- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The 3000 third graders who attended the annual Youth Ag Day on Tuesday, March 14 on the Solano County Fairgrounds, Vallejo, learned their ABC's--of bugs--at the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology's booth.
- A is for “awesome”
- B is for “bugs”
- C is for “cool”
Tabatha Yang, education and public outreach coordinator at the Bohart Museum and volunteers Alex Nguyen, Noah Crockette and Parras McGrath, kept busy from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. as youngsters admired the specimens, ranging from butterflies to beetles; held Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks; and took more photos than you can shake a stick at.
Squeals of delight punctuated Exposition Hall. This was Bug World Unfolded!
With hands thrust up—“I wanna hold one!”—and heads, shoulders, hands and cameras crushed together, they took turns holding the insects. The consensus: “Hey, I found these really cool bugs that I've never seen before and I got to hold them and photograph them.”
Yang answered hundreds of questions as did the three Bohart volunteers: Nguyen, who holds a bachelor of science degree in entomology from UC Davis, and high school students Noah Crockette and Parras McGrath.
Crockette, who won the 2015 senior award from the Coleopterists Society, participated in the 10-day Bohart Bioblitz last summer in Belize.
At the Bohart booth, the third graders giggled as the walking sticks “tickled” them on their arms. In another corner, the Madagascar hissing cockroaches offered their obligatory hisses.
The annual Youth Ag Day is a collaborative effort of the Solano County Fair and agricultural related businesses, organizations, farmers, ranchers and other individuals to encourage Solano County third graders to experience agriculture first-hand, according to the fair officials. The third graders learn about cows, chickens, llamas, goats, honey bees, pollinators, and fruits and vegetables. The free event is designed to give the youngsters the opportunity to learn about food and fiber production from new perspectives, with a particular emphasis on the agricultural wealth of Solano County.
The Bohart Museum is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, UC Davis campus. Directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, it houses nearly 8 million insect specimens from all over the world. It also includes a live petting zoo, showcasing Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and taranatulas, and a gift shop, featuring T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum is open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. It is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
One of the major attractions are the Bohart Museum open houses, held on many weekends of the academic year. All are free and open to the public.
The next open house is from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 19. The theme: “Eggs to Wings: Backyard Butterfly Gardening.”
More information on the Bohart Museum is available by contacting (530) 752-0493 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The website is http://bohart.ucdavis.edu/
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
When you enter the Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, on Crocker Lane, University of California, Davis, be sure to look up. Way up!
Way up? Where?
Up there, on your left! See them? Above the shelved books.
What are they? Insects?
Right, they're insects. They're the mounted heads of rhinocerous beetles--the insect museum's answer to mounted deer heads.
Super Family: Scarabaeoidea
"You know we have some silly moments in the museum," said Lynn Kimsey, museum director and professor of entomology, in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"Some time ago we received a shipment of rhino beetle donations that were badly damaged by carpet beetles. We decided to prove to the UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fish that we had trophy head mounts just as nice as theirs..."
It was Bohart Museum associate Greg Karofelas of Davis who suggested that the rhino beetle heads be mounted. He cut the boards from Sika spruce from a "Shield pattern," which is used to mount game heads.
Dynastinae can reach six inches in length. No, they're don't bite. No, they don't sting. The common name, "rhino," refers to the horns on the male head, used in fighting other males during the mating season, and for digging.
No battles, though, on the Bohart wall. Just one male rhino and one female rhino. Together.
Frankly, how often do you see male and female deer heads together?