us.


We are in need of grant writers, graphic designers, photographers, video production assistants, bloggers, salespeople, web designers, etc etc.  Have a skill to share we haven’t mentioned? – that’s fine too.  Have spare time? We can help you with that.


This week is another chance to win a free t-shirt. It took some time and tweaking but we finally have our T-shirt shop directly on our website.  You can now view all our collections and different designs. Many new designs and products will be up as the year progresses. As a “Thank You,” for subscribing to our newsletter, you can use this code CREEPYFRIEND for %15 off your entire first order.  Share the code with friends if you like and feel free to share our products on social media.  We appreciate it.


Be the first to fill out and submit the form below and you win!

This is Charlie. Her grandmother won in January and she chose the Ultraviolet Scorpion T.

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Change, and the Power of Language

Marble Mantis looking winsome.

Greetings and Salutations my bug-friendly friends! Welcome and do come in! It is I, your devoted Monarch Lady, here to chat again. Thank you to Tony for letting me take over his blog once more.

As you may recall my personal specialty, when it comes to insects, is Monarch Butterflies. However, I am a massive fan of all things creepy crawly and often raise other kinds of insects in the long winter months when Monarchs have long since flown for warmer climes. Mantises are among my favorites and this past winter I raised Chinese Mantises and a Dead Leaf Mantis and a couple Marbled Mantises. Gorgeous!

Out in the world, mantises eat a varied carnivorous diet of basically whatever insects they can catch, and they can catch a lot. They are one of the fastest hunters on Earth and have both excellent eyesight and reflexes. Anyway, in my house in the dead of winter their diet tends to be a little more restricted. Well, very restricted to mostly store bought crickets. The occasional spider if I can find one in the basement. But, really, if I find a spider in the basement, I’m more likely to box it up and raise it than feed it to another bug.

So, to give my babies some extra nutrition, I ordered some housefly larvae so that when they “hatched” I would have juicy, delicious houseflies to feed the mantises. So pudgy! So cute! So yummy! Now, I am accustomed to dealing with a number of flying feeder insects, so I’m pretty good at getting fruit flies and house flies and all sorts of small squiggly and squirmy things to behave long enough to get into the tank of whatever other insect I am currently raising and sacrifice themselves in a nutritional way. Thank you for your service, little flies.

Occasionally one or two of them get away. This is where our story actually begins.

So there I am on a Sunday evening surrounded by my dear family enjoying a pleasant meal. Chatting, laughing, and occasionally swatting away one of the house flies that had gotten loose. My intention was to recapture the little dear and pop it into a mantis tank, but dinner preparation meant putting it off until later. A fly lands on the table. Someone slams their hand down in an attempt to squash it.

We do not kill bugs in this house. Ever. And what happened next is why.

“Hey!” I exclaim. My dear brother immediately puts his hands up and says “Sorry! Sorry!” because he knows, he really does, how I feel about killing insects and why. But he said THE THING. Here’s THE THING.

“But, come on, it’s just a fly.”

“It’s JUST a fly.”

This is me, your sweet, happy-go-lucky, nerdy, science-loving, hippy-chick butterfly lady when someone says it’s “just” a bug. “Just” an anything really. I mean, sometimes the word means things like fairness and equality and that’s super cool, obvs. But, for the most part, that’s not how we use it, is it? For the most part we use it to mean something totally different and it really makes me crazy. So, most of the time,  I kind of HAAAAAATE the word “just”. let me explain. 


Words are so powerful! And the way we use the word “just” most of the time is intended to diminish, to make small, to imply unimportance, to remove power. And throughout our human history we have used it in the worst possible ways to treat each other as badly as possible and take away power from other human beings.

“He’s just a kid” or “she’s just a girl” or “it’s just a bug” are some of the most tame. But when we say that we are saying that kids are not capable of great things, that girls are not as capable as boys, that bugs are not playing an integral part in keeping the world, as we humans enjoy it, going every single day.

I know that you know already why bees are important. Pollination! Honey! Yay! But what about our little house fly friends? Did you know that they pollinate too? They also play an important part in recycling! You see them hanging around garbage because one of their jobs is to help break down food waste. If it weren’t for house flies and other waste reducers, we’d be buried in rotting food.

Our planet is a finely balanced web of interconnectedness and insects are basically the threads of that web. They create so much of the food we rely on through pollination, and there are more pollinator insects out there than you think. They break down and compost our waste, creating the healthy soil we need to grow more food and ridding us of our garbage. They even effect the migration of mammal groups which has influenced our ability to hunt and historically could make or break a community’s ability to survive. Insects and their behaviors are the foundation for all the rest of the natural world, and its time we took that seriously.

Because the bugs are disappearing.

To all my grown-ups out there, do you remember when you were young and you’d go on a long drive and the windshield would get absolutely gross and covered with bugs? Have you noticed how that doesn’t really happen anymore? It seems funny, but that’s actually a thing scientists are calling The Windshield Effect. Based on this and other indicators, citizen scientists all around the world starting counting the bugs in the areas. The rough estimation over the last 30 years is that insect populations world wide are down about 80%.


Where did they go? The largest culprits seems to be habitat loss and climate change. When we build and don’t make efforts to replace the habitat we removed, the insect populations suffer. They have fewer and fewer spaces to breed and less and less room to find food and avoid predation. Climate change means that the cold weather is colder and the hot weather is hotter and there are more and fiercer storms and insects are extremely delicate when it comes to habitat changes.

Honestly? Real change starts with the way we think, and the way we think is intrinsically tied to the way we speak. When you see a spider in your home, don’t kill it. Don’t let yourself think “it’s just one spider”, because it’s really not. It’s not “just” a house fly, or a centipede, or a bee , or a potato bug, or a moth, or anything else. Those insects and all the others are the tiniest yet most crucial parts of a delicate network in which they are the very foundation for life as we know it. Stick up for our buggy friends when and where you can. Create spaces in your lives for them to live and thrive. Stop using pesticides at home and in the garden. Get educated on the bugs you share your space with so you no longer fear them. Contact your representatives, churches, and schools to encourage insect and climate friendly initiatives. Teach your kids how they can help. Encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. Use your words.

Your words are powerful and so are you. Just as one tiny insect is a big part of our lives, we as individuals can make a big difference. You are not “just” one person. You can be a member of a growing group of concerned people who, through their small individual actions, make a huge impact.

Change your words, change some minds, change the world.

Until next time!



If you’re looking for something a little more representative of spring, come to Discovery World, March 9th.  We have a little something from down under for you, Australian Spiney Walking Sticks!  It has been nearly 20 year since I’ve had these in my show and they are wonderful!  Australian Walking Sticks (extatosoma tiaratum) are NOT what we typically think of as a walking stick.  They’re fat, leafy looking and spiney.

Their native food is Eucalyptus. In captivity, they can be kept on Bramble, Eucalyptus, Hawthorn, Oak, Pyracantha, Raspberry, and Rose.  They are very alien looking and not what most of us would picture as a “walking stick.” When threatened, they display a defensive “scorpion” pose, with the abdomen bent toward the head.  They can also give a kick with their spiny legs.

Want to know what it’s like to hold one? Well then, come visit our next show at Discovery World, March 9th! ​


Earlier this week we sent out an email asking for your help with our mission to build our permanent location. (SEE DETAILS HERE) If you didn’t get that email, well, you may wish to check your spam folder… or click here.
This is a summary of what we are asking of you. Some of which take absolutely no effort on your part but truly help us.


We are in need of grant writers, graphic designers, photographers, video production assistants, bloggers, salespeople, web designers, etc etc.  Have a skill to share we haven’t mentioned? – that’s fine too.  Have spare time? We can help you with that.


Join our Sunday event Sunday Science Cinema.  This is a Facebook event I created to endure the winter months. It’s going on longer than intended 🙂 Every Sunday we post a new science video. All videos are posted to the event itself. Join the event and get notifications of newly posted videos and watch past episodes.  The videos are the best of the best I’ve come across on YouTube. (I do appreciate suggestions as well) All videos are posted to the event page.


This week is another chance to win a free t-shirt. It took some time and tweaking but we finally have our T-shirt shop directly on our website.  You can now view all our collections and different designs. Many new designs and products will be up as the year progresses. As a “Thank You,” for subscribing to our newsletter, you can use this code CREEPYFRIEND for %15 off your entire first order.  Share the code with friends if you like and feel free to share our products on social media.  We appreciate it.


Be the first to fill out and submit the form below and you win!

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Creature Featured!
Darwin, the Galapagos Centipede!

As some of you may or may not know, every month this year we will be featuring a new animal in the Creepy Crawly Zoo.  Last month we had Ladybird, the Goliath Birdeater Tarantula. This month it is Darwin, the Galapagos Centipede!

In 25 years of working with invertebrates from all over the world, few things still impress me. The…

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Hello everyone!

Just a quick update on what’s going on with the Creepy Crawly Zoo and the Gateway Science Project.

First bit of news: Our next show at Discovery World is Saturday, November 3rd at 11:30 am.  We will be giving away $200 of items donated by American Science and Surplus!

Next:  The Gateway Science Project,Inc is now an official 501c organization.  All…

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August 2018 Newsletter – Creepy Crawly Zoo

Greetings all you bug lovers out there and welcome to the latest Creepy Crawly Newsletter! We’ve got lots to share with you today including new friends, old friends, and chances for you to catch Tony and his buggy menagerie, so let’s dive in!


We are thrilled to announce a new sponsor, partner, and Bug BFF, Animal House Pet Supplies! I, your intrepid Bloggess and finder of all things bug-tastically fun, visited the shop and owner, Dan (pictured here sweet talking a cranky sugar glider) to get the scoop on our new pal and his mission.

You guys. Go visit Dan! Dan grew up around lots of animals and got his start as a small animal expert with birds. He has since branched out to reptiles, amphibians, insects, arachnids, and small mammals. After spending some time doing trade shows for reptile supplies, he decided what he really wanted to do was own his own shop that catered to small animal and creepy crawly lovers eveywhere.

And cater it does! At any given time you might find inside the many tidy cages and tanks sugar gliders, hedge hogs, gerbils, hamsters, tarantulas, millipedes, beetles, orchid mantises, roaches, dart frogs, iguanas, geckos, and dragons, just to name a few of his furry and scaly friends!

Don’t see the small companion your heart longs for? No problem! Dan’s many years cultivating relationships with trusted suppliers means he can procure for you any number of exotic and domestic small animals buddies. He likes to keep his stock interesting and often carries new and unusual critters, as well as breeding many himself.

As an avid animal supply shopper (you didn’t really think all I housed were butterflies, did you?) I can attest first hand to Dan’s excellent stock and really great prices. he has things on his shelves that I would otherwise have had to order, and you can’t put a price on his friendly demeanor and thorough knowledge.

Wait! Did I mention that he offers small animal boarding as well? If you are leaving town and your dear relatives or neighbors balk at caring for your millipede/boa constrictor/hamster, Dan will take care of them for you. For an incredibly reasonable fee, you can rest easy that your slithery/hoppy/burrowing family members will be as well cared for as if they were home with you. Probably better. Dan’s an expert.

You can visit Dan for yourself at his lovely store at 100 Fox Street in Mukwonago, or like him on Facebook, here. We look forward to partnering with Dan for a long time to come!


As summer draws to a close, you still have one chance for this season to see Tony’s Creepy Crawly Zoo at Discovery World TOMORROW! Saturday, August 18th, join Tony and all his creepy crawly companions for one last Discovery World hurrah!

But wait! You can’t make it tomorrow, you say? You want nothing more than to spend time with Tony and his incredible insects but can’t possibly shirk your responsibilities to go play with bugs? Well, first off, just come out and play with the bugs. You know you want to. Secondly, DISCOVERY WORLD AND THE CREEPY CRAWLY ZOO WILL BE WORKING TOGETHER FOR ANOTHER YEAR!!! YAAAAAY!

That’s right! Starting in October, you will still be able to catch Tony’s show and zoo at Discovery World for another fabulous year! We are thrilled to keep working with such an incredible institution and so many great people.

You should still totally come to the show tomorrow, though.


Aagh! Did I just say that summer was ending?!? I did, but that doesn’t mean the Creepy Crawly Zoo can’t keep educating and entertaining through the long winter months! Back-to-School is actually a great opportunity to have Tony’s show visit your school or classroom! As we all know, the Creepy Crawly Zoo and the Gateway Science Tour are a great way to get kids fired up about science and learning! Spread the word to your kids’ teachers and any educators that you may know that Tony would love to bring his show and Zoo to your school!


Last, but certainly not least, The Bug Whisperer will be live and in person at this year’s BUG DAY at the Wehr Nature Center!

Sunday, September 16th, from 1-4pm, come to the Wehr Nature Center to celebrate all things bug! From Tony’s show at 1:30, to eating bugs with Chef Emily’s Creepy Crawly Cuisine, from the Bug Discovery Walk to the chance to see one of the largest butterfly collections in Wisconsin, it promises to be a thoroughly wonderful insect-filled afternoon. You can find all the details here, and be sure to put the date on your calendars!

As always, thank you for spending time with us here at www.creepycrawlyzoo.com. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog, news updates, and, as always, spread the word to friends and family about the continuing progress on The Gateway Science Center. Info for sharing can be found here, and donations can be made here. Until next time!

Let’s Talk About Ticks, Baby!

Greetings and salutations once again my fellow insect fanatics!

So, it might be because I spend a silly amount of time wading through prairies and smashing my face up against trees and pawing through piles of rotting wood and crawling into the dark corners of basements, but I find a lot of insects on my body. Like, daily. Spiders, flies, ladybugs, inch worms, crickets, caterpillars…like, every day. Normally, I don’t mind these little six and eight legged visitors warming themselves on my skin or hitching a ride to a better hunting spot, but there is one visitor in particular that I just cannot cotton to and must expel from my epidermis immediately!

What ever could it be, you may wonder?

Today let’s have a discussion about some thing buggy that bugs me and you, namely, TICKS! Itty, bitty, bitey, blood-suckers just laying in wait for a tasty morsel to wander by. Deer, racoons, and YOU!

Look at this adorable little tick! Look how cute and round and smiley…awwww, sweet little tick, right? Wrong! Ticks are not sweet and not smiley and not adorably round and purple like a grape. In reality, ticks are often seed-shaped with eight specialized legs and some pretty awesomely terrifying mouth parts.

Their legs are truly amazing. They are designed to make them very clingy. First, as they hang out on the tips of tall grasses or tree leaves, bouncing in the breeze until something exuding some warm and fuzzy body heat happens by. As our warm-blooded body brushes said grass or leaf, the tick grabs onto them, going along for the ride. This is where their special feet come in and are grossly cool.

Their little feet are designed just so their prey can’t feel them! Creepy, right? But such a good design! They have tiny little ‘u’ shaped feet that are so fine and good at their job, even the sensitive hairs on your arms can’t detect them. This means they can wander all over their prey totally unbeknownst to them until they find a really soft, tender spot to sink their little mouth parts into.

Now that is what a tick looks like! Okay, so the disgustingly cool thing about tick mouths is the way they bite. They don’t plunge in all-of-a-sudden like a mosquito, oh no. Instead, they have to work just a little bit harder to get to your juicy, delicious blood beneath your many layers of tough skin. The ticks have specialized parts on their mouths that they use to sweep and sweep (kind of like rowing a boat with your arms looks) and brush their way down and through the layers of your skin until they reach blood. Gross! Amazing! I love it!

Once they manage to brush their way through all those pesky layers they can bite into you, but even then their mouth parts are so small it takes a while for them to actually get a good sucking flow going. So much effort for the tick!

As you know, tick bites can carry a host of diseases, among them Lyme’s Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. So we worry, don’t we, when we play outside or go hiking or camping? But there is good news!

From the time you brush against that tall grass and pick up your unwelcome hitchhiker, to the time the little bugger has finally managed to pick a sweet spot and sink in, actually takes a little time. Up to a couple of hours, in fact. So tick bites are super preventable! Yay!

So what do you do?

Bug spray! Woohoo! We clever humans have long since invented aerosol prevention that is extremely effective. Just make sure it’s got some Deet in it. After using your bug spray there’s one more possibly even more important thing you can do to keep yourself safe and healthy.

TICK CHECKS! Sometimes sweat or swimming or rain can wash away our bug spray, but a good and thorough tick check can save the day. Don’t be shy about it. Many ticks can be easy to see, but some nymphs (young ticks) and particularly the dreaded Deer Tick can be virtually impossible to tell apart from a freckle. Poppy seed sized! So tiny! So use your eyes, use your hands, use the buddy system, and check everywhere, every day. It really takes so little time and is well worth it.

I’m a big proponent of tick checks. So much so that I have composed an actual tick-check-themed poem just to help you remember what to do and how important it is! So here goes…

An Ode to Checking for Ticks

Finally the time is here!
The sun is warm, the sky is clear!
It’s time for hiking and biking too,
Rowing and fishing in a canoe.
Parties and picnics ‘til well after dark,
Day after day we’ll play in the park.
Crickets are chirping and birdies they sing,
But please remember this one thing:
Amongst the ladybugs and bees
Is a nasty pest causing some unease.
She makes no sound of any kind,
And her tiny size makes her hard to find.
Her feet are designed so you don’t even feel
When she’s grabbed your knee, elbow, or heel.
And when you find one in your hair….
It means she CRAWLED all the way up there!
Mosquito bites itch, bee stings hurt a lot,
But that’s nothing compared to the bite this girl’s got!
She’ll bury her head way down into your skin,
And hang out for hours before she begins
By sweeping her barbed little fangs forth and back
Again and again in slow-motion attack.
She buries them further with every brush,
(You can’t feel this at all so she knows there’s no rush).
Finally, when she’s totally stuck,
Her feeding mouth plunges and she starts to suck.
Your blood flows into her and she into you.
For multiple days, exchanging of goo,
Germs and bacteria, saliva and blood,
Her body engorged now, the color of mud.
Finally full she drops off with no fear.
You may not even know she ever was near
Until you get fever, joint pain, or a cough,
Rashes, fatigue, body aches….had enough?
All of this is so easy to skip!
After being outside simply go in and strip!
Get all the way down to your birthday suit
And check every inch from your hair to your foot.
Use your mirrors and fingers, don’t skip a pore.
It doesn’t take long and you know what it’s for.
Your health and safety are important to all,
So in spring, through summer, and well into fall
When you go outside put on your bug spray
And do your tick check at the end of the day!

Until next time, my insect oriented friends, have fun, be safe, wear your bug spray, and check for ticks! And don’t forget to come back frequently for updates on Tony’s shows and the progress of the Gateway Science Center. As always, you can lend your support here, at the Go Fund Me site, or just by spreading the word!