Insects--their beauty, their structure, their diversity--are inspiring noted fashion designers, but those fashion designers are way, way behind the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Students' Association (EGSA).
EGSA members are graduate student totally into bugs. They study them, research them and wear them. And yes, some do eat them. Can you say "chocolate chirp cookies? (made with cricket flour)?"
Every year EGSA conducts a t-shirt contest and the faculty, staff and students pick the winner. The good news is that the t-shirts--past and present--are for sale all year around, but folks take a special interest in them during the holiday season. Stocking stuffers!
The Beatles? Think The Beetles.
Instead of the English rock band John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Star crossing Abbey Road in single file (that's the iconic image on the cover of their album, Abbey Road), think of The Beetles (four insects) crossing Abbey Road in single file. Beneath the images of the beetles are their family names: Phengogidae, Curculionidae, Cerambycidae and Scarabaeidae. Think glowworm, snout, long-horned, and scarab beetles.
If you're not partial to beetles, how about honey bees, wasps, and "Entomology's Most Wanted?"
You're in luck.
"This year we are discounting some of our old designs from $15 to $10!" announced the officers, headed by Ph.D student and ant specialist Brendon Boudinot of the Phil Ward lab. "Order by Dec. 15th for delivery within the United States by the 23rd. If you are on campus and would like to pick up the shirt instead, please do not pay for shipping online and email Emily Bick at firstname.lastname@example.org (of the Christian Nansen lab) to schedule pick up. The online store will close on Dec. 17th until early January." The prices range from $10 to $15 to $17. Access their online store: https://mkt.com/UCDavisEntGrad/
It's for a good cause: helping the graduate students. The added bonus, you get to "bug" your friends, family and colleagues when you wear these t-shirts.
Now you can not only see a stag beetle, you can wear one. In fact, four of them.
Entomologist Stacey Lee Rice won the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Students Association's annual t-shirt design contest with her artistic stag beetle t-shirt that's already a conversation starter. The shirt is available for sale at https://mkt.com/UCDavisEntGrad
Rice, a junior specialist in the lab of Extension entomologist Larry Godfrey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty, says the harmony between nature and insects inspires her art.
The stag beetle t-shirt design not only incorporates her love for stag beetles (family Lucanidae) but illustrates the “geometric patterns that are hidden in the deciduous forests they dwell in,” said Rice, who as a scientist and artist, enjoys fusing science with art.
She loves the complexity and beauty of insects. "I'm captivated by insects' structural biology, ability to evolve over time and the intricate ways in which they communicate,” she said.
A repeat winner, Rice also won the EGSA's 2015 t-shirt contest with her depiction of a wasp riding a penny-farthing or high-wheel bicycle. Both t-shirts, along with scores of other winning t-shirts, are available for sale on the EGA website, https://mkt.com/UCDavisEntGrad
Her research in the Godfrey lab, in collaboration with Ian Grettenberger, postdoctoral research associate, involves investigating the biology and behavioral ecology of the bagrada bug, Bagrada hilaris, an invasive species from Africa. The now widespread stink bug attacks cole crops, including broccoli, cabbage, collards, arugula, cauliflower, kale, and mustard.
“Dr. Grettenberger has taught me how to manage time and stay organized in order to execute an effective research plan,” Rice said, “and I am inspired by his enthusiasm to solve problems.”
“With the support of Dr. Larry Godfrey (Extension entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology), I have been motivated to pursue my Ph.D," Rice said. "I'm grateful for his commitment to fostering my intellectual growth, and dedication to mentoring a young woman scientist in a field where women are frequently underrepresented.”
A native of Roseville, Rice received her bachelor's degree in biological sciences with a minor in medical-veterinary entomology in March 2015. Her career goal, to become a professional research entomologist, stems from her childhood interest in the biological sciences.
“I'm particularly interested in integrated pest management practices that could have real world impact,” Rice said. “By understanding the biology and behaviors of pest insects, as well as their interaction with other organisms, the reliance on heavy pesticide use in agriculture may become minimized and more targeted. “
Rice hopes to enroll in graduate school in autumn 2017. Meanwhile, she continues to share her fascination for insects with friends, family and the Davis community.
For several years, Rice was active in the UC Davis Entomology Club, advised by forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty. “I consider Bob Kimsey as my mentor and friend," she said. "Along with the various projects of the entomology club, he has instilled in me a deep curiosity of the natural world and a strong desire to give back to the community as an entomologist.”
Rice's award-winning t-shirt first went on sale at the Entomological Society of America/International Congress of Entomology meeting, held in early November in Orlando, Fla.
EGSA treasurer Cindy Preto of the Frank Zalom lab is coordinating the t-shirt sales. The themes include honey bees, beetles, a wasp, a moth, weevils (“See No Weevil, Hear No Weevil and Speak No Weevil") and “Entomology's Most Wanted” (malaria mosquito, red-imported fire ant, bed bug and house fly). One of the best sellers is “The Beetles,” mimicking The Beatles' album cover, “Abbey Road.” All proceeds benefit EGSA.
Fran Keller, a doctoral candidate in entomology, and Nanase Nakanishi, a senior animal science major, teamed to create a "Save the Bees" T-shirt, spotlighting the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility and the adjacent Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven.
The newly planted haven is a half-acre bee friendly garden designed to provide a year-around food source for honey bees and an educational experience for human visitors. By spring, it will be well-established and in full bloom.
And the T-shirt? Nakanishi served as the artist, and Keller, the designer.
Nakanishi, a Bohart student employee for the past three years, plans to become a veterinarian.
Keller's Ph.D. work involves tenebrionids or darkling beetles. She studies with major professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart and professor and vice chair of the Department of Entomology.
In her "spare" time, Keller has created a number of insect posters and T-shirts, all available at the museum.
The bee shirt, which comes in black or yellow, is receiving scores of accolades. "Cute!" is one of them.
The front says "Save the Bees" and is inscribed with the Laidlaw facility name. The back features a photo (taken by yours truly) of a newly emerged bee tucked inside the line drawing of a hive. It is lettered with "Follow me to the Honey Bee Haven Garden!"
Keller said the shirts will sell for $20 for adults and $15 for youths, and range in size from 2XL to small for adults, and XS to large for youths.
All proceeds are earmarked for honey bee research at UC Davis. The shirts are available at the Bohart Museum, 1124 Academic Surge, UC Davis campus, or by accessing the Bohart Web site.
"To bee or not to bee."
That is the question. What is the solution?
The plight of the honey bees has not escaped the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Students' Association (EGSA).
This year's winning t-shirt, the result of a departmental faculty-student-staff-vote, stars the "unsung heroes": the honey bees.
Randall "Randy" Veirs, executive assistant for department chair Lynn Kimsey, and communications specialist Kathy Keatley Garvey (yours truly), came up with the winning shirt--Randy created the intricate drawing, and KKG coined the text, spoofing a line from Shakespeare's Hamlet.
To bee or not to bee, that is the question.
What is the solution?
Randy, who describes himself as more of a musician than an artist, drew a framed portrait of a Shakespearean bee in period clothing, complete with an Elizabethan collar.
Randy, who plays principal trumpet in the UC Davis Symphony, said he spent several days drawing the bee, gathering information online about proper Shakespearean attire. His brother, Russell Veirs, also a musician (saxophone), helped prepare the image in Photoshop.
By the way, each brother has a bachelor's degree in music from UC Davis, while Russell has a master's in saxophone performance from Sacramento State University. Music and art do go together!
The t-shirt ties in with Shakespeare's view that "All the world's a stage." (Just add message.) It also ties in with Shakespeare's fascination for bees. One of the playwright's lines from Henry V: "For so work the honey bees, creatures that by a rule in nature teach the act of order to a peopled kingdom."
Yes, bees are well-organized and we can learn much from these hard-working social insects.
The bee t-shirt is not only raising funds for the graduate student association but raising awareness for the honey bees. Beekeepers throughout the country report they are losing from one-third to 100 percent of their bees due to colony collapse disorder, a mysterious phenomenon in which bees abandon their hives.
The t-shirts are $15 and available in child-through-adult sizes, says t-shirt coordinator Yao Hua Law, a doctoral student who studies with professor Jay Rosenheim. "The funds will be used for EGSA activities, including the monetary prizes for the EGSA-organized Undergraduate Entomology Research Poster Competition," he said. Contact Yao Hua at (530) 752-4481 or e-mail him at email@example.com for more information.
Plans are also under way to sell the T-shirts through the University Bookstore, thus making online payments possible and shipping fluid, he said.
Other UC Davis entomology t-shirts are also available. One of the favorites is "The Beetles." A parody of The Beatles' "Abbey Road" album cover, the t-shirt features four beetles crossing Abbey Road. Doctoral candidate Hillary Thomas, who studies with major professor Frank Zalom, an integrated pest management specialist, designed the shirt.
The Bees. The Beetles.
The take-home message on these shirts is also a take-everywhere message.