Bugs. They are everywhere, especially in summer. Regarded as an annoyance by most humans and scary by some, their lives often culminate in an unceremonious finale: splattered on a windshield, squished under a boot, poisoned by insecticides, whacked with a rolled-up newspaper, or eaten.

It’s not an easy life. And while some bugs, such as bloodthirsty mosquitoes and ruinous termites, arguably deserve such fates, even good bugs get little respect.

That’s probably because bugs are so small and we know so little about them. But in their own buggy world, they build structures, compete for resources, and form complex societies. And, when viewed close up, their faces show as much character as, well, some people.

Bloomington photographer Darryl Smith turned his lens on the local bug population to give us a closer look. And Armin Moczek, Ph.D., of Indiana University’s department of biology and an expert on insect evolution, offered his insights into what makes bugs tick.

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