DETROIT -- Famous bug collector Dan Capps has brought his exotic collection of rare insects to the Detroit Science Center. The exhibit, titled "Creep Crawly Bug Exhibit" was unveiled on Oct. 27 and it will be on view until Nov. 7. Rose Pest Solutions, which is celebrating 150 years in business, is the presenting sponsor of the new exhibit.
Children from Pace Academy in Southfield, Mich. were invited to the grand opening of the exhibit. Capps also did a special presentation on the first level of the museum with live insects and tasty treats.
"This exhibit is a collector's dream, put together by Dan Capps of Madison, Wisconsin," said Russ Ives, president of Rose Pest Solutions. "It includes insects from all over the world and all the continents, other than Antarctica, of course. This collection has been around the country. It's been down to Disney World, Epcot Center, Chicago and museums around the world. There are hercules beetles, which are really impressive. There are beautiful butterflies, colors you can't imagine. There are millipedes, centipedes. It's something quite unique."
The "Creep Crawly Bug Exhibit" features a wide variety of specimens from the insect world. Museum goers will see butterflies as large as a dinner plate to walking sticks as long as a forearm.
"Everything that you see here is natural and is real," Capps said at the grand opening of the new exhibit. "There's nothing that's been varnished or polished or painted. They may look artificial. They were once alive. Most of these things are not harmful at all. They might look scary. The most dangerous insect in the world is simple, it's a mosquito. Mosquitoes carry many diseases. There are many people that die each year from malaria and other diseases carried by mosquitoes."
This collection of insects, bugs and butterflies was once the largest in the world. However, Capps recently started to donate portions of it to museums and schools across the country.
"We do have our own professional entomologists," Ives added. "They have a unique interest in insects. We have a specific interest in helping people solve their pest problems. Insects are a significant part of that. Beyond that, we are members of the community and we certainly enjoy our history here in Detroit. This is a way, on our 150th anniversary of our founding, to give something back to the community."
He said the most interesting bug in the collection is the long-horned beetle. Most of the bugs included in the exhibit are from the tropical areas of the world, the bug collector explained.
"I started collecting insects when I was eight years old," Capps added. "I'm 60 now, so you can do the math and you can see that I've been doing this for 52 years. As a child, I wasn't very well organized at it. I've never had any professional training in the field of entomology. This has been entirely a hobby of mine. I've had good fortune to meet some people who graciously guided me along in the path as I've been doing this. When you think about insects, they can be very good. Without them, our entire world would change."
In terms of life span, mayflies live the shortest amount of time at only one day. However, butterflies live the longest amount of time at up to nine months. Capps said that most bugs are eaten by spiders before they have a chance to live out their full life.
The "Creep Crawly Bug Exhibit" is just one of many reasons to visit the recently-expanded Detroit Science Center. The museum has doubled its size over the past year. Other recent additions to the museum include the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America collection and the Rocket Laboratory. The museum also features Michigan’s only Chrysler IMAX Dome Theatre.
For more information on the Detroit Science Center, visit www.detroitsciencecenter.org.