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11 June 2018

Are You Being Bugged In the Garden?

It’s official: You are being bugged. Insect season has descended upon us. All the new tender growth that comes in spring and early summer brings out the troops of crawlies.

Cicada Bug Illustration

Although entomology is not my passion, I have immortalized one bug for the simple fact that there was no escaping it during 2013's swarm in New Jersey. Cicada bugs were e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e, as far as my eyes could see, gossamer wings fluttering to the ground.

A sign of the divine. Cicada wings became muse.

Cicada Wing Pendant

I had to learn all about these shrill-sounding insects. To begin, they all belong to the genus Magicicada. Could you ask for a more spectacular surname? 

I learned more and more about their history — the 13-year and 17-year swarms, their broods, their songs, their penchant for xylem (sap) cocktails. As I dug deeper, I also learned a factoid about my fellow humans. Turns out, some humans eat cicadas, following honest-to-goodness recipes (the University of Maryland published a cookbook). They’re high in protein. YUM, umm pass. We don't judge here ... Eat them if you like OR wear them stylishly. This is my endlessly stylish friend Simone, always inspirational.

Cicada Bug Necklace with Gold Wings

Janet Mavec’s cicada wing necklaces and earrings catch a lot of compliments. (Even the dog realizes she's not the be-all in this shot.)

Cicada Bug Pendant

I love that the cicada wings read like a geometric pendant; it's like a hidden insect embedded in an earring.

Cicada Bug Wing Earrings

The pieces I made with multiple wings are ... je ne sais quoi. Oh but wait, they are divinely Magicicada!

Cicada Bug Wing Necklace

Now, a question for you readers: Should I immortalize another insect in earrings or a necklace? What do you think? Shoot me an email and let me know which insect deserves to be cast.

Should you need some bugspiration, some insect intellectualism, here's an idea to get behind: The Insect Road Trip.

Insect Road Trips

Audubon Nature Institute’s New Orleans Insectarium introduces you to a bunch of insects.

Plenty of museums give space to butterflies, like Chicago’s Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and New York’s American Museum of Natural History.

A Bug Fair is held every May in Los Angeles, by Natural History Museum Los Angeles County.

Then, there’s Harrell House’s Crawlywood Collection in Santa Fe with 2,400 mounted insects. A chrysalis chamber and honey bee center are just a part of Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, geared toward children.

One of the largest entomological collections in the world is Smithsonian Institute’s National Insect Collection, partly displayed at O. Orkin Insect Zoo at D.C.’s National Museum of Natural History. Also at that museum, “Objects of Wonder” will have several specimens in an exhibit ending in 2019.