- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Native bees? Check.
In fact, the Bohart houses more than seven million insect specimens, plus a live “petting zoo,” that includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches, tarantulas, scorpions, a millipede, and six different kinds of walking sticks, including Vietnamese walking sticks and one that the Bohart staff has nicknamed “Avatar.”
Of Avatar, “It’s long, skinny and blue,” said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
To accommodate folks who can’t visit the Bohart during the week, the museum will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 14 and again from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11. The museum is located at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive.
A special focus on Sunday, Nov. 14 will be on Orthoptera, an order of insects that includes grasshoppers, crickets and katydids. The Diptera order (flies) will be showcased in December.
One of the most inquisitive and knowledgeable young visitors this year was Tobin “Toby” Jacobs Thornton (top right and below) of Nevada City. He was 4 1/2 when he visited the Bohart with his grandfather Paul Jacobs of Davis.The youngster knew a lot about many of the insects, including their morphology, eating preferences, behavior and habitat, said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart. He held the Madagascar hissing cockroaches, marveled at the spiders, and allowed a green walking stick to walk up his leg and on to his chest.
Jacobs said his parents have long encouraged his interest in insects “and he has access to their books of Sierra insects and spiders and loves just looking at them, and he's devoted to the non-fiction section of his local libraries in Nevada County.”
The R. M. Bohart Museum of Entomology founded in 1946 by noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart, is dedicated to teaching, research and service. It houses the seventh largest insect collection in North America and is worldwide in coverage. The museum is also home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity of California’s deserts, mountains, coast and great central valley.
It also includes a gift shop, where visitors can purchase t-shirts, sweatshirts, jewelry, note cards, books, posters, insect candy and other gifts. The insect candy includes chocolate-covered ants and crickets. A favorite is a scorpion encased in a lollipop.
The museum’s regular hours are from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. It is closed on Fridays and on major holidays.