Bugs Ed. Risk Assessment

Michelle Gleeson
Director, Entomologist & Presenter, Bugs Ed.  
PO Box 446
The Gap, QLD 4061
Email: michelle@bugsed.com

ABN: 983 919 040 77

Blue Card Number:  337386/8
Expiry Date:  15th April 2023

Description of Activity:

Our workshops consist of a PowerPoint Presentation; display cases of dead insect specimens and a live insect display.

PowerPoint Presentation:

This is conducted using your school’s computer or laptop; data projector & screen.  Any problems incurred whilst using this equipment is beyond the scope of our company’s risk assessment.

Insect Display Cases:

These cases are held by the presenter and are not to be handled by the students.  The open topped cases contain dead insects, spiders & scorpions from around the world.  Exotic material has been imported under the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service Guidelines.  Specimens are treated with ordinary household naphthalene (moth balls), a type of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), to combat damage against pests & moulds.  It is used in extremely low levels and while students do not come into any direct contact with the substance, a faint smell is often detectable.  The Australian Government Department of the Environment & Water Resources has more information on PAH.  WorkSafe Australia Health Guidelines state that short term exposure to naphthalene should not exceed a concentration of 15 parts per million.  The levels used in our display cases are unlikely to exceed 1 part per million and are therefore regarded to be well within safety guidelines.

Several of the dead insect specimens feature sharp spines, fangs or itchy hairs.  These only pose a risk if they are directly touched by a student.  The cases are therefore held a safe distance from students at all times and the presenter outlines specific rules against touching specimens.  If in the event a specimen is touched, due to their brittle nature it is more likely that they will crumble & break than pierce or scratch a child’s skin.

Live Insects:

All of the live insects featured in our workshops are flightless and considered to be harmless.  The workshops usually feature a preying mantis which is held by the presenter only.  Whilst they do possess sharp spines, they will in no way come into contact with students.

The species of stick insects used in the workshops may be one or more of the following: Spiny Leaf Insect (Extatosoma tiaratum); Goliath Stick Insect (Eurycnema goliath), Children’s Stick Insect (Tropidoderus childrenii), Rentz’s Stick Insect (Onchestus rentzi), Titan stick insect (Acrophylla titan), or tessellated stick insect (Anchiale austrotessulata).These species are native to Australia and are completely herbivorous, feeding on a diet of Eucalyptus leaves.  These insects do not possess a stinging apparatus and can therefore not inflict a venomous sting.  The jaws & mouthparts of these insects are so small that they are unable to inflict a bite upon a human being.  They are not toxic in any way, nor do they possess any itchy hairs, secrete any toxic chemicals or carry any documented diseases or bacteria which are harmful to humans.

Other Live Insects:

At certain times of the year it may be necessary (or desirable) for our presenters to bring along other insects for the children to see.  These may include Rhinoceros Beetles, Giant Burrowing Cockroaches, butterfly or beetle larvae and a Native Stingless Bee hive.  Any specimens brought into the classroom are totally harmless and do not possess a stinging apparatus.  If you would like more information on what specific insects will be included in your visit, please contact Michelle Gleeson (michelle@bugsed.com).

Contents of the Activity Bags:

We have avoided using any sharp or harmful objects in our activity bags.  The magnifying glasses & forceps are made of plastic and are suitable for children aged 4 years and up.  A choking hazard would apply if any of the contents were put in a child’s mouth or used in any other inappropriate manner.

COVID-19 social distancing and hygiene measures:

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, we have revised the practices in our workshops to ensure that a.) social distancing is being maintained, b.) safe hygiene and sanitation practices are followed and c.) the health and safety of our presenters, your staff and the children/participants is given top priority.

For this reason we are now offering our workshops as a “contact-free” experience. This means that resources we usually pass around from student to student would be held solely by our presenters and simply shown to students without the opportunity to touch it. This includes our resin block collection, compound-eye glasses and magnified viewing containers as well as all live insects. Please let us know if you would like to proceed with this option.

With all of our workshops (whether you opt for contact-free sessions or not) we are undertaking extra precautions with regards to hand washing, sanitising and cleaning of shared equipment. Our presenters use hand sanitiser before passing live insects around and then re-sanitise directly afterwards. After each session, all resin blocks, eye glasses & specimen containers are also wiped down with disinfectant.

Our presenters wash their hands frequently throughout the day and will not attend your school or centre if they are showing any signs of illness.

Last updated May, 2020.