CCEW 2022 Celebrating Chemistry

 The Buzz About Bugs: Insect Chemistry

Celebrating Chemistry: The Buzz About Bugs: Insect Chemistry

In this issue


The Buzz About Bugs: Insect Chemistry

Insects are found almost everywhere and in all environments. We know of about 1 million species, but biologists think there are over 90 times that many that we just haven’t yet classified! 

Pollinators Wanted!

Protecting pollinators is incredibly important to our survival. Learn some ways you can help to conserve pollinators. 

A Bug Buffet?

Entomophagy is practiced by over two billion people worldwide — and no, it’s not an internet trend — it’s bug-eating! About one-third of the insects that people eat are beetles, followed in popularity by butterflies or moths, bees, wasps, and ants. 

Ill Will from Insects?

Ouch! You were bitten by a mosquito, and now you have an itchy red bump on your skin! Are insects out to get us? Most other insects bite only to protect themselves or their territories.

Meg A. Mole Interview with Dr. Riccardo Papa

Meg A. Mole, Future Chemist interviews Dr. Riccardo Papa, Professor and Lab Director of the of the Sequencing and Genotyping Facility.


Bugs to Dye For

Cochineal bugs are used today to color many things including food, beverages, and cosmetics. Try this activity to discover how! 

Taking the Sting Out of Bites

Bites or stings from certain bugs, such as red fire ants or bees,  can be extra irritating. Explore some common remedies and see how effective they are!

Amazing Aromas

In this activity, you will assemble some common aromas from natural fruits and flowers and from products that use scents as part of their ingredients. 


Build your bug activity sheet
Know Your Bug - Build Your Bug (PDF)

Download and print these fun pages from this edition of Celebrating Chemistry! Build your own bug and share it on social media with the hashtag #CCEW.

Words to Know

Atom – the smallest unit of a chemical element that has the characteristics of the element.
Chemical bond – forces of attraction between atoms or molecules that create compounds.
Chemical reaction – the process of rearranging atoms between substances to make different substances.
Chemistry – the study of matter, its properties, and its changes.
Element – a pure substance, such as copper or oxygen, made from a single type of atom. Elements are the basic building blocks of all matter.
Entomologist – a scientist who studies insects.
Entomophagy – the practice of eating insects.
Indicator – a substance that changes color depending on whether it is in an acid, a base, or a neutral solution.
Insect – an animal that has six legs; a body made up of a thorax, head, and abdomen; and often one or two pairs of wings.
Molecule – the smallest unit of a chemical compound. They are made from two or more atoms.
Photosynthesis – the chemical process plants and other bacteria use to turn carbon dioxide, light, and water into energy in the form sugar, and release oxygen into the air.
Pollen – a dusty powder produced by plants when they reproduce.
Pollination – the process of transferring pollen from the male parts of a plant to its female parts, allowing the plant to reproduce. Pollination happens by wind, water, or pollinators.
Pollinator – an organism that picks up pollen from one flower and carries it to another. Insects, birds, bats, and bees are common examples.


The articles and activities used in this publication were written by theme team members of the ACS Committee on Community Activities (CCA) under the leadership of Holly Davis.  

Meg A. Mole’s interview was written by Kara KasaKaitas.

The activities described in this publication are intended for children under the direct supervision of adults. The American Chemical Society cannot be responsible for any accidents or injuries that may result from conducting the activities without proper supervision, from not specifically following directions, or from ignoring the cautions contained in the text.

Chemists Celebrate Earth Week Logo
CCEW 2022 Theme Team
  • Rick Rogers, CCEW Chair 
  • Regina Malczewski, 2022 Co-Chair
  • Veronica Jaramillo, 2022 Co-Chair 
  • Brittany Rauzan 
  • David Katz 
  • Edith Kippenhan 
  • Greglynn Gibbs 
  • Holly Davis
  • Jackie Trischman
  • Ressano Machado
  • Sara Delgado 
  • Shawn Dougherty 
  • Susan Hershberger 
  • Tracy Hamilton
Production Team
  • Andrés Vergara, Translator
  • Allison Tau, Editor 
  • Eric Stewart, Copyeditor Michael Tinnesand, Copyeditor 
  • Rhonda Saunders, Designer 
  • Jim Starr, Illustrator 
  • Andrés Vergara, Translator
Technical and Safety Review Team
  • Lynn Hogue, Consultant
  • Bettyann Howson, Safety Reviewer 
  • Ashley Neybert, Accessibility Reviewer 
  • Sara Delgado-Rivera, Translation Reviewer
Division of Education
  • LaTrease Garrison, Executive Vice President
  • Lily L. Raines, Manager, Science Outreach
  • Allison Tau, Program Specialist, Science Outreach