Clean-shaven it's not. Yet it's a cut above.
For bees, syrphids and butterflies, the long-blooming Jupiter's Beard make the cut.
Centranthus ruber, also known as Jupiter's Beard, Red Valerian, Kiss-Me-Quick, and Keys to Heaven, is a popular drought-tolerant plant that attracts insects like a picnic draws people.
A native of the Mediterranean region, Jupiter's Beard grows wild in California and in several other states, including Arizona, Hawaii, Oregon and Utah.
Cozy up to a Jupiter's Beard, and you're likely to see foraging honey bees, native bees, syrphid flies and butterflies. (And assorted other critters like leafhoppers, lady beetles and spiders.)
The plant was one of the first residents of the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. The garden, installed in the fall of 2009 and operated by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will be the site of a spring open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 9. The event, free and open to the public, will feature a noon tour, and other activities, including how to catch, observe and release bees; how to identify bees; and what to plant to attract bees and other pollinators. A bee observation hive is also planned where visitors can see the queen bee, workers and drones.
Then don't forget the campuswide UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 16. What's a picnic without bugs?
In addition to the scores of the other fun and educational activities on campus, remember the two B's: Briggs and Bohart. You can enjoy entomological events at Briggs Hall, located on Kleiber Hall Drive, and the Bohart Museum of Entomology, located on Crocker Lane.
Among the activities at Briggs: cockroach races, pollinator pavilion, a honey tasting, fly-tying, facepainting, Bug Doctor (The Doctor Is In!), maggot art, medical entomology exhibits, and displays of ants, mosquitoes, aquatic insects and forest insects. The UC Integrated Pest Management Program will give away lady beetles (aka ladybugs) to kids, and hand out information about pests and beneficial insects.
At the Bohart Museum, home of nearly eight million insect specimens, you can get up close and personal with the live "petting zoo," including the Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and a rose-haired tarantula named "Peaches." In keeping with the UC Davis Picnic Day's overall theme, "Cultivating Our Authenticity," the Bohart theme is "Real Insects and Their Mimics." Think bees. Think flies. Think about how to tell the difference. Syrphids, especially drone flies, are commonly mistaken for honey bees. Not all floral visitors are bees...
David Verity of Los Angeles has just gifted the Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California, Davis, with his personal collection of buprestid jewel beetles.
He is the former collection manager at the UCLA herbarium.
The jewel beetles, widely acclaimed for their iridescent colors, belong to the family Buprestidae. "The family is among the largest of the beetles, with some 15,000 species known in 450 genera," according to Wikipedia.
"We have half of David's collection and will be getting the rest in a couple of weeks," said a grateful Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis.
The Bohart Museum, which houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens, will be growing rapidly with this addition. "I don't have a count yet of how many specimens but it's a lot," she said.
Kimsey, highly esteemed for her public service, teaching and research, was just named the recipient of the 2016 UC Davis Academic Senate's Distinguished Public Service Award for her outstanding contributions to public service and education.
Kimsey consults with international, national and state agencies; identifies thousands of insects every year for scientific collaborators, public agencies and the general public; answers scores of news media calls and insect questions; and encourages a greater appreciation of insects through the Bohart Museum open houses, workshops and lectures.
It's a service much valued and widely appreciated--but the future is of great concern now with National Science Foundation's recently announced funding cut.
Nature spotlighted the issue in its March 21st edition: "Biological Specimen Troves Threatened by Funding Pause." The subhead: "Decision by U.S. National Science Foundation could hamper research on conservation biology, climate change and invasive species."
"The NSF is one of the only public providers of funds to maintain specimen collections," wrote Anna Nowogrodszki. "It awards between US $3 million and $5 million a year in grants for such collections, equivalent to roughly 0.06% of the agency's $7.5-billion budget for fiscal year 2016."
Meanwhile, mark your calendar for Saturday, April 16. That's the date of the 102nd annual campuswide UC Davis Picnic Day. The theme: "Cultivating Our Authenticity." In keeping with the theme, the Bohart Museum will be focusing on "Real Insects and Their Mimics." Visitors will learn to tell the difference between flies and bees; handle live insects, such as Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and a rose-haired tarantula named Peaches; and chat with scientists./span>
Lately she's been heavily involved in ongoing studies with the endemic insect species of the Algodones Dunes in southern California and with the International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups in Indonesia. Scientists and students from throughout the world clamor to work with her.
Now she's the recipient of the UC Davis Academic Senate's Distinguished Public Service Award.
That would be Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"The Bohart Museum is SO friendly and SO helpful and SO knowledgeable" is a comment heard all the time.
The nearly eight million insect specimens housed in the Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, are, in many respects, her babies. That's how well she and her staff treasure them, care for them, and engage people in the fascinating world of insects. Her "clientele" range from scientists to citizen scientists, from families to individuals, and from pre-schoolers to senior citizens.
“Dr. Kimsey has made outstanding contributions to public service and education through the numerous programs she has envisioned and directed through the Bohart Museum of Entomology,” said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “She is very deserving of this prestigious award.”
She will be honored at a combined Academic Senate/Academic Federation awards ceremony during the spring quarter.
Highly esteemed for her public service, teaching and research, Kimsey consults with international, national and state agencies; identifies thousands of insects every year for scientific collaborators, public agencies and the general public; answers scores of news media calls and insect questions; and encourages a greater appreciation of insects through the Bohart Museum open houses, workshops and lectures.
Her areas of expertise include insect biodiversity, systematics and biogeography of parasitic wasps, urban entomology and arthropod-related industrial hygiene.
Kimsey, who received both her undergraduate degree (1975) and her doctorate (1979) from UC Davis, joined the entomology faculty in 1989. The director of the Bohart Museum and executive director of the Bohart Museum Society since 1990, she has also served as interim chair and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, now the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
A two-year past president of the International Society of Hymenopterists, and a former board member of the Natural Science Collections Alliance, Kimsey is active in the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and the Washington Entomological Society. The Pacific Branch of ESA (PBESA) honored her and colleagues Eric Mussen, Robbin Thorp, Neal Williams and Brian Johnson—“the UC Davis Bee Team”--with the outstanding team award in 2013. Kimsey also received the PBESA Systematics, Evolution and Biodiversity Award in 2014.
Nominators spotlighted some of her major accomplishments and activities:
Bohart Museum of Entomology: Kimsey turned a tiny museum, a hole in the wall, into a thriving world- renowned museum through her highly successful leadership, knowledge and dedicated efforts to make the museum the place to be—not only for scientific collaborators but for the public. The museum holds open houses on many weekends during the academic year. It has a gift shop and a live “petting zoo” filled with Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and a rose-haired tarantula named “Peaches,” a crowd favorite. Kimsey has written spring, summer, fall and winter newsletters since 1994 and a total of 56 insect/arthropod educational fact sheets, with topics ranging from bed bugs, cockroaches and black-widow spiders to ticks, fleas, scorpions and kissing bugs. “The museum is an incredible wealth of information. Kimsey, unselfish with her time, shares her expertise at workshops and seminars, including the California Center for Urban Horticulture,” her nominators said.
Got an Insect Question? For two decades, the department has asked on its website “Got an Insect Question? Ask It Here!” Kimsey is the key person who answers them. She is widely considered as the most accomplished faculty member in understanding the general knowledge of insects, according to Entomological Society of America fellow Robert Washino, emeritus professor and former chair of the department. Kimsey is not only the go-to entomologist to answer questions about insects on the UC Davis campus and beyond, but is a primary go-to person for the news media. The Los Angeles Times, New York Times, BBC, and Associated Press, among others, seek her out. “Her interviews are always informative, educational and animated,” her nominators said.
Teaching: Kimsey is described as “enthusiastic about teaching and highly responsive to students' questions and needs.” She is one of the innovators of One-Minute Entomology, at which students researched and developed one-minute videos on an important insect or arthropod. Her students say she makes entomology both fun and educational and that her sense of humor is contagious.
NASA SPLAT—She was the only entomologist selected for the NASA SPLAT/Boeing team to research how to decrease bug splats on aircraft and thus increase fuel efficiency in commercial jets. NASA engineers developed four different surface treatments designed to repel bugs and Boeing developed wing modifications to test an aircraft at Shreveport, La. A Boeing EcoDemonstrator 575 took flight, reaching an altitude of 5000 feet to maximize bug splats. The panels generated 100 and 500 splats each. Kimsey identified all the insects and found that a relatively small number of species caused the bulk of the splats. They included flower flies, aphids, thrips, muscid flies, midges, mosquitoes and love bugs. “Her work is a great public service to NASA, the airline industry and worldwide passengers who depend on air travel,” her nominators said.
FBI Assist: In a highly publicized, first-of-its-kind criminal case, Kimsey identified the bugs on the radiator and air filter of a new rental car involved in a major murder case. The murder suspect was found guilty of driving the car from Ohio to California, killing his family, and driving back to Ohio. His defense included that he had not driven out of Ohio during that time frame. Kimsey's knowledge and identification of insects proved that some of the bugs on the car are found only in California and/or west of the Rockies. Kimsey testified at the trial in a case that made entomological history: this was the first time someone has used insect identification to prove where a car has or has not been
Bee Garden: As interim chair of the department, Kimsey coordinated the development and installation of the bee garden on Bee Biology Road that was named one of the top 10 garden destinations by the Sacramento Bee. Through her connections, she also obtained the services of a Boy Scout troop to install a fence around the half- acre garden. As a result, the garden (primarily funded by Häagen-Dazs), became a showpiece for the department and is a key educational effort illustrating the importance of honey bees and other pollinators.
Lynn and her husband Robert "Bob" Kimsey, a forensic entomologist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, have two adult children. Neither is an entomologist--one is into computers, the other into firefighting and fire science.
You can bet, though, they were thoroughly exposed to all things insects. And still are.
Mosquitoes have their place.
Fossil records confirm that mosquitoes existed at least 200 million years ago. Today we know that they are responsible for such diseases as malaria, yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, West Nile and Zika. Globally, millions die of mosquito-borne diseases annually.
On the good side--if you can call it the good side--mosquitoes are part of the food chain for some critters. Fish and reptiles, for example, eat mosquito larvae. Birds, bats, dragonflies, damselflies, spiders and other critters eat adult mosquitoes. Female mosquitoes, including the malaria mosquito (Anopheles gambiae) and the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) feed on us.
Mosquitoes have their place.
They also have their place in the Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. In the Bohart gift shop, you can buy insect-themed t-shirts, posters, books and candy. You can buy insect nets, jewelry and stuffed toy animals. Stuffed toy animals? Think educational toys: lice, tardigrades and mosquitoes.
The text with the Culex mosquito is informative: "There are about 3000 species of mosquito, but Culex pipiens is the most common. It is found almost all over the world, except in Antarctica. Spanish for 'little fly,' mosquitoes beat their wings between 300 and 600 times per second. The unnerving sound they create differs from species to species,and listening for the right note helps males and female mosquitoes coordinate their social lives to find suitable mates."
The educational text goes on to say that "wearing long pants and shirts, particularly at dawn and dusk, can help avoid bites in the first place. Mosquitoes are extremely attracted to the carbon dioxide you exhale, and they can detect it up to 75 feet away--so you can also try holding your breath!"
Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis, says the stuffed animal mosquitoes were made by a company in Delaware: Giantmicrobes Inc.
We can see children (future entomologists?) collecting a Culex and placing it next to their teddy bear. Or a teacher using it in her classroom. Or a medical entomologist or entomology student gifted with one.
The Bohart Museum houses nearly eight million insect specimens (including mosquitoes) but a little known fact is that the gift shop is home to some skeeters, too.
Shades of Shirley Temple, maybe?
A curly haired tarantula at the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis could have been named for...drum roll..Shirley Temple.
The curly haired tarantula, or Brachypelma albopilosum, proved a big hit at the Bohart Museum on Saturday, Feb. 13 during the campuswide UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day. Graduate student Ziad Khouri, who is studying for his doctorate with Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis, intrigued visitors with the spider.
It's native to Costa Rica and Honduras. And like other members of Brachypelma, it's a CITES listed species. That means it's on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and under international restrictions for quotas and trade permits.
Khouri noted that in the past, it was overharvested for the pet trade, although the current availability of captive bred specimens has decreased pressure on wild populations. Nevertheless, habitat loss and destruction continue to threaten he curly hair tarantula and many other species.
Tarantulas were in the news this week when scientists revealed that they named a newly discovered tarantula found on the Folsom Prison grounds after singer/songwriter Johnny Cash, the legendary "Man in Black." Its scientific name? "Aphonopelma johnnycashi."
The announcement was part of a newly released study by biologists Chris Hamilton and Jason Bond of Auburn University and Brent Hendrixson of Millsaps College involving nearly 3,000 tarantulas from across the American Southwest. Fellow scientists describe their 340-page study as "unequivocally the most important work on tarantulas ever done."
That brings to mind the Johnny Cash song, "Folsom Prison Blues" in which he lamented "I ain't seen the sunshine since I don't know when."
Wonder if "The Man in Black" ever saw "The Critter in Black," now his namesake Aphonopelma johnnycashi.