That was a popular refrain at the 103rd annual UC Davis Picnic Day, held Saturday, April 22.
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology showed thousands of folks the honey at its Briggs Hall exhibit, "Honey Tasting." The line stretched out the door and into the lobby as eager folks--from pre-schoolers to senior citizens--waited for samples and an opportunity to talk to the scientists.
The crowd liked the meadowfoam honey the best, followed by citrus.
It was a team effort. Student scientists left their labs to staff the honey tasting table. Okay, they made a "bee line" there. In between handing out toothpicks coated with honey, they conversed with the public, answering questions about honey, bees, and beekeeping. One participant asked "What's good about honey?" Other questions included "How are the bees?" and "How can I become a beekeeper?"
It wasn't just about the honey. Scores of other insect-related events also took place at Briggs Hall (maggot art, cockroach races, and displays featuring ants, mosquitoes and bees, in addition to forensic, aquatic, and forest entomology.
Over at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, thousands flocked through the doors to see butterfly and other insect specimens, live scorpions, live carpenter bees, and a live "petting zoo" (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas).
Chairing the department's Picnic Day Committee was graduate student Brendon Boudinot (Phil Ward lab), an ant specialist seeking his doctorate in entomology.
Now for the good news: two of the department's exhibits were up for special awards--honey tasting at Briggs Hall, and the multiple displays at the Bohart Museum.
The results were announced today. The honey tasting exhibit, coordinated by Extension apiculturist Elina Niño, won the popular vote in its category, "Hungry Fix."
How sweet it is!
Fittingly, the theme of this year's UC Davis Picnic Day was "Growing Together." The annual event, drawing in surrounding communities, is really one gigantic open house, and a time to "come and experience the richness of diversity and achievement" of the university in "the areas of research, teaching service and campus life," organizers said.
Here's who won the special exhibit awards, as announced by exhibits coordinator Helen Xiu:
Best in Show:
- Harry Potter and the "Try"-Physics Tournament
Fun with Crafts:
- DNA and Bioluminescence
Arts and Humanities:
- The Joy of Writing: The University Writing Program Creates Fun with Words!
- Honey Tasting
Secrets of Nature
- Explore the Tree of Life
Congratulations to all! They were all special!
Speaking of special, mark your calendars to learn more about bees, honey and beekeeping:
- The inaugural California Honey Festival, coordinated by Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, will take place Saturday, May 6 in downtown Woodland. It's billed as a fun-filled day of honey, mead, music, beekeeping talks, kids' activities and more. Free and open to the public, it promises to be both fun and educational.
- The third annual UC Davis Bee Symposium: Keeping Bees Healthy is Sunday, May 7. It's sponsored by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. This is a "must" if you're keeping bees or want to do so--or if you just want to learn more about bees. Keynote speaker is noted apiculturist Steve Sheppard of Washington State University, Pullman, Wash. Registration is underway.
- The Western Apicultural Society (WAS), launched at UC Davis 40 years ago, will return to its roots for a conference Sept. 5-8. President of WAS (this is his sixth term) is co-founder Eric Mussen of UC Davis, Extension apiculturist emeritus. The organization is specifically designed to meet the educational needs of beekeepers in the United States but is open to anyone throughout the world. Registration will soon be underway. Check the website for more information.
They are, you know, everywhere.
However, when the 103rd annual UC Davis Picnic Day takes place Saturday, April 22, you'll find them primarily at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's exhibits at Briggs Hall and at the Bohart Museum of Entomology,
"Show Me the Honey" and "Show Me the Bugs."
Two of the department's exhibits are in the running for special awards at the campuswide Picnic Day. One is “Honey Tasting” at Briggs Hall, and the other is “Bigger, Better, Buglier: Impressive Science” at the Bohart Museum.
“Honey Tasting" will feature a selection of varietal honeys in a display that's the work of Extension apiculturist Elina Niño and colleagues at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Facility.
"We will have the crowd favorites: coffee blossom, sweet meadowfoam, as well as some classics such as orange blossom and blackberry blossom and the 'love-it-or-hate-it' buckwheat honey," Niño said. "This year we will also be featuring our own 2016 crop of UC Davis honey from the apiculture program." The exhibit is one of six competing for awards in the category, "Hunger Fix.”
The Bohart Museum's “Bigger, Better, Buglier: Impressive Science” exhibit is one of six exhibits entered in the category, "Secrets of Nature." The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, is directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology. It's the home of nearly 8 million insect specimens, plus a live petting zoo (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and taranatulas), and a year-around gift shop that includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
Overall, the UC Davis Picnic Day Committee selected 30 special exhibits to compete in five categories: "Best in Show," "Fun with Crafts," "Arts and Humanities," "Hunger Fix" and "Secrets of Nature," said UC Davis Picnic Day exhibits director Helen Xie.
The way it works: Picnic Day attendees vote for their favorite exhibits. Winning exhibits will be featured on social media pages such as Picnic Day website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts after Picnic Day. They will also be featured next year, in preparation for Picnic Day 2018.
The poll will open beginning at 8 a.m. and close at 10 p.m. the same day.. All are welcome to vote at: https://orgsync.com/51524/forms/258052.
Last year the Department of Entomology and Nematology won two special awards. By popular vote, "Little Swimmers and Fly Tyers (Briggs Hall)," won the category, "Hidden Treasures," and "Real Insects and Mimics" (Bohart Museum) won the category "Family Friendly."
This year's Briggs Hall activities will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Bohart Museum of Entomology will swing open its doors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Graduate student Brendon Boudinot is chairing the department's Picnic Day Committee. (See list of activities at Briggs Hall in previous Bug Squad blog.)
Boudinot's special favorite at the UC Davis Picnic Day? Ants. He's studying for his doctorate with ant specialist Phil Ward and is helping with the ant exhibit at Briggs Hall.
It wouldn't be a picnic without ants.
In sheer numbers, diversity and special honors.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, home of nearly eight million insect specimens, won a special honor for its display, "Real Insects and Their Mimics." It won the people's vote for the best "Family Friendly" exhibit. The display included look-a-like butterflies, meant to confuse predators, and honey bees and flies (drone flies), meant to confuse editors!
Over at Briggs Hall, home of the administrative office of UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, "Little Swimmers and Fly Tyers" won the people's vote for the best display/activity in the "Hidden Treasures" category. The Fly Fishers of Davis showed visitors how to tie a fly, while over in the aquatic insect display, Professor Sharon Lawler and graduate students showed a wide variety of insects--from boatmen to caddisflies--and fielded questions
Yes, bugs ruled at Briggs and the Bohart.
Briggs Hall included maggot art (dip a maggot in water-based paint and let it crawl on a white piece of paper); cockroach races (root for your favorite cockroach), the pollinator pavilion (count the live butterflies and bees); taste honey (yes, pine "honey" isn't honey but it drew a lot of attention), Dr. Death (staffed by forensic entomologist Bob Kimsey); Bug Doctor (headed by graduate student Ralph Washington Jr.); mosquitoes (molecular biologist Shirley Luckhart and her students, and the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito Control District staff), and the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management display (lady beetle give-away, and information about the "IPM way" to control pests).
Then there were the displays of ants and forest insects, the bee observation hive, and insect-collecting equipment. You could get a butterfly painted on your face while you ate a cricket-flour cookie, after you bought a t-shirt emblazoned with "The Beetles."
At the Bohart, you could examine specimens, hold walking sticks and Madagascar hissing cockroach, touch the "teddy bear" (male Valley carpenter bee) and buy assorted gifts at the gift shop.
This was the 102nd annual Picnic Day, offering thousands of visitors informative, educational and entertaining displays.
A century ago, the Department of Entomology did not exist. The first insects, however, existed more than 400 million years ago. Probably more. The world's oldest known insect fossil is 400 million years old, according to findings published Feb. 12, 2004 in the journal Nature.
Countdown 'til UC Davis Picnic Day...
UC Davis will welcome thousands of visitors Saturday, April 16 to its 102nd annual Picnic Day, themed "Cultivating Our Authenticity." You can access the schedule of events here.
It promises to be educational, informative and entertaining.
In the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, graduate students are organizing numerous displays and activities in Briggs Hall on Kleiber Hall Drive. Director Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology, and her crew are working on the displays in the Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane.
Three of the traditional exhibits coordinated by the department are nominees for special awards. They are:
- "Little Swimmers and Fly Tying” (Briggs Hall), nominated in the category, "Hidden Treasures"
- "Medical Entomology” (Briggs Hall), listed in the category, "Academic Exhibits" and
- "Real Insects and Mimics" (Bohart Museum of Entomology), "Family Friendly" Exhibit.
An online voting poll, available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, will determine the winners. Visitors may vote at https://orgsync.com/51524/forms/194037. Winning exhibits will be featured on social media pages such as the Picnic Day website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts after Picnic Day. They also will be featured next year, in preparation for Picnic Day 2017.
The Briggs Hall open house will be from 9:30 to 4 p.m., and the Bohart Museum open house from 10 to 3 p.m.
Briggs Hall will be the site of a pollination pavilion, maggot art, cockroach races, fly-tying, face-painting, honey tasting, and a bee observation hive, and displays about ants, mosquitoes, aquatic insects and forest insects. The Bug Doctor booth ("The Doctor Is in") will be staffed by faculty and graduate students, while UC Davis forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey, aka "The Fly Man of Alcatraz," and entomology graduate Danielle Wishon will staff the Dr. Death table.
Honey tasting? Visitors can taste these varieties: Peppertree, eucalyptus, almond, sage, sweet clover, and pine "honey," according to Extension apiculturist Elina Niño of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
Also at Briggs Hall, the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) will give away lady beetles, aka ladybugs, to kids to take home to their gardens. UC IPM also will provide advice on how to manage home and garden pests with environmentally sound methods.
The Entomology Graduate Student Association (EGSA) will be selling its popular insect-themed t-shirts.
At the Bohart Museum, the focus will be on "real insects as mimics." You'll see flies that look like bees--and bees that look like flies. In addition, you can hold and photograph the critters in the live "petting zoo," including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, and rose-haired tarantulas. The gift shop, featuring t-shirts, books, posters, insect collecting equipment, will be open.
Meanwhile, here's a look at some of "The Girls" you'll see: lady beetles (commonly known as ladybugs), Painted Lady butterflies, honey bees, all at Briggs Hall, and a rose-haired tarantula named "Peaches" at the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
If you've ever wanted to taste exotic honeys (of course, you have!) and if you've ever wondered why native bees don't make honey (you have, haven't you?), then you're in luck.
The Honey and Pollination Center at the University of California, Davis, is hosting an international honey tasting event on Tuesday, April 5 in the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science (RMI) Sensory Theater, and you're invited.
The event, billed as The World of Honey--International Honey Tasting, will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at RMI, located on Old Davis Road, UC Davis campus.
Participants will experience four exotic international honeys: stingless bee honey from Brazil, coffee blossom from Guatemala, Viper's Bugloss from New Zealand, and chestnut honey from France.
Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center, will lead the tasting. The event opens with a short talk and PowerPoint on stingless bees and native bees by Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"Stingless bees were raised by the Mayans for honey," Harris says. "Today stingless bee honey production is very low."
In his talk,Thorp will discuss the diversity of bees (20,000 species in the world) and why most bees do not produce honey. He also will cover "which ones produce honey that we do harvest, primarily bees of the genus Apis and some of the many stingless bees."
Student tickets are $12.50, while tickets for UC Davis affiliates are $25, and $30 for the general public. To registrar, access the Honey and Pollination Center website at https://registration.ucdavis.edu/Item/Details/190 or contact Elizabeth Luu at firstname.lastname@example.org or Amina Harris at email@example.com. The last day to register online is Sunday, April 3.