The open house set from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 23 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis. It's free and family friendly and parking is also free. It's an opportunity for attendees to learn more about the "nuisance insects," and ask questions.
The line-up, as of today:
- Lynn and Bob Kimsey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty. Lynn, a hymenopterist, is a UC Davis distinguished professor who teaches general entomology and the biodiversity of California insects and serves as the director of the Bohart Museum, and Bob is a forensic entomologist, specializing in public health entomology; arthropods of medical importance; zoonotic disease; biology and ecology of tick-borne pathogens; tick feeding behavior and biochemistry.
- Carla-Cristina "CC" Melo Edwards, a first-year doctoral student in the laboratory of medical entomologist-geneticist Geoffrey Attardo, associate professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. She will share her expertise on mosquitoes and show specimens.
- Moriah Garrison, senior entomologist and research coordinator with Carroll-Loye Biological Research (CLBR). She is scheduled to show live ticks and mosquitoes and field questions.
- Educators from the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District. They will discuss mosquitoes and their program
- Nazzy Pakpour, UC Davis alumna, Novozymes scientist and author of Please Don't Bite Me
- Jeff Smith, curator of the Bohart Museum's ;Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) collection. He will display butterfly specimens collected globally. Also on the "Lep crew" are Bohart volunteers Greg Kareofelas and Brittany Kohler.
Petting Zoo. A popular attraction is the live petting zoo; visitors are encouraged to hold or get acquainted with live Madagascar hissing cockroaches and stick insects
Family Arts and Crafts Activity. The event will be held outside and will highlight two collecting techniques, said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
- Clear Packing Tape Art. "Clear packing tape is a good way to collect small, hard-to-see insects," Yang said. "Glitter will mimic small insects like fleas or bed bugs. Putting the tape on white paper makes it easy to look at them under a microscope and for this craft it will make a pretty card."
- Making insect collecting or "kill" jars. Participants are asked to bring a recycled jar. "This should be a clean and dried glass jar with a wide, metal top--think jam, pickle, peanut butter jars. Four to 16-ounce jars work well. We will have some on hand as well, but recycling is good! We will fill the bottom with plaster of paris and let it dry and teach people how to use it properly, using something like nail polisher remover containing ethyl acetate as the killing agent. A UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology video explains the procedure: https://youtu.be/s8yCzFGzbn8?si=71sNmA5l8NyP1zj0
The Bohart Museum of Entomology has scheduled three open houses between now and Saturday, July 22.
The first open house is themed "Ants!" It's set from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, May 21. The Phil Ward ant lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is planning the event.
The second open house, "Insects and Forensics," featuring forensic entomologist Robert "Bob" Kimsey, aka "Dr. Bob" of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will be from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 3.
The third open house, and the last of the 2022-23 academic year, is "Night at the Museum," showcasing moths and flies and more. It's from 7 to 11 p.m., Saturday, July 22.
The open houses are free and family friendly. Parking is also free.
The Bohart Museum, directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, plus the petting zoo and a gift shop stocked with insect-themed books, posters, jewelry, t-shirts, hoodies and more.
Dedicated to "understanding, documenting and communicating terrestrial arthropod diversity," the Bohart Museum, founded in 1946, is named for UC Davis professor and noted entomologist Richard Bohart. The insect museum is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays, from 8 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 5 p.m.
More information is pending.
Bob, a forensic entomologist, and Lynn, a hymenopterist and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, recently welcomed a joint namesake: Chryseobacterium kimseyorum.
It's a species found more than a decade ago inside the gut of a stick insect housed in the Bohart Museum of Entomology petting zoo.
“We've had a few things named after us but never bacteria--that's a first,” Lynn related.
Our story begins more than a decade ago when then UC Davis doctoral student Matan Shelomi, now an associate professor of entomology at National Taiwan University, Taiwan, was studying the digestive physiology of the stick and leaf insects, Phasmatodea, for his Ph.D, pursued under the guidance of his major professor, Lynn Kimsey. He isolated and cultured bacteria from the guts and cages of the stick insects. Some of the species seemed new to science, but Shelomi had neither the time nor the resources to prove it then.
He stored the microbes inside the deep freezers of the Phaff Yeast Culture Collection, UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology.
"Thankfully, I kept all my notes from graduate school," said Shelomi, "so I was able to check and see which strains I had flagged as possibly new species. When I saw one of them was the same genus as the new microbe found in Taiwan, I realized this was an opportunity to describe them both together." So Shelomi emailed Kyria Boundy-Mills, curator of the Phaff Collection, “who had my old specimen revived and shipped across the Pacific.”
Analysis confirmed two new species. The result: A research article published April 19 in the International Journal of Systemic and Evolutionary Microbiology. The title:“Chryseobacterium oryctis sp. nov., Isolated from the Gut of the Beetle Oryctes rhinoceros, and Chryseobacterium kimseyorum sp. nov., Isolated from a Stick Insect Rearing Cage.”
Han named his species after the beetle he found it in. Shelomi named his species (which he found in Eurycantha calcarata, commonly known as the "Giant New Guinea Stick Insect” or “Thorny Devil Stick”) after his former bosses. The suffix -orum in kimseyorum indicates that the name honors both Kimseys. “Officially one cannot name a microbe after more than one person, but there is precedent, so the (journal) editors allowed it. My grad student wanted to name her microbe after her dog, BaBa, but the editors did not allow that. Spoil-sports!”
Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator of the Bohart Museum, relayed the news to a tour group visiting the insect museum on April 20. “I just used this story today with a tour group,” she told Shelomi. “I mentioned how your student was denied her dog's name. I love how this ties the Bohart and the Phaff Yeast collection together and then California and Taiwan.”
As for the stick insect, “It's pretty aggressive for a walking stick,” Lynn Kimsey said, noting that Andy Engilis, curator of the UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, told her about his work in Papua New Guinea. “These walking sticks would actually chase rodents out of their burrows and take over the burrows to rest in,” she related. “That's pretty tough for a walking stick.”
Meanwhile, the Kimseys are enjoying their new namesake. LynnKimsey already has seven other species named for her:
- Mystacagenia kimseyae Cambra & Wasbauer 2020 (spider wasp)
- Oligoaster kimseyae Soliman 2013 (tiphiid wasp)
- Exaerate kimseyae Oliviera 2011 (orchid bee)
- Spilomena kimseyae Antropov 1993 (solitary wasp)
- Manaos kimseyae Smith (argid sawfly)
- Spintharina kimseyae Bohart 1987 (cuckoo wasp)
- Neodryinus kimseyae Olmi 1987 (dryinid wasp)
Bob Kimsey has as at least two species named for him: Acordulacera kimseyi Smith, 2010 (sawfly) and Grandiella kimseyi Summers & Schuster (mite).
Shelomi, a Harvard University graduate who received his doctorate from UC Davis in 2014, served as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Germany for two years before accepting a faculty position in 2017 at National Taiwan University.
Shelomi returned to UC Davis in 2017 to present a seminar on "Revelations from Phasmatodea Digestive Track Transcriptomics,” to the department.
Bob stole the show.
Picture this: UC Davis forensic entomologist Robert “Bob” Kimsey is portraying “Dr. Death” inside Briggs Hall during the 109th annual UC Davis Picnic Day, but just outside the building, another Bob is grabbing the spotlight.
That would be Bob, a two-inch long American cockroach, Periplaneta americana, competing in the Roach Races.
"Roach Bob" is part of the colony that "Dr. Bob" inherited from the late entomology emeritus professor Charles Judson (1926-2015).
Every year someone names a roach “Bob” to honor the colony keeper.
The reddish-brown roaches race inside a tubelike track. An air pump, emitting "a gentle breeze," encourages them to leave the starting gate and head for the finish line--all six legs flying.
This year Bob, Speedster and Charlie proved to be crowd favorites.
“We rotate the roaches so they don't get too stressed from the heat, but Speedster definitely lived up to its name,” said Roach Race coordinator Taylor Kelly, a doctoral candidate in the lab of medical entomologist/geneticist Geoffrey Attardo, associate professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
“Bob was a definite winner,” said race announcer-roach handler Iris Quayle, a first-year doctoral student in the lab of Jason Bond, the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and associate dean, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “I don't think the crowd knew they were naming a cockroach after Bob Kimsey but it worked out well. And the aptly named Speedster gave everyone a run for their money!”
Kimsey's wife, Lynn Kimsey, a UC Davis distinguished professor and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, also is honored annually with a roach named “Lynn.” Last year her namesake won a few races; this year, no.
“We had audience members be our Roach Coaches--they encouraged the roaches to run with a gentle breeze of air,” Taylor said. “Later on in the day, we had a very speedy roach named Charlie that clinched 4 rounds back-to-back. Charlie was named by a youngster participating as his Roach Coach. He named the cockroach after his little brother.”
“At the beginning of the day we had some near-escapees and definitely elicited some screams from the crowd when one managed to get free,” Iris said, “but Taylor and I were too fast and were able to get them all back into the colony in the end. We also had some stubborn racers who didn't want to leave their racing tube after the competition.”
Some spectators asked Iris what the experience was like. “I did get a few questions about if I was okay holding them, and if I was scared I would get sick, but once I explained that this was a maintained colony by the college and that cockroaches are only as dirty as their environment, people came around and were even willing to give the racers a little head pat for good luck.”
In between races, the announcers asked if anyone wanted to pet a cockroach. They did, and took cell phone images and videos, too. “It was fun to let folks give the roaches a little head pat, a lot of folks said they seemed more cute after getting up close and personal,” Kelly said. “I hope folks loved roaches a little more after the races!”
Did anyone ask to take one home? “No, but we had many people complain that they already had too many lurking at home,” Taylor quipped.
Taylor was a member of the 2022 UC Davis Entomology Games team that won the national championship at the Entomological Society of America meeting. She also won the 2022 Student Leadership Award from the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America (PBESA) for her leadership in STEM and entomological activities.
Iris recently won first place in the doctoral student research competition at the 2023 PBESA meeting, held in Seattle. Her presentation, “Colorless but Never Dull: Unraveling Population Genetics and Color Evolution in ‘White' Darkling Beetles (Onymacris),” was her first-ever scientific presentation. Iris served a year as a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Post-Baccalaureate Students (NSF-REPS) in the Bond lab before being accepted into the doctoral program in 2022.
Kimsey, an associate adjunct professor and lecturer since 1990, has served as the master advisor for the animal biology (ABI) major since 2010 and an ABI lecturer since 2001. He also serves as the UC Davis Entomology Club advisor. He annually co-chairs the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's Picnic Day activities with a member of the Entomology Graduate Student Association (EGSA). This year he co-chaired the event with doctoral student Grace Horne of the lab of urban landscape entomologist Emily Meineke.
Youngsters--and the young at heart--headed over to Briggs Hall during the 109th annual campuswide UC Davis Picnic Day to create art masterpieces--masterpieces involving maggots.
Using forceps, the artists dipped a maggot in water-based, non-toxic paint and let it crawl around a piece of white paper. Or they guided it. Different color? Different maggot dipped in a different paint.
What a conversation piece! And perfect for framing or posting on a refrigerator door.
Maggot Art has been a traditional part of the UC Davis Picnic Day since the early 2000s.
Rebecca O'Flaherty, a former graduate student of UC Davis forensic entomologist Bob Kimsey's, coined the educational teaching curriculum, "Maggot Art," back in 2001 when she was studying at the University of Hawaii. She was rearing blowflies for her forensic research and wanted an activity to draw the interest of elementary school students. She also wanted to generate interest and respect for forensic entomology.
Her Maggot Art quickly drew national interest. The CSI television show featured one of her works, “Ancient Offering,” which hung on the permanent set in Gil Grissom's office.O'Flaherty also exhibited her work at art shows, including a two-month exhibition at the Capital Athletic Club, Sacramento, in 2007.
And the maggots at the 2023 UC Davis Picnic Day? "The maggots are Calliphora vacinia, the blue bottle fly," Kimsey said. "Realize that there are likely close to 100 species that can be called blue bottle flies. This particular one is very large as an adult and has huge larvae that are perfect for Maggot Art."
"Although at certain times of the year, it is active in California, particularly around cities, it is not as common as others and I do not have a colony," Kimsey added. "There has been a lot of very famous research in entomology done on this species, particularly at University of Massachusetts and Harvard under Vincent Dethier, whose research has provided profound insights into human biology."
The Department of Entomology and Nematology ordered the maggots from Knutson's Sporting Goods, an Internet purveyor based in Brooklyn, Mich., which sells them as live fish bait and as research tools.
Or Maggot Art....