Antlion Pit Competition

We are excited to welcome back the Antlion Pit Competition to Entomology 2023 in the Nation’s Capitol. Antlion Pit is designed to empower ESA members to develop and present their innovative ideas for entomology-related products and services. The competition encourages the development of the entrepreneurial spirit through idea leadership, innovation, teamwork, and mentorship. The venture idea may focus on a technology, product, process, service, or social venture.


Competition Information

To provide a competitive competition, ESA is requiring a minimum of 3 teams to compete on-site at the Annual Meeting. In the case that the minimum of 3 teams is not met, the competition will not move forward for 2023.

The Antlion Pit Competition will take place in-person during the ESA Annual Meeting in National Harbor, in two stages. Teams will be expected to be present at both events. 

Monday, November 6, 9 - 11:30 AM
Stage I – Antlion Pit Competition Demonstration Day – Teams will participate in a two-hour informal interactive “exhibit hall” style event where they will present their ideas and prototypes to judges and interested meeting registrants. Each team will be given access to a table, floor space, and electricity in the Exhibit Hall for the demonstrations. At least one ESA member on the team must be present during the Antlion Pit Competition Demonstration Day.

Monday, November 6, 12:30 - 2:30 PM
Stage II – Antlion Pit Competition Presentation Pitch – Teams will be given five minutes to present their pitch, followed by eight minutes of questions from judges and the audience. A maximum of two individuals may be on stage to present, one of whom must be an ESA member. Each team should plan to attend the entire event. Teams will be able to upload their presentations in the Presentation Preview Room and are encouraged to bring prototypes, final designs, and/or presentation props as needed.

Cash Prizes and Awards

There will be one first place prize of $5,000. The winning presentation will also have the opportunity to write a blog post on Entomology Today about their innovation and/or product. 

Entry Rules

Previous winners of Antlion Pit are eligible to participate; however, they must submit a different venture idea or show significant differentiation of their past submission. Past participants can submit new ventures or resubmit their previous ventures; however, it is recommended that they seek to polish and improve their previous materials and pitch to have the best chance of success.

Deadline and Deliverables

The deadline to submit is Monday, August 21, 2023. All deliverables are due on the same date to be considered for the finals during the Annual Meeting. In the event there are more than 6 submissions, the judges will complete a first-round determination based on the deliverables and will select up to 6 teams to move to the finals. Teams will be notified no later than September 5 to confirm that they will be presenting during the finals. Below is the list of deliverables that are due.

  1. Name of the Team
  2. Name of all the Team Members and ESA Membership Status
  3. Description of idea or product
  4. Acknowledgment that each listed team member will be required to complete a signed Antlion Pit Competition Participant Acknowledgment and Agreement Form.  The signed copy is not required at the time of submission.
  5. Written venture summary.
  6. A PowerPoint of up to 10 slides, or a video that is no more than 5 minutes in length, that provides an overview of the problem, solution, prototype, and testing. Include as many of the following components as possible (see webinar links below for more information):
    • Problem statement, including results from need finding and benchmarking and a user persona. 
    • The conceptual design of the proposed solution, and possibly ideas that were considered during the ideation phase of the design process. 
    • Description of the prototype and results of critical function experiments.
    • Feedback about the prototype from users.
    • Proposal on how the money would be spent if awarded.  

For any questions regarding the Antlion Pit Competition, please contact Dr. Bob Peterson or Dr. Patti Prasifka.

Team Resources

2023 Results

First Place: Insect Eavesdropper, Emily Bick, Ph.D., BCE-Intern, and Dev Mehrotra

2019 Results

First Place: LeafByte, Zoe Getman-Pickering - View the presentation
Second Place: Matson Trap, Tanner Matson - View the presentation
Audience Favorite: Matson Trap, Tanner Matson - View the presentation

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