- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The event, "Exploring the Wonders of Insects," sponsored by the UC Davis Arboretum, is free and open to the public. Participants--all ages are invited--will gather at the UC Davis Arboretum Gazebo. Participants are encouraged to bring insect nets, if they have them. A limited number of nets will be available Sunday.
The tour is ADA accessible. Biking is encouraged, but parking is free on weekends in Visitor Parking Lot 55.
In their display, Hernandez and Cruz said they will be showing the "amazing diversity of insects from California, southern Arizona and more." They include Arizona moths and butterflies, beetles from Arizona, California moths and butterflies, and insects from Belize.
"Joel and I have one live female Dynastes beetle and a male and female Ox beetle that we brought back from Arizona that we're hoping to show the public that day as well," Cruz said.
Last year nearly 90 butterfly enthusiasts--from senior citizens to pre-schoolers--gathered for the Hernandez' tour, "Butterflies Up Close" at the UC Davis Arboretum. Butterflies sighted included monarch, gray hairstreak, Acmon blue, fiery skipper, dusky wing skipper, cabbage white, West Coast lady, gulf fritillary, pygmy blue, Western tiger swallowtail and buckeye.
Melissa Cruz, who works at the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden as the outreach and leadership program coordinator. received her bachelor of science degree in entomology from UC Davis in 2013 and her masters in educational leadership from Sacramento State University in 2017. As an undergraduate, Cruz worked with ecologist William Wetzel in researching the density distribution of a gall forming tephritid fly (Eutreta diana) on its host plant, mountain big sage (Artemisia tridentata subsp. vaseyana) and with entomologist Katharina Ullmann, now director of the UC Davis Student Farm Center, in monitoring native squash bees throughout Yolo County.
Cruz discovered a love for insects after her high school teacher gifted her with a pair of Madagascar-hissing cockroaches. She enjoys creating family programs at the Arboretum that focus on the diversity of insects. "I've also developed a love for scarabid beetles," she says.