The BUG Studio Tour

The B.U.G. studio

The B.U.G. studio is situated in one room of a San Francisco 3 bedroom flat located in the Richmond District. The building was built one year after the 1906 earthquake, so it has lots of old charm. Finished insects are stored in the back against the wall with specimen drawers in metal cabinets. At center, is the terrarium where 8 Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches live. They like to come with me when I do insect presentations at local schools.

Specimen Drawers

Once insects are dried and spread, I store them in the same drawers museums use. These drawers were acquired from the California Academy of Sciences and Berkeley entomology collections.

pinned beetles
Pinned beetles drying. The pins are used to make the beetles perfectly symmetrical.
insect studio
Shipping station which is an old IKEA bar stand.

Shipping station which is an old IKEA bar stand.

SF Green Business, My South African Darkling Beetle Pet “Debbie”, and Maker Fair Award

(In the upper left) My mausoleum for “Debbie” the South African Darkling beetle, who lived with me in Cape Town until a parasite crawled out of her and killed her. Also displayed are my Green Business certificate and Blue Ribbon award from the 2008 Maker Faire, the largest DIY festival in the world.

Work Station

This is where I pin & spread my specimens and also make my butterfly wing jewelry. My world is full of little drawers.


One of the best things about working from home is I get to hang out with my son all day. He loves to watch me spread butterflies and often gives some good advice, although I don’t understand it.


Bathroom break for a Rhino Beetle.


Butterfly Wing Jewelry waiting to be finished.


A rough gang of tricycle weevils that sometimes cause trouble in my studio.


I only use perfect specimens in my insect displays. The ones that are not up to my standards go into the “Bone Yard” where I can harvest parts if I need to repair a specimen. Maybe I should send these to Fear Factor?


Ten of the most enjoyable days of my science career were at the Ant Course, a unique workshop sponsored by Harvard University and the California Academy of Sciences that brings together some of the best ant scientists in the world together. One of the greatest living scientists, E.O. Wilson, signs every certificate.