You've probably already "put a bug" in Santa's ear, telling him what you want.
But have you ever thought of putting a bug on your holiday card?
If you're an entomologist, absolutely. If you like insects, probably. If you're not a bug lover, no.
However, here's what can happen if you mosey on over to the Bohart Museum of Entomology this Sunday, Dec. 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. on the UC Davis campus.
The creative folks at the Bohart Museum, located at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, are sponsoring an open house, themed "Insects in the Winter Wonderland." There you can learn where insects go in the winter.
And you can create a holiday insect card to take home and share with others.
The event, free and open to the public, is the last of the Bohart Museum's 2011 weekend open houses. You'll have to wait 'til 2012 to attend the others.
"We will be focusing on what insects do and where they go when it gets cold," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator at the Bohart. "For example, monarch butterflies survive the winter by clustering together in Mexico or on the California coast; tomato hornworms overwinter underground as pupa, and honey bees can stay warm inside their hives and live off of their stored honey."
Visitors also can enjoy a live “petting zoo” with such residents as Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses a global collection of more than seven million insect specimens, the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and is also the home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007), who was Lynn Kimsey's major professor, founded the museum in 1946.
The Bohart Museum launched its series of weekend openings for the fall season on Saturday, Sept. 24 with “Catch, Collect and Curate: Entomology 101.”
The remaining schedule for the 2011-2012 academic year:
Saturday, Jan. 14, 1 to 4 p.m.: “A New Year, a New Bug, How Insects Are Discovered”
Sunday, Feb. 12, 1 to 4 p.m., “Bug Lovin’”
Saturday, March 10, 1 to 4 p.m., “Hide ‘n’ Seek: Insect Camouflage”
Saturday, April 21: 10 to 3 p.m., UC Davis Picnic Day
Saturday, May 12, 1 to 4 p.m., “Pre-Moth’ers Day”
Sunday, June 3, 1 to 4 p.m., “Bug Light, Bug Bright…First Bug I See Tonight.”
Regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The museum is closed on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
More information is available on the Bohart website or by contacting Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-0493.
It's not too late to have a "buggy" holiday.
Thanksgiving will come early to the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis.
An open house, appropriately themed "Thankful for Bugs," is set from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive.
And it's free.
Visitors can view insect specimens from all over the world. And they can hold such critters as live (yes, live!) walking sticks and Madagascar hissing cockroaches.
A special activity: draw an insect and create your own button to wear. "We are busting out the button maker to make the insects we love," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. "Hopefully, people will appreciate dung beetles and flies as important decomposers,and wasps as insect predators, along with the indispensable butterfly and bee pollinators."
The museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, is the home of seven million insect specimens. Founded in 1946 by noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007), it is dedicated to teaching, research and service.
The Bohart also maintains regular hours from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. It is closed on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
More information is available on the Bohart website or by contacting Tabatha Yang, at email@example.com or (530) 752-0493. Due to limited space, group tours will not be booked during the weekend hours.
Well, there is that "ick" factor.
"If you have a grizzly bear or a beautiful bird, many people are engaged right away," Mace Vaughan, director of the Pollinator Conservation Program of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation told Nuwer. The Xerces Society, headquartered in Portland, Ore., protects invertebrates, especially pollinators.
"People think all invertebrates have an ick factor," Vaughn commented, "but in fact almost all don't."
People who don't like bugs sometimes run, stomp or scream--not necessarily in that order.
But at the Bohart Museum of Entomology on the UC Davis campus, there's a sense of awe and wonderment. See, the Bohart Museum is home to a global collection of more than seven million insects but a popular attraction is the "live petting zoo," comprised of assorted Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and the like.
And children do "like."
Bob Dunning of Davis recently brought along three of his children, Molly, 9, Emme, 8, and Mick, 6, to enjoy a Bohart open house.
Emme, especially, was drawn to the Madagascar hissing cockroaches, aka hissers. She watched one crawl up her arm and around her neck. She didn't flinch. Right on cue, brother Mick let his hisser do the same. Molly? She preferred to watch.
Bohart volunteer Ralph Washington, who received his bachelor’s degree in entomology from UC Davis, told them that these cockroaches are native to Madagascar. The Madagascar hissing cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa) is one of the largest cockroach species and can reach two to four inches in length.
“They’re like goodwill ambassadors to the Bohart and the cockroach family,” said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach director, who estimated the museum holds about 40 to 50 Madagascar hissing cockroaches at any given time.
“Some visitors think of them as big beetles, and when we tell them they’re cockroaches sometimes they get a little concerned," she said. "They’re thinking of the pest species.”
An added attraction is that Madagascar hissing cockroaches, aka “hissers,” make a noise—they hiss.
“They hiss for a variety of reasons,” Yang said. “The males hiss at each other over territory and they hiss to attract females. When we pick them up, they do an ‘alarm hiss’ so we will leave them alone and put them down.”
Sometimes they’re so used to being handled that they don’t readily hiss. That’s when the museum staffers raid the personal collection of entomology graduate student Emily Bzdyk, who keeps some in her Bohart office.
The Bohart Museum, located at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, is directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis. It's open for visits Monday through Thursday.
To draw in folks who can't attend on weekdays, the Bohart Museum offers special weekend open houses.
The next weekend open house is Saturday, Nov. 19 from 1 to 4. The theme: “Thankful for Bugs.” Want to attend? It's free. And, you'll have a buggy good time.
But be sure to bring your camera. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture of a bug on a kid ought to be worth at least 10,000.
Lynn S. Kimsey is an entomologist, and has been one for most of her life.
It's an interesting piece. Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at UC Davis, traces her interest in entomology to age 5, when she received her first butterfly net.
"I've pretty much had a burning passion for insects ever since, except for a brief foray into marine biology as an undergraduate," she told LiveScience.
Kimsey recently drew international attention with her discovery of gigantic "warrior wasps" on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.(The male measures about two-and-a-half-inches long, Kimsey says. “Its jaws are so large that they wrap up either side of the head when closed. When the jaws are open they are actually longer than the male’s front legs.)
And what is "the most important characteristic a researcher must demonstrate in order to be an effective researcher?"
"A burning curiosity and the need to know."
Kimsey is also quick to point out the societal benefits of her research. "Understanding insects, where they occur and the ecosystem services they provide, is critical for our how important insects are to us. They are our principal competitors — they feed on us and our animals, they make us sick and yet provide critical pollination, recycling and nutritional services."
We're glad to see LiveScience singling out scientists for a "behind-the-scenes" look. It humanizes the scientists who do such intriguing research.
We remember when apiculturist Marla Spivak, a 2010 MacArthur Foundation and Distinguished McKnight Professor and Extension entomologist with the University of Minnesota, shared some of her thoughts with LiveScience.
When asked "If you could only rescue one thing from your burning office or lab, what would it be?" Spivak answered "My students." Then, showing a trademark sense of humor, she added "If there were bees in the lab, I would grab them, too."
Kimsey, too, has a honed sense of humor. The Bohart Museum is the home of a global collection of seven million insect specimens and what she calls "the live petting zoo"--insects you can touch and handle. They include Madagascar hissing cockroaches, a rose-haired taranatula, and walking sticks.
We thought she might gleefully answer "walking sticks" when she was asked what she would RUN out of burning building with, but no.
Kimsey replied: "My external hard drive: My entire research life, my brain, is in that drive."
Wear your favorite insect costume. Show off your insect tattoo.
When the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis hosts its pre-Halloween open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 30, it promises to be a "blood-suckin' good time."
And it's free and open to the public.
One of the highlights will be an insect costume contest. A prize will be awarded to the "best dressed insect" under 6; ages 7-12, 13 to 18, and adults. Judging will be based on creativity and originality, said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator.
In addition, a prize will be awarded to the best overall insect tattoo, Yang said.
Another special event is the 3:15 p.m. mosquito pinata bashing. The pinata is the work of Brittany Nelms, a PhD student within the Entomology Graduate Group with a designated emphasis in Vectorborne Diseases (she studies with William Reisen of the Center for Vectorborne Diseases). The pinata will be filled with candy and some insect toys, Yang said.
Among the "blood bugs" on display will be mosquito, bed bug and biting fly specimens. (Not to worry--they're specimens; they're not alive.)
Located at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, the Bohart Museum houses a global collection of more than seven million insect specimens and also maintains a live “petting zoo” with such residents as Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, launched its series of weekend openings for the fall season on Saturday, Sept. 24 with “Catch, Collect and Curate: Entomology 101.”