You never know who's coming to dinner...er...reception.
When the UC Davis Department of Entomology hosted an open house today for prospective graduate students, the Bohart Museum of Entomology brought along some thorny walking sticks.
Graduate student Matan Shelomi, who studies with major professor Lynn Kimsey, showed the thorny stick insect to various individuals: faculty members, staff, students and prospective students.
The thorny walking stick (Aretaon asperrimus), native to Borneo, is covered with...guess what?... thornlike spikes. The female "stick" reaches three inches long and the males, two inches long. Their diet: bramble, oak, ivy and rose. No human beings; these little walking sticks are harmless.
If you'd like to hold walking sticks or Madagascar hissing cockroaches, be sure to attend the Bohart Museum's upcoming open house, set from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 26. Admission is free. The Bohart is located at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive.
The insect museum houses more than seven million insect specimens, plus a live "petting zoo," which includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks.
During the weekdays, you can visit the Bohart Museum Monday through Thursday from 8:30 to 5 p.m. (closed during the lunch hour). Group tours can be arranged with Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator, at (530) 752-9464 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to check out the thorny walking sticks!
It's Presidents' Day and far too early for nectarines to burst into bloom.
The unseasonable weather, however, fooled 'em.
Didn't fool the honey bees. Despite the relatively low temperatures--50 degrees--they buzzed into our yard to greet the blossoms and carry the nectar and pollen back to their hives.
A touch of blue sky, some silky pink blossoms and golden honey bees.
Life is good.
Think what it would be like if you increased your weight by 1000 times in six days.
But that's exactly what worker bee larvae do in the honey bee colony. "They increase in weight 1000 times during the six days that they feed," said Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty.
"Worker bees," Mussen said, "will deposit food in their cells 10,000 times during those six days."
In peak season, the queen bee can lay up to 2000 eggs a day. No wonder she's called an "egg-laying machine."
From egg to larva to pupa to adult, that's the cycle of the honey bee.
Friday, Feb. 11 seemed like a glorious spring day. Almond trees at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis burst into bloom.
Early birds...err...early bees...began foraging among the blossoms.
A faux spring.
Then the rains came. Almond pollination and spring buildup in the hives will have to wait until the rain stops and the cold weather subsides.
The flight of the honey bee? Stilled.
We found the book, ABC of Bee Culture: A Cyclopedia of Everything Pertaining to the Care of the Honey Bee; Bees, Honey, Hives, Implements, Honey-Plants, Etc. by A. I. Root, in an antiques and jewelry shop in Vacaville, Calif.
The book offers a look into how our ancestors kept bees. It also reveals that the former book owner was apparently quite enamored with President William Howard Taft (1857-1930), the 27th president of the United States, who served from March 4, 1909 to March 4, 1913.
Why? The foreword pages hold newspaper clippings about the late president.
And not just "hold." They're glued. As in heavy-duty glue.
Apparently the book owner had no money for a real scrapbook.
One clipping is headlined “Taft Anecdotes” and another, “Taft’s Career in a Nut Shell." A photo caption reads “Mr. Taft starting for his vacation in Canada in 1928.” Another caption: “Out for a stroll in Washington.” And yet another: “Chief Justice in His Office" (Taft served as chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1921-1930).
Here I buy a book about bees and beekeeping and I get a two-for-one: Apis mellifera and William Howard Taft.
Fortunately, the main text is devoid of Taft clippings.
The book is interesting reading. Back then beekeepers didn't worry about parasites, pesticides, pests, diseases, colony collapse disorder (CCD), malnutrition and stress. American beekeepers had no varroa mites or small hive beetles--but they did have wax moth larvae and American Foul Brood.
"Diseases of Bees: I am very glad indeed to be able to say, that bees are less liable to be affected with disease than perhaps any other class of animated creatures. It is perhaps because the individual members of a colony are so constantly giving way to other younger members, as they are hatched out and come on the sstage of action. Nothing but a really contagious disease could do very much harm, where vigorous and youthful members are being added to the family circle almost daily, and for a great part of the year, by hundreds or thousands. Therefore, if your bees lack thrit, all you have to do is to start brood-rearing briskly; and if the queen is in any way at fault, you can simple remove her and substitute another, without even so much as disturbing the regular routine."
A. I. Root goes on to say that the only disease that interferes with brood rearing is Foul Brood (what we now call "American Foul Brood" or AFB.)
How times have changed. The varroa mites which transfer viruses are beekeepers' nightmares and probably play a huge role in the mysterious phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder.