Have you ever looked closely at a fiery skipper (Hylephila phyleus) and seen its proboscis, aka tongue or feeding tube?
If you stay still and don't shadow it while it's nectaring, you'll see the proboscis darting in an out of a blossom.
The late afternoon sun lit up its long black proboscis while it was nectaring lantana and African daisies in our yard last weekend.
It's the little things you don't see a lot, but the little things you remember.
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.”
Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, located at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, UC Davis campus, knows that a Halloween party isn't a party without the appropriate butterfly, ladybug and honey bee costumes.
After all, the museum houses a global collection of more than seven million specimens (and some live insects, including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas).
The Bohart Museum Society party, held tonight (Thursday), drew scores of costumed folks who enjoyed the camaraderie, the refreshments, the gift shop, the specimens and the "live petting zoo." Toward the end, they took time to bash a mosquito pinata, made by Brittany Nelms, a PhD student within the Entomology Graduate Group with a designated emphasis in Vectorborne Diseases. William Reisen of the Center for Vectorborne Diseases, serves as her major professor.
Mosquitoes are meant to be bashed.
UC Davis entomology graduate student Emily Bzdyk arrived as a butterfly, with her face intricately painted. Entomology graduate student Danielle Wishon, who studies with forensic entomologist Bob Kimsey and won the 2011 UC Davis Undergraduate Award in Entomology, selected a maggot theme.
Forensic entomologist Bob Kimsey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology dressed in a ghillie suit. And his wife, Lynn, the museum director and professor of entomology? She followed through with an Alcatraz theme (Bob does fly research on Alcatraz and is known as the "Fly Man of Alcatraz.")
When it was all over, Honey Lovers candy donated by Gimbal's Fine Candies of San Francisco, spilled out of the split mosquito pinata as the eager crowd dashed for the goodies.
On Sunday, Oct. 30, the Bohart Museum will host a free pre-Halloween open house for the public. It will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to the best insect costumes (youth and adult divisions) and the best insect tattoo.
And, oh, yes, there will be another blood-sucking mosquito to bash in the form of a pinata.
Not all floral visitors are bees.
That's why we're glad to see the publication of Bee Basics: An Introduction to Our Native Bees.
It will introduce folks to such native bees as leafcutter bees, sweat bees and bumble bees.
It's co-authored by retired biologist Beatriz Moisset of Willow Grove, Pa., and entomologist Stephen Buchmann, international coordinator of the Pollinator Partnership, based in San Francisco. The illustrations, based on Buchmann's photos, are by Steve Buchanan of Wingsted, Conn., known for creating the U.S. Postal Service’s pollinator stamps that were issued June 29, 2007.
“From forests to farms, from cities to wildlands, there are 4000 native bee species in the United States, from the tiny Perdita minima to large carpenter bees,” they wrote.
“The honey bee, remarkable as it is, does not know how to pollinate tomato or eggplant flowers. It does very poorly compared to native bees when pollinating many native plants, such as pumpkins, cherries, blueberries, and cranberries.”
The book includes descriptions and illustrations of bees from such families as Apidae, Andrenidae, Halictidae, Megachilidae and Colletidae.
They wrote: “The members of the five most common families, Apidae, Halictidae, Andrenidae, Megachilidae and Colletidae, can be found throughout the North American continent from Canada and Alaska to warm and sunny Florida and Mexico; from forests to deserts; from remote wildernesses to gardens and backyards; even the National Mall in the heart of our nation’s capital sports a native bee fauna. Perhaps the only places where bees are absent are the high mountains.”
“There is even a hardy little bee, the arctic bumble bee, which lives within the Arctic Circle.”
The booklet also offers tips on how to attract pollinators. A great resource!
Steve Buchmann, of Tucson, Ariz., received his doctorate in entomology from the University of California, Davis with major professor Robbin Thorp. Now an adjunct faculty member in the entomology and EEB (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) departments at the University of Arizona, Buchmann is the author of 150 scientific publications and 12 bbooks, including The Forgotten Pollinators.
Beatriz Moisset, born in Argentina and a resident of the United States for more than 40 years, obtained her doctorate in biology from the University of Cordoba, Argentina. She completed her postdoctoral work at the Jackson Laboratories, Bar Harbor, Maine studying neurochemistry and behavior. A multitalented person (she's an artist, photographer, author and public speaker), she has displayed her pastels and oil paintings at many art shows and contributes her insect photography to the online resource BugGuide.Net.
“I became interested in pollinators after my retirement, combining photography and painting with field observations,” Moisset said.
The book, a USDA Forest Service and Pollinator Partnership Publication, can be ordered from the Pollinator Partnership website for a small donation.
The bees have it,
The Beez Kneez, that is.
The Beez Kneez, a Sacramento-based band led by Norm Gary, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, will reunite for one last performance on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at the Straw Hat Pizza, 2929 Mather Field Road, Rancho Cordova.
The group, which performed as a seven-piece band in the Sacramento area from 1995 until Oct. 17, 2004, will entertain from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
“Our first performance was at the original Shakey’s Pizza (57th and J streets,” Gary recalled. “Shakey Johnson was there! We were the last band to perform at Shakey's. A big fire destroyed this jazz landmark on Jan. 8, 1996.”
“Guess our hat jazz reached the ignition point,” Gary quipped.
“Over the years we had a super bunch of faithful fans, and we miss you. Since we disbanded, many of our faithful Beez Kneez fans have repeatedly requested more performances.”
So there’s just one more—Oct. 26.
All surviving members of the original cast will be there. (Tom Tucker is deceased.)
Gary promises that “we’ll play our most popular songs that we recorded on two CDs.”
They include "When the Saints Go Marching In," "If I Had You," "Just a Little While to Stay Here," "New Orleans," "Long Way to Tippary" and "My Gal Sal."
Gary is the author of a newly published book on beginning beekeeping titled “Honey Bee Hobbyist: The Care and Keeping of Bees.”
“Keeping bees is far more challenging than caring for common pets,” said Gary, who retired in 1994 from UC Davis after a 32-year academic career.
And bees? One last time for the Beez Kneez.