You may not know it, but you've eaten insects.
Oh, yes, you have.
The other day I meandered over to the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis campus, and a sign told me that.
There it was--plain as day (as if a day can be plain). "In your lunch, you probably eat more insects than you realize," the sign read. It went on to quote the Food and Drug Administration, that veritable institution that protects our eating habits--or tries to.
If you eat 100 grams of chocolate, you will also eat 80 insect fragments.
If you eat 100 grams of ground cinnamon, that means 800 insect fragments.
And 100 grams of macaroni? That would be 100 insect fragments.
Are you fond of mushrooms? Eat 100 grams of mushrooms and you'll also be eating 20 maggots. Bon Appétit!
So you like pizza? In every 100 grams of pizza sauce there are 30 fly eggs or two maggots.
Insects are everywhere.
They're probably even on the sign.
(Note: The Bohart Museum of Entomology, directed by Lynn Kimsey, is at 1124 Academic Surge. It houses more than 7 million specimens and is the seventh largest insect museum in North America.)
The "headgear" was actually a Giant New Guinea Walking Stick crawling up the face of Eric San Gregorio, an undergraduate student majoring in entomology at UC Davis.
The occasion: the Bohart Museum's "Happy Halloween" open house on Thursday, Oct. 23.
See, the Bohart Musuem at 1124 Academic Surge, UC Davis, not only houses seven million specimens (it's the seventh largest insect museum in North America) but it also showcases live critters--like Madagascar hissing cockroaches, giant spiders and walking sticks.
About the Giant New Guinea Walking Stick (Eurycantha calcarata): it's from the order Phasmatodea and is native to New Guinea. It can grow up to six inches long. It's covered in spines. The males have large spikes on their back femurs while females have a larger abdomen ending in an oviposter, or egg-laying organ.
The walking stick dines on bramble, rose and guava.
It does not dine on little children.
Janice Calvento, 7, of Sacramento loved the honey bees, the honey tasting, the bee observation hive and just about everything else at the open house.
She did not like the walking stick walking up Eric's face.
(Note: an article on the Bohart Museum open house, with photos, will appear in the next edition of the Bohart Museum Society newsletter)
There they sat, a row of jack o'lanterns ready for a light.
Undergraduate students at the University of California, Davis, created them for the "Happy Halloween" open house, held Oct. 23 at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, 1124 Academic Surge, UC Davis.
All that the oranges globes needed: someone with a match.
Outreach education program coordinator Brian Turner obliged, lighting the three jack o'lanterns: a butterfly, a dragonfly and a bee. (Me thinks the honey-bee jack o'lantern was really a jill o'lantern.)
Honey bees--the queen bee, workers and drones--drew eager interest at the open house. Visitors admired a honey bee observation hive, learned about bees, and tasted honey. Even royal jelly. So, what does royal jelly taste like, this food of queen bees? It tastes like you want another taste of clover honey. Quick.
Visitors also checked out the Madagascar hissing cockroaches, giant New Guinea walking sticks and assorted spiders as they sampled chicken wings, shrimp, fruit and cookies.
The museum, named for prominent entomologist Richard Bohart (1913-2007), was founded in 1946. Directed by Lynn Kimsey (who also serves as chair of the Department of Entomology), the museum is known for having the seventh largest insect collection in North America. It houses some seven million insect specimens.
And now, three jack o'lanterns.
C’mon, you know you want one.
Who wouldn’t want a horror skull stress ball to relieve the tension of today's world?
Here's what you do. Take one stress ball. Place it in the palm of your hand and squeeze. From the eyeball socket pops out a membrane of assorted bugs. Or worms, frogs, rats or centipedes.
It’s definitely a conversation piece, and it’s yours for only $7 in the Bohart Museum of Entomology gift shop at the
If the skull stress ball doesn’t sound like your main squeeze, try the ant candy, larvettes and crick-ettes. Lollipops appropriately named “Cricket-Lick It” are a new item and they're sugar free, just what the dentist ordered. Butterfly candy is also new.
"We sell insects to eat as candy or sweet treats and people are amazed that you can actually eat insects," said Fran Keller, a doctoral candidate in entomology who's based at the Bohart.
Among the other items available in the gift shop (both online and at the museum) are dragonfly and monarch butterfly t-shirts, insect posters, magnets, and insect collecting nets.
Besides the specimens, the Bohart also showcases live critters, including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, tarantulas (including a rose hair) and a fiesty black Brazilian spider that's just moulted.
The museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey--who also chairs the Department of Entomology--is dedicated to teaching, research and service.
The Bohart Museum is open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays. Educational outreach program coordinator Brian Turner arranges the group tours.
For more information telephone
Some folks wear their heart on their sleeve.
Others wear a dragonfly on their chest.
As part of its public outreach education program and to showcase the world of insects, the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the
The t-shirt, designed by entomology doctoral candidate Fran Keller, features the white-belted ringtail, also known as a gomphid dragonfly, from the family Gomphidae.
UC Davis undergraduate student William Yuen, a part-time employee at the Bohart, traced the insect from a photo taken by
The dragonfly also appears on the Bohart’s “California Dragonfly Poster,” the work of Keller and Kareofelas.
“William is an excellent artist, a brilliant student, a hard worker and has worked in the museum for two years,” said Keller. “I wanted to immortalize him and his talent and for his contributions to the museum.”
“This drawing is so precise you could identify this dragonfly by its wing venation,” Keller said. The insect order (Odonata), family, species name and common name appear beneath the wing.
Keller said more than 5000 species of dragonflies exist worldwide. “Dragonflies don’t harm people; they don’t bite or sting,” she said.
What else about dragonflies?
- Female dragonflies lay their eggs in or near water.
- They beat their wings about 30 beats per second (bps), compared to a honey bee’s 300 bps
- In both their larval and adult stages, dragonflies eat mosquitoes. The larvae eat mosquito nymphs and other insects. As adults, they grab mosquitoes and other insects in mid-air.
Proceeds will benefit the Bohart’s insect outreach education program. The museum, directed by entomologist Lynn Kimsey, chair of the Department of Entomology, is home to more than seven million specimens.
For more information, see http://bohart.ucdavis.edu/ or contact the museum at (530) 752-0493.