Year: 
2020
Project Leader: 
Blake Newton
Department/Program: 
Entomology
Funding Received: 
$911

This year, the UK CAFE Department of Entomology wishes to transform laboratory S202 (Ag North) into a permitted containment facility for USDA-regulated exotic insects. This will allow us to maintain and display exotic species in the space, such as giant walking sticks and tropical mantids. These exotic species will join the non-regulated species that we already maintain (including tarantulas, giant roaches, and multiple species of native insects and spiders) to create a diverse collection of live arthropods. Currently, the species that we maintain are seen by thousands of Kentuckians every year, but because we do not have a physical display location, we are limited to showing the creatures at remote venues. And because we cannot adequately control the environmental conditions (temperature and humidity) in the space, we are restricted to just a few species.

Thanks to recent departmental renovations, S202 is ready, structurally, to become an insectarium. However, we lack the control system needed to maintain the environmental conditions that these new creatures (many of which are tropical) will require. From the Charles E. Barnhart Fund for Excellence, we are seeking funding for specific equipment that will allow us to create appropriate conditions to turn the space into a true insectarium. This equipment includes a space heater, a humidifier, and two large retail glass terraria. This equipment is expected to function for 5-10 years or more.