EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — When 10-year-old Peyton Mowry handled a Vietnamese walking stick at the Michigan State University Bug House, screaming was not her first reaction.

"It tickled," she said as she giggled with her friend Asia Young.

Asia, 10, of Lansing visited the Bug House with Peyton during the school year and asked her mom, Trisha Bradshaw, if they could come back.

"They wanted to do it and they are girls, hey, more power to them," Bradshaw said. "I'd rather have them like them, than scream every five seconds."

The Bug House held one of its summer open houses last month at the Natural Science Building. The Bug House was started in 1998 as an outreach program for the department of Entomology, designed to educate children and students about insects.

Gary Parsons, a collection manager for the Department of Entomology, spends time working in the Bug House with tour groups.

"The goals are to simply educate the people about insects," Parsons said. "Pictures in a book don't give the same impression like seeing a wall of butterflies and all the different colors."

From scorpions to hissing cockroaches the Bug House offers a variety of learning opportunities to handle and observe insects.

"We emphasize the 'oh-my! insects' rather than the tiny ones we work with in the department," Parsons said.

When Tricia Brockman, an insect caretaker at the Bug House brought out a tarantula, she was immediately swarmed by a group of children. Some were eager to pet the fuzzy legs of the tarantula while others were a bit hesitant. Brockman said that's part of the fun.

"I like it when kids come in and they are afraid of the insects," Brockman said. "Usually by the end of the tour they are all like 'can I touch it?' It's cool to see them get over their phobia."

The next open house will be 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 19.


Information from: Lansing State Journal, http://www.lansingstatejournal.com