- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The UC Davis-based Bohart Museum of Entomology, home of nearly eight million insect specimens, is a good place to start.
Last Sunday two little 18-month-old girls intently watched an observation bee hive, much as their older counterparts would gaze at a computer screen.
The hive, an educational tool, was from the nearby Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
The toddlers quickly spotted the queen bee, the one with a red dot on her thorax. They watched the worker bees tend to her every need. They watched the nurse bees feed the brood, and undertaker bees carry off their dead.
With ears pressed closely to the hive, they listened to "The Buzz."
Tilly Matern of Woodland and Vivienne Statham of Davis knew what was making the buzz.
"Bees," said Tilly. Then she looked at a painted bug on the floor and identified another insect. "Ant," she said.
The occasion: the Bohart Museum's open house, themed "Insect Societies."
It doesn't appear that they will develop entomophobia (fear of insects) or apiphobia (fear of bees) or myrmecophobia (fear of ants) any time soon.
Start 'em while they're young and who knows--maybe they'll become entomologists!
Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, serves as the director of the Bohart Museum, located at 1124 Academic Surge on Crocker Lane (formerly California Drive. The insect museum includes a live "petting zoo," complete with Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and a rose-haired tarantula. There's also a gift shop filled with t-shirts, sweat shirts, posters, jewelry, insect nets and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum has scheduled its next weekend open house (free and open to the public) for Saturday, Dec. 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. The theme: "Insects in Art." Check the schedule for the remaining open houses for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Although special weekend open houses are held once a month, visitors can tour the museum from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. It is closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays.