All that glitters may be beetles--jewel beetles.
You'll want to attend the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house on Saturday, Nov. 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. to bask in the theme, "Beauty and the Beetles."
The museum, located on the UC Davis campus in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, houses nearly eight million insect specimens, plus a live "petting zoo" and a gift shop. The open house is free and open to the public. The museum is people friendly, family friendly and bug friendly.
And the beetles?
"Beetles are awe inspiring because they are so different,” said Fran Keller, who is completing her requirements this year for a doctorate in entomology. She studies with major professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
“As a human, I and the 7 billion people on the planet are only one species, Homo sapiens," Keller said. "But the insect Order Coleoptera, or beetles, has more than 360,000 species. Beetles have the greatest diversity of all the insects. Butterflies are big and showy, but beetles can be. too. On a ladybug, which is really a beetle and not a bug, those red and black spotted front wings are called elytra. Beetle elytra are not used for flying so beetles actually fly with one pair of wings. But those elytra help protect them because they can be very tough and sometimes incredibly flashy to warn off predators.”
Keller said that “If you can think of an ecological niche there is probably a beetle there taking advantage of the resources. Believe it or not, there is a beetle that is a parasite and lives in the butt of a beaver. Beetles are truly amazing and although I am partial to the flightless, black tenebrionids, I do collect and appreciate the beauty of all beetles. Okay, maybe I don't collect the beaver butt parasite beetle but wow, who would have thought beetles would be there!”
Keller, who noted that Darwin was an avid beetle collector and enthusiast, acknowledged that she has many "favorite groups of beetles," but "one of my favorites has to be the jewel beetles. Most of them are pests but they are very stunning, hence the name jewel beetle. There are so many different types of beetles that we know of or that have been described but there are still so many that await discovery."
So, all you beetle fans and would-be beetle fans, head over to the Bohart Museum on Saturday afternoon. There will be arts and crafts for the youngsters (and adults, too, if they wish!) Find out more here.
You've heard of "The Beauty and the Beast?" A fairy tale?
How about "The Beauty and the Beetles?" No fairy tale.
That's the theme of the open house on Saturday, Nov. 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building on the UC Davis campus, Crocker Lane.
The family friendly event, free and open to the public, should draw a good crowd.
"Beetles," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator at the Bohart," are incredibly diverse from the dung beetles to the shiny wood-boring beetles to the mighty rhinoceros beetles. They are also spectacularly beautiful. Besides specimens from around the world, we also be displaying (not selling!) jewelry made from the wings of beetles- this was common practice in South America's indigenous populations."
In addition to displays of beetles, "we will have a fun hands-on craft, something involving sequins and another craft involving 'dung balls,' " Yang said.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis and housing nearly eight million specimens, is the seventh largest insect collection in North America. It is also the home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum in 1946.
Special attractions at the Bohart include a live "petting zoo," with critters such as Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, tarantulas and praying mantids. Visitors can also shop at the year-around gift shop for t-shirts, jewelry, insect nets, posters and books, including the newly published children’s book, “The Story of the Dogface Butterfly,” written by UC Davis doctoral candidate Fran Keller and illustrated (watercolor and ink) by Laine Bauer, a 2012 graduate of UC Davis. The 35-page book, geared toward kindergarteners through sixth graders, also includes photos by naturalist Greg Kareofelas of Davis, a volunteer at the Bohart.
Bohart officials schedule weekend open houses throughout the academic year. Regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The insect museum is closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free. More information is available from Tabatha Yang at email@example.com.
The society's annual Halloween party in the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis, showcased a combination of insects and costumes.
A skull shared the habitat of the giant cave cockroach (Blaberus gigante), native to tropical Central America and northern South America. This cockroach is considered one of the largest cockroaches in the world, according to Wikipedia, with the male reaching lengths of 7.5 cm and the female, 10 cm. Its diet consists of everything from decaying plant material, fruits and seeds to dead insects and bat guano.
The partygoers? Senior museum scientist Steve Heydon came dressed as a witch.
Kate Brown, a third-year student at the UC Davis School of Medicine, donned Monarch butterfly wings.
Meanwhile, the Bohart Society members checked out the assorted insects, ranging from praying mantids to Madagascar hissing cockraoches to walking sticks. Entomologist Leia Matern of Woodland, who is studying for her master's degree at UC Davis, answered questions about a bug display to her curious daughter, Tilly.
The Bohart Museum Society is a campus and community support organization dedicated to supporting the mission of the museum, according to director Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis. The museum, which houses neearly eight million insect specimens, and the Bohart Museum Society are dedicated to teaching, research and public service. "Our current growth is financed by memberships and your contributions," Kimsey said. (See membership benefits)
Meanwhile, the Bohart Museum is gearing up for its next Nov. 23rd open house. The theme: "Beauty and Beetles." It will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building on Crocker Lane. See schedule of weekend open houses. The museum is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays.
The world's largest hornet (Vespa mandarinia) is huge.
Just how huge?
We photographed a two-inch specimen last week at the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis. Among the insect musem's nearly eight million specimens is the giant hornet.
Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator, placed a honey bee next to it for size comparison.
The news about this hornet is not good. The Chinese news agency Xinhua declared that the insect is wreaking havoc in northwestern China. Some 42 people have died from its stings since last July and some 1600 others have been injured.
"The problem with this particular hornet is that it's big, sort of thumb-sized, and it packs a lot of venom," Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and UC Davis professor of entomology told National Geographic News.
"And its nests get fairly large, including maybe several hundred individuals. They are aggressive, they are predatory, and they have been known to kill and eat an entire colony of honey bees," she said.
The hornet destroy the entire colony within minutes.
As Kimsey says, this hornet is a predator and highly aggressive.
Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, is fielding scores of calls after the National Geographic News (NGN) posted an article today (Oct. 4) about “the world’s biggest hornet wreaking havoc in northwestern China.”
Quoting the Chinese news agency Zinhua, NGN reporter Brian Handwerk wrote that 42 people have died and some 1600 have been injured “since the outbreak of the Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) began in July…and attacks continue even as local authorities take action, including destroying hundreds of hives and improving medical treatment for victims.”
Handwerk quoted Kimsey as saying "The problem with this particular hornet is that it's big, sort of thumb-sized, and it packs a lot of venom. And its nests get fairly large, including maybe several hundred individuals. They are aggressive, they are predatory, and they have been known to kill and eat an entire colony of honeybees.”
"And its nests get fairly large, including maybe several hundred individuals. They are aggressive, they are predatory, and they have been known to kill and eat an entire colony of honeybees," Kimsey told NGN.
Kimsey, known by her colleagues far and wide as "The Wasp Woman," spent much of the day answering news media queries.
Reached at her Bohart Museum office this afternoon, she said this species is “pretty aggressive.” This species is about two inches long.
“The giant hornet uses its venom to capture prey and to defend the colony,” she said. “But actually, I think the honey bee venom is actually more powerful than this hornet’s venom. The hornet is larger, has more venom, and can sting as many times as it wants." (Only the females sting.)
Unlike a hornet, a worker honey bee dies after stinging.
“This time of year, the hornet colonies are grumpy and agitated,” Kimsey said.
And yes, the Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus, houses giant hornet specimens. After all, it maintains a worldwide collection of nearly 8 million insect specimens.
"The stinger of the Asian giant hornet," according to Wikipedia, "is about 6 mm (1/4 of an inch) in length, and injects an especially potent venom that contains, like many bee and wasp venoms, a cytolytic peptide (specifically, a mastoparan) that can damage tissue by stimulating phospholipase action, in addition to its own intrinsic phospholipase. Masato Ono, an entomologist at Tamagawa University near Tokyo, described the sensation as feeling "like a hot nail being driven into my leg."