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Introducing Bug Girl, The Hero Who Will Squash Your Fears

Penn State certainly has a batch of unique and loveable characters, each very different from the next. You know Mary Krupa, aka Squirrel Girl, and Brian “Boombox Guy” Cronauer. What made these students so interesting was their reputation for doing things we hadn’t seen before.

Well, move over, Squirrel Girl and Boombox Guy, because this is definitely something we haven’t seen before.

For all of you ladies (or dudes) who have been anxiously waiting for the day that a knight-in-shining-hazmat-suit arrives with a net and a can of Raid to kill the minuscule insect crawling up your wall, wait no more. Your savior is here.

Lindsay Erndwein is the self-proclaimed “Bug Girl” of McKee Hall, and oh, how right she is.

Erndwein first caught our attention when one of our writers noticed a flier in their dorm advertising an “insect hotline” and a “Bug Girl” who will remove any and all insects “absolutely free of charge.” We thought this was a little…interesting…so we called her up.

As we trekked through Wednesday’s storm to meet her in West Halls, we didn’t know what to expect. As my family’s resident cat-lover, I’m more into cute and cuddly than creepy and crawly. Nonetheless, I was excited to see what was in store.

Turns out, Erndwein’s extremely passionate about insects, and is also pretty adorable. As she donned her antenna headband, she uttered a phrase you’d fully expect from someone who collects bugs for fun: “I feel the butterflies.”

Erndwein says that she’s been interested in bugs since she was three years old, back when she was just “Girl.” When she goes on long, romantic nature walks with her boyfriend, she often roots through the plants looking for critters instead of actually, you know, walking. But, to each his (or her) own.

Erndwein is majoring in Materials Science and Engineering in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, with a minor in (wait for it) entomology. Luckily for her, her love of bugs also serves a higher purpose and satisfies her academic requirements. She also landed an internship with her entomology professor last summer, working away her days in an attempt to figure out if a spotted lanternfly would affect the grape industry. Not exciting for a majority of us, but for Bug Girl, it was an awesome experience and a dream come true.

Not only does Bug Girl appreciate live insects, but she appreciates the dead ones, too. Erndwein keeps not one, not two, but THREE collections of mounted insects atop the desk in her dorm room. The live bugs that she catches in her hall are preserved in ethyl acetate, provided to her by a professor, and then mounted on pins in her collection. Not only that, but she also has bug decorations, including the aforementioned antenna headband and plastic bugs hanging from her cork board. Even the name tag on her door is in the shape of a ladybug. It’s like her RA knew she was coming.

Despite her efforts, Erndwein hasn’t had an overwhelming response to the ads that she’s posted throughout McKee Hall. Before our meeting, I asked Erndwein if there was a “peak time” for bug activity, because I know little to nothing about bugs or how they like to carry out their days.

“There isn’t necessarily a peak time, considering I have only made a few house calls thus far,” she said. At this point, I was so excited by the fact that she called her bug removal sessions “house calls” that I immediately set up the interview. Not surprisingly, Erndwein has found her clients to be girls. She says that she is eagerly awaiting her first male client, solely so she can rub in his face the fact that he had to call a girl to get rid of a bug.

Although Erndwein has few clients so far, she is known as a goddess among the McKee halls circles. Bug Girl is somewhat of a superhero to her peers, and who DOESN’T see insect removal as the ultimate act of heroism? Don’t get the name twisted though — she is often called “Insect Woman” by her fellow residents. While Erndwein believes that Insect Woman sounds slightly more distinguished, she prefers Bug Girl because it gives her a more a rustic appeal while still maintaining her super-image (at this point, Erndwein looked around her dorm and said, “I wish I had a cape.”).

In an attempt to gather intellect and expand her horizons, one girl sits on the end of the McKee Hall Insect hotline, waiting for your pleas for help. For those of you not currently living in McKee, you better hope that Bug Girl will go campus-wide one day soon.

However, one thing is certain: when there’s something strange in your dorm room, who you gonna call?

Bug Girl.

She ain’t ‘fraid a no bugs.

About the Author

Gabriela Stevenson

Gabriela is a junior majoring in print and digital journalism and Onward State's student life editor. She is from Norristown, PA, which she normally refers to as "30 minutes outside of Philadelphia" (she looked up the exact driving time). She enjoys Broadway musicals, neck pillows, and eating cereal at night. To contact Gabriela, e-mail her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @GabiStevenson if you want to feel young again.

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