- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
How can you tell?
When the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology participates in the 103rd annual UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 22, visitors to Briggs Hall and the Bohart Museum of Entomology will learn all about insects.
One of the displays asks: "Is it an insect?" Key points:
- Insects have six legs (the legs may be modified for jumping, climbing or event catching prey
- Most adult insects have two pairs of wings (insects don't grow wings until the adult stage, but not all adult insects have wings)
- Insects have an exoskeleton (this is a feature shared by all animals in the phylum Arthropoda, not just insects)
- Insects have compound eye (compound eyes are made up of many facets and are good at detecting movement)
- Insects have three body parts (the head has the eyes, mouth and antennae; the thorax has the wings and legs; and the abdomen has the reproductive organs)
What's new this year in the department's line-up will be an insect scavenger hunt, replacing the Pollinator Pavilion, said graduate student Brendon Boudinot, chair of the department's Picnic Day Committee.
"Visitors will search for and identify insects in display boxes and be rewarded with stickers," said Boudinot, who studies with major professor and ant specialist Phil Ward.
The Briggs Hall activities will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but the cockroach races will close at 2 p.m.
- Honey Tasting (You can sample varietals of honey)
- Bug Doctor (The doctor is in!)
- Cockroach Races (Pick a winner)
- Scavenger Hunt (Do you know your insects?)
- Dr. Death (Forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey will answer your questions)
- Insect Face Painting (Get a bee, lady beetle or another insect painted on your face)
- Little Swimmers and Fly Tying (Watch and identify aquatic insects, a project from the Sharon Lawler lab, and learn "how to tie a fly" from the Fly Fishers of Davis
- Maggot Art (Dip a maggot into a water-based, non-toxic paint and create a painting suitable for framing)
- UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management (UC IPM) (See their many publications and ask questions; youngsters can receive a vial of free lady beetles, aka ladybugs)
- T-shirt sales by the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Students' Association (popular t-shirts include beetles and honey bees)
- Social insects, insect forestry, medical entomology, and more (See a honey bee observation hive from the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility and ants from the Phil Ward lab; and also learn about forest insects and mosquitoes. The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District will staff a booth)
The Bohart Museum of Entomology in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building will swing open its doors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The theme: "Bigger, Better and Buglier: Impressive Science at the Bohart." This will be an opportunity to see some of the nearly eight million specimens, visit the live petting zoo (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and taranatulas) and ask questions of the scientists. The nematology collection will be on display in the Sciences Laboratory Building, across from Briggs.
Theme of this year's Picnic Day is "Growing Together." The schedule can be downloaded from the campus website.