That was a popular refrain at the 103rd annual UC Davis Picnic Day, held Saturday, April 22.
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology showed thousands of folks the honey at its Briggs Hall exhibit, "Honey Tasting." The line stretched out the door and into the lobby as eager folks--from pre-schoolers to senior citizens--waited for samples and an opportunity to talk to the scientists.
The crowd liked the meadowfoam honey the best, followed by citrus.
It was a team effort. Student scientists left their labs to staff the honey tasting table. Okay, they made a "bee line" there. In between handing out toothpicks coated with honey, they conversed with the public, answering questions about honey, bees, and beekeeping. One participant asked "What's good about honey?" Other questions included "How are the bees?" and "How can I become a beekeeper?"
It wasn't just about the honey. Scores of other insect-related events also took place at Briggs Hall (maggot art, cockroach races, and displays featuring ants, mosquitoes and bees, in addition to forensic, aquatic, and forest entomology.
Chairing the department's Picnic Day Committee was graduate student Brendon Boudinot (Phil Ward lab), an ant specialist seeking his doctorate in entomology.
Now for the good news: two of the department's exhibits were up for special awards--honey tasting at Briggs Hall, and the multiple displays at the Bohart Museum.
The results were announced today. The honey tasting exhibit, coordinated by Extension apiculturist Elina Niño, won the popular vote in its category, "Hungry Fix."
How sweet it is!
Fittingly, the theme of this year's UC Davis Picnic Day was "Growing Together." The annual event, drawing in surrounding communities, is really one gigantic open house, and a time to "come and experience the richness of diversity and achievement" of the university in "the areas of research, teaching service and campus life," organizers said.
Here's who won the special exhibit awards, as announced by exhibits coordinator Helen Xiu:
Best in Show:
- Harry Potter and the "Try"-Physics Tournament
Fun with Crafts:
- DNA and Bioluminescence
Arts and Humanities:
- The Joy of Writing: The University Writing Program Creates Fun with Words!
- Honey Tasting
Secrets of Nature
- Explore the Tree of Life
Congratulations to all! They were all special!
Speaking of special, mark your calendars to learn more about bees, honey and beekeeping:
- The inaugural California Honey Festival, coordinated by Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, will take place Saturday, May 6 in downtown Woodland. It's billed as a fun-filled day of honey, mead, music, beekeeping talks, kids' activities and more. Free and open to the public, it promises to be both fun and educational.
- The third annual UC Davis Bee Symposium: Keeping Bees Healthy is Sunday, May 7. It's sponsored by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. This is a "must" if you're keeping bees or want to do so--or if you just want to learn more about bees. Keynote speaker is noted apiculturist Steve Sheppard of Washington State University, Pullman, Wash. Registration is underway.
- The Western Apicultural Society (WAS), launched at UC Davis 40 years ago, will return to its roots for a conference Sept. 5-8. President of WAS (this is his sixth term) is co-founder Eric Mussen of UC Davis, Extension apiculturist emeritus. The organization is specifically designed to meet the educational needs of beekeepers in the United States but is open to anyone throughout the world. Registration will soon be underway. Check the website for more information.
No, don't contact your local opthamologist. Contact your local entomologist.
This is Bug Country.
What's new--and spotted--at the Bohart Museum of Entomology--is a t-shirt adorned with two 12-spotted lady beetles (aka ladybugs).
Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and a UC Davis professor of entomology, points out that this native American beetle, Coleomegilla maculate, is commonly known as the “pink-spotted beetle” or the “12-spotted beetle.”
"Think pink" because most of these species are pink.
The t-shirt is the newest item in the Bohart Museum's gift shop. It comes in toddler, youth and adult sizes, with all proceeds benefitting the museum's many educational and outreach activities. It was drawn by graduate student Charlotte Herbert and designed by Fran Keller, assistant professor at Folsom Lake College who received her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis.
What about that beetle? Well, it's spot on. On each of the two wing covers (elytron) are six black spots.
Like other lady beetles, it's a predator. It gobbles up aphids, along with mites, scale insect insect eggs and small larvae. You can find it on such aphid-infested crops as wheat, sorgum, sweet corn, alfalfa, soybeans, peas, beans, cotton, potatoes, cole crops, tomatoes, asparagus and apple. “Reported prey include pea, green peach, melon (cotton), cabbage, and potato aphids and greenbug; eggs of European corn borer, imported cabbageworm, fall webworm, and corn earworm; asparagus beetle, Mexican bean beetle, and Colorado potato beetle eggs and larvae,” says BugGuide.net.
The pink-spotted or 12-spotted beetle, however, is quite unusual and not just due to its color and spots. Up to 50 percent of its diet can be plant pollen! Says BugGuide.net: “This is the only North American lady beetle that can complete its life cycle on plant pollen. Common pollen food sources are dandelion, squash, corn, and lily....Because pollen is an essential component of the diet of Coleomegilla, the planting or preservation of refuges, or interplantings, of early-flowering species with a high pollen load may be beneficial especially to provide a food source during late spring before the build up of aphids. Flowering dandelions, for example, have been recorded as a heavily used pollen source for dispersing adults in late spring potato fields.”
Meanwhile, back at the Bohart. Part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, the Bohart Museum is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. It's the home of nearly eight million insect specimens, collected globally; a live “petting zoo” starring such critters as Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and taranatulas; and year-around gift shop stocked with T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, butterfly habitats, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The museum, named for its founder, noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007, emeritus professor at UC Davis, traces its history back to 1946. It's open to the public Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
To accommodate the public, the family friendly (and bug friendly) Bohart Museum holds open houses on specified weekends throughout the year. The next weekend open house (and the last of the 2016-2017 academic year) is Saturday, April 22. Set from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the open house is part of the 103rd annual campuswide UC Davis Picnic Day.
They are, you know, everywhere.
However, when the 103rd annual UC Davis Picnic Day takes place Saturday, April 22, you'll find them primarily at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's exhibits at Briggs Hall and at the Bohart Museum of Entomology,
"Show Me the Honey" and "Show Me the Bugs."
Two of the department's exhibits are in the running for special awards at the campuswide Picnic Day. One is “Honey Tasting” at Briggs Hall, and the other is “Bigger, Better, Buglier: Impressive Science” at the Bohart Museum.
“Honey Tasting" will feature a selection of varietal honeys in a display that's the work of Extension apiculturist Elina Niño and colleagues at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Facility.
"We will have the crowd favorites: coffee blossom, sweet meadowfoam, as well as some classics such as orange blossom and blackberry blossom and the 'love-it-or-hate-it' buckwheat honey," Niño said. "This year we will also be featuring our own 2016 crop of UC Davis honey from the apiculture program." The exhibit is one of six competing for awards in the category, "Hunger Fix.”
Overall, the UC Davis Picnic Day Committee selected 30 special exhibits to compete in five categories: "Best in Show," "Fun with Crafts," "Arts and Humanities," "Hunger Fix" and "Secrets of Nature," said UC Davis Picnic Day exhibits director Helen Xie.
The way it works: Picnic Day attendees vote for their favorite exhibits. Winning exhibits will be featured on social media pages such as Picnic Day website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts after Picnic Day. They will also be featured next year, in preparation for Picnic Day 2018.
The poll will open beginning at 8 a.m. and close at 10 p.m. the same day.. All are welcome to vote at: https://orgsync.com/51524/forms/258052.
Last year the Department of Entomology and Nematology won two special awards. By popular vote, "Little Swimmers and Fly Tyers (Briggs Hall)," won the category, "Hidden Treasures," and "Real Insects and Mimics" (Bohart Museum) won the category "Family Friendly."
This year's Briggs Hall activities will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Bohart Museum of Entomology will swing open its doors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Graduate student Brendon Boudinot is chairing the department's Picnic Day Committee. (See list of activities at Briggs Hall in previous Bug Squad blog.)
Boudinot's special favorite at the UC Davis Picnic Day? Ants. He's studying for his doctorate with ant specialist Phil Ward and is helping with the ant exhibit at Briggs Hall.
It wouldn't be a picnic without ants.
Bugs at the Bohart and Briggs.
That would be the Bohart Museum of Entomology and Briggs Hall. Both buildings will be the site of many insect-related activities planned by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology at the 103rd annual campuswide UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 22.
You can BYOB (Bring Your Own Bug) and have it identified by the Bug Doctor at Briggs Hall or at the Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building.
The doctor is always in! And these insect-science docs like to be "bugged."
Do you like honey bees? Who doesn't? At Briggs Hall, you can see the queen, worker bees and drones in an observation hive. And you can sample honey. Many varietals of honey.
Like to hold insects? You can hold Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks at the Bohart Museum. Bring your camera and be sure to take a selfie!
There's also an insect scavenger hunt at Briggs, said 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.
The campuswide Picnic Day gets underway at 9:30 a.m. with an opening ceremony by the grandstands on North Quad Ave., across from Wickson Hall. The parade starts at 10 a.m. from the same site. Announcement locations are at 2nd and D streets in downtown Davis; F Street in front of PDQ Fingerprinting, and 3rd and C streets in downtown Davis. The UC Davis Entomology Club, advised by forensic entomologist Bob Kimsey, will enter its popular black widow float.
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.
The list of activities at Briggs:
- 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. Also planned: pipevine swallowtails)
- 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
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.
"I do! I do! I do!"
Some of us engage in wedding photography.
Not with humans. With insects.
All you need is a bride, a groom and a…hmm…bedroom. That could be a leafy green bedroom in the rose garden where the lady beetles, aka ladybugs, are. Most of the time they're in the kitchen, eating aphids. Sometimes they're not.
Sometimes the activities underway aren't just...well...."integrated pest management activities." Think two ladybugs on a leaf. Two. One is not a "lady." There's this gender thing.
Life is simple in insect wedding photography.
- There's no preacher saying “Let us prey.” The bride and groom are both predators, and aphids are their prey.
- There are no vows. There's no “til death do us part.” Unless the bride and groom are praying mantids and the groom is about to part with his head.
- Love amid the roses? Well, there is “I larva you.” But insects are interested in only two things: reproduction and an all-you-can-eat buffet.
- There's no wedding party. But there is a congregation of favorite aunts (ants) and soldiers (soldier beetles), and assorted uninvited guests, including lacewings, honey bees, syrphid flies and spiders. Some of the guests are eating one another. Oops! Is it too late to hire a wedding planner?
- There's no need to coordinate what the mother of the bride and groom are wearing. They're wearing spots. And a few minutes ago, they flew off in search of more aphids. Sorry, to leave you, dears, but we're hungry.
- There's no wedding cake. Aphids are the fare when you're a ladybug. Mites and scales are fairly delicious, too.
Here's the kicker: the bride and groom will never, ever--never, ever!--complain about how fat, old, tired or wrinkled they look in the photos. They're as cute as well…bugs…and bugs are pretty darn cute.
If you want to pursue insect photography or insect wedding photography, you'll need a macro lens, patience, and the ability to blend into the scene.
Just don't bug the love bugs.