She solves crimes…with bugs

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Do you have questions about what it’s like to be a forensic entomologist or how bugs can be used to solve crimes? Ask Val Cervenka, and keep your eyes on Science Buzz for the answer!

“Even though they are often overlooked as bothersome or gross, maggots and other insects are real evidence at a crime scene and can tell investigators lots about when someone died. What’s gross about that?””

Photo Courtesy of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Val Cervenka is the upper Midwest’s only certified forensic entomologist. That means she uses bugs to help solve crimes. Not long after something dies, insects and other creepy crawlies move in. Some scavenge the dead meat, some want to lay eggs, and some are there to hunt other bugs. To the right eyes this mess of bugs can tell a lot about when and where a person died.