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Bug Off: Reasons Why Entomology is Cool

There's not an official number, but Auburn has about 59 minors listed in the AU Bulletin.

Entomology is one many students may not recognize.

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So, what is entomology exactly?

The study of insects.

Dr. David Held, assistant professor of entomology, said his entomology classes see a wide variety of students.

"We even have some communication students who pop into our classes," Held said, "and also some economic students."

Held said the main reason students choose to take entomology classes is to gain a broader perspective than they get in their discipline.

Knowing that the average student will more than likely have a house and pets, Held said he tries to teach his classes from the practical perspective.

And with nearly 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 (10 quintillion) insects in the world, according to the Entomological Society of America, the average person needs to be entomologically literate.

The entomology department isn't stuck in the woods all day studying insects though.

Held said the graduate students had the opportunity to race Madagascar hissing cockroaches for children at the Fall Festival, a fundraiser for the public schools in Auburn.

"They were all yelling 'Speedy, Dash! Go!'," Held said.

The cockroaches have a permanent home in the office of Dr. Wayne Clark, professor of entomology.

Held suggested a few non-technical books for students considering entomology: "To Know a Fly" by Vincent Dethier and "Naturalist" by E.O. Wilson, which are both short reads.

E.O. Wilson is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for general non-fiction. Wilson was born in Birmingham, Ala., and grew up around Mobile, Ala., according to "Naturalist".

"These are great places for a freshman student to begin reading to determine if entomology is one of their passions," Held said.

For more information about getting a minor in entomology contact Dr. Wayne Clark at

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