Tom Turpin
Professor of
Purdue University







Buy Buggy Gifts For Christmas

Having trouble coming up with a holiday gift for that special someone? How about something a little on the wild side? Something with bugs?

Wait! Before you run for the nearest spray can, we're not talking about the real things. We're talking about items with an insect motif. Insect renderings have long been used for decoration.

Napoleon selected the royal bee as his personal symbol. And now you too can decorate your home with recreations of bee things found in Napoleon's throne room at the Palace of Fontainebleau. There's a wallpaper border with bees flitting from flower to hive — just the thing to finish a room with Royal Bee or Napoleonic Striped Bee wallpaper. Need fabric to upholster the sofa in the bee theme? It's available in silk or Lampas Abeilles fabric, both with golden bees on a red background. How about some gold-edged ribbon with bees for that finishing touch to the bee room?

Need something in wearing apparel? A tie perhaps. No problem! Ties are available in a variety of colors adorned with butterflies, beetles, bees and who knows what else in the insect world. You can even find ties with M.C. Escher's repeating moth design for the fine arts enthusiast on your shopping list.

Of course, anyone can use another T-shirt. They come in all types of insect designs. Most popular are those that use butterflies to make a statement about the fragility of nature. Other insect T-shirts carry a less serious message. One shows all kinds of insect parts — legs, wings, heads — with the inscription "Radiator Insects."

Even boxer shorts are adorned with insects. In the back-to-nature theme "butterfly boxers" show a variety of fragile lepidopterans depicted in brown and grey earth tones. For the bolder of the boxer crowd, black ants parading on red and white checkered tablecloth material are just the thing. These picnic ants pale in comparison to the luminous ones that glow in the dark on the glow-ant boxers!

After that long, hard day at work there is nothing quite like a soothing soak in the tub, especially if you can scrub down with a butterfly bath sponge. Of course for pure relaxation, the battery-operated ladybug massager is hard to pass up. After all, it has 41 massaging feet for enhanced invigoration. Just the thing for those "healthy vibrations."

For the youngsters on your holiday list are the ever-popular insect hand puppets, which are also good for the old fogies who like to entertain the grandkids. There are also insect puzzles, insect kites, and a yo-yo called the butterfly.

Don't forget your canine pet this holiday season. If a flea collar seems a bit practical, never fear there's a squeeky ladybug for your pooch.


Writer: Tom Turpin
Editor: Andrea McCann