Mixing it up with creepy-crawlies

Times Staff Writer

It’s not every TV show that can fascinate, horrify and disgust you several times over within an hour’s time, but the National Geographic-produced “Bug Attack” manages the trick quite handily tonight at 8 on Fox.

Hosting the show with eccentric verve is Phil DeVries, a motorbike-riding entomologist who doesn’t mind mixing it up with the creepy-crawlies. When he’s not allowing himself to be stung by a scorpion to gauge its rating on the trusty old Schmidt Pain Index, he’s introducing segments that include a toddler’s encounter with a black widow spider and a filmed re-creation of a woman being stung to death by a swarm of killer bees.

Had enough fun? Then let’s travel to the Amazon, where DeVries and a colleague wade into waters that are home to leeches that can grow to 18 inches.

It isn’t long before DeVries finds one, or perhaps more to the point, one finds him.


With the kind of squirmingly effective photography we’ve come to expect of National Geographic, the leech sends three probes into the scientist’s leg, sucking out blood as it pumps in natural anticoagulants, yet his disarmingly flip narration scarcely misses a beat.

But soon other adventures await. Cockroaches, anyone?

This surprisingly entertaining hour fairly flies by, and may even leave you itching for more.