Poet Gertrude Stein wrote in her 1913 poem, "Sacred Emily," that "a rose is a rose is a rose."
Things are what they are. The laws of identity. No matter where I go, there I am.
When I captured this photo last Sunday of a fly on a rose petal, I immediately thought "A fly is a fly is a fly."
Not to an entomologist.
The common house fly (Musca domestica Linnaeus) commonly breeds in manure, compost piles and dumpsters.
The housefly is known to transfer at least 100 different pathogens, and carry about 6.6 million bacteria on its body at a single time, according to UC Davis forensic entomologist and fly expert Robert Kimsey. It's responsible for transmitting both parasitic and bacterial pathogens as well as viruses. Among them: typhoid, cholera and dysentery (bacterial diseases) and infective hepatitis (virus).
It's enough to make you "stop and fell the roses."
It wasn't too surprising.
Reuters posted a story online today about flies spreading drug-resistant "superbugs" from chicken droppings.
Seems that researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, matched bacteria from houseflies and litter from poultry barns in the Delmarva Peninsula, a coastal region shared by Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
They published their findings in the journal Science of the Total Environment
Pesearcher Jay Graham said in a John Hopkins' press release: "Flies are well-known vectors of disease and have been implicated in the spread of various viral and bacterial infections affecting humans, including enteric fever, cholera, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis and shigellosis. Our study found similarities in the antibiotic-resistant bacteria i both the flies and poultry litter we simpled. The evidence is another example of the risks associated withthe inadequate treatment of animal wastes."
They cited a Danish study that indicated as many as 30,000 flies can fly in and out of a poultry house over a six-week period.
The take-home message: The increase in antibiotic-resistant baceria poses a major threat to public health.
UC Davis forensic entomologist and "super fly" expert Bob Kimsey told us last October that the common housefly, which breeds in manure, compost piles and dumpsters, is known to transfer at least 100 different pathogens and carry about 6.6 million bacteria on its body at a single time. It transmits both parastic and bacterial pathogens as well as viruses.
Makes you want to join the "swat team."
It’s Friday, so it must be Friday lite…
When you’re hosting a birthday party for an entomologist, you have to think “bugs.”
That’s the rule. It’s written right there in the
(OK, I made that up.)
When a group of us from the UC Davis Department of Entomology hosted a party today for department chair Lynn Kimsey (in honor of her Feb. 1 birthday), the cake featured a praying mantis, an ant, a beetle, a grasshopper, a wasp, scores of bees, and…er…a cockroach.
Well, it was only ONE cockroach.
Which, I admit, was probably one cockroach too many.
But hey, it was plastic.
Which is what all cockroaches should be.
Fantasy Cakes and Fine Pastries,
The buggy cake drew all “oohs” and “ahs.”
Except for one “yecch.”
That was for the cockroach.
Lynn, who chairs the Bohart Museum of Entomology, home of seven million specimens, is surrounded by insects all day, so she was in her comfort zone.
“That’s the first cake I’ve cut,” she said, “with bugs on it.”
Last year when I was attempting to order a cake at an area bakery for UC Davis forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey (husband of
“You want, what?” the baker said. “Blow flies? Blow flies? You got to be kidding. Anyhow, we’re fresh out of blow flies. No blow flies today.”
Good thing I didn’t ask for maggots.
It's a sad photo.
The antenna of a honey bee pokes out of an abandoned hive. Victim of colony collapse disorder (CCD)? Perhaps.
Everytime I look at the bent antenna, I think of a plea for help. Help me! Help me! Please help me! This bee should have been nectaring flowers or gathering pollen.
This hive once belonged to entomologists Robert and Lynn Kimsey of UC Davis. She's the director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and chairs the Department of Entomology. He's the sole forensic entomologist in the department.
CCD was one of the topics at the eighth annual international conference of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC), held Oct. 22-24 in Washington, D.C.
The participants--farmers, scientists, and environmental advocates--agreed that we need to find ways to increase public awareness of pollinators. Pollinator Partnership chair Robert Lang described the loss of pollinators as "a potential health crisis for the planet."
Scores of beekeepers have witnessed a crisis in an individual bee hive.
Like the one below.
(Like to help with the honey bee research at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis? Access this site.)
UC Davis forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey is a genius, to be sure. Show him a fly and he'll tell you exactly what it is and what it's all about.
I shot this photo at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis. The honey bee looked huge and the fly, tiny. There they were together. (Ah, if you let your imagination run wild, there's a children's book there! Once upon a time, a bee and a fly...)
The fly is a minute black scavenger fly (Scatopsidae). You see these flies around decomposing matter (in this case, dead bees). After all, worker bees live only four to six weeks in the summer. During that time, they encounter all sorts of killers, such as diseases, pesticides, parasites, stress, climate change, intruders, and the mysterious colony collapse disorder).
Kimsey, an adjunct professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology, is known for not only his expertise on flies and his courtroom testimony, but his award-winning teaching. I'm not sure which is the most popular: the CSI television series or Kimsey's classes. (My bet: his classes!)
When I visited a local farmers' market in late September, a UC Davis animal science major mentioned how much she enjoyed his class. "Kimsey, that's it!" she said. "Dr. Kimsey. He's really good."
He is, and he's a genius, too!