Have you ever seen an ambrosia beetle, a red turpentine beetle, an ice cricket, a brine fly or a sand wasp?
You will if you attend the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology open house on “Extreme Insects: Fire and Ice,” on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 19.
The public event, to take place from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane, is free and family friendly. It will emphasize "fire and insects."
“There are a number of species that are specifically attracted by smoke to damaged trees,” said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis. “Wildland fire fighters hate them because some of the beetles fly at them, crawling into their turnouts and biting them. Fire insects include jewel beetles, some horntail wasps and a few others."
In addition to fire insects, Kimsey said that the Bohart open house will cover other insects adapted to extremes:
- Ice: ice crickets and ice flies, both native to California
- Extreme acid: midges that live only in highly acidic mine run-off
- Hot water: midges found in hot springs just below the boiling point
- Salt: the brine flies of Mono Lake.
- Desert: sand wasps
Regarding the beetles that attack the firefighters, these are “The flatheaded borers (Buprestidae) and they will actually nip the firefighters as they land,” said chemical ecologist Steve Seybold with the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Davis, and a lecturer/researcher with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Insects that like ethanol/burned phloem include the red turpentine beetle, the ambrosia beetles, the "sour cambium" beetles, and some of the larger woodborers, Seybold said. “These are the 'undertakers' of the trees, if you will. Certain bark and ambrosia beetles specialize in colonizing burned tissue that gives off ethanol as a sign of fermentation. These insects wait until things have cooled off a bit before they bore into the trees."
"Often when you visit a burned area," Seybold said, "you'll see piles of white dust coming out of the trees that have blackened bark. This dust is made by ambrosia beetles--and other larger woodborers--that can make use of the carbon that is still present in these moribund trees. Ambrosia beetles 'consume' this carbon indirectly by farming fungi in their galleries. The fungus serves as a conduit for the nutrients in the wood. Some of the larger woodboring insects have other adaptations like specialized enzymes that degrade cellulose or hemicellulose."
Seybold called attention to an article titled “Attraction of Melanophila Beetles by Fire and Smoke,” authored by noted beetle expert E. Gorton Linsley (1910-2000) and published in April of 1943 in Scientific Notes, the Journal of Economic Entomology. Linsley, who received his doctorate from UC Berkeley in 1938, wrote that thousands of cigarette smokers at the UC Berkeley football games were complaining of beetles swarming into the stadium and biting their hands and necks.
The smoke on "still days sometimes hangs like a haze over the stadium during a big game," wrote Linsley, identifying the beetles as Melanophilaconsputa Lec. and M. acuminata (family Buprestidae). M. consputa is commonly called “the charcoal beetle.”
Linsley also reported receiving "complaints from sawmill operators, fire fighters and smelter plant workers regarding annoyance by buprestid beetles of the genus Melanophila. These beetles appear to be greatly stimulated by heat and attracted by smoke. They normally breed in fire-scarred pines and under ordinary conditions, they are rarely encountered in nature. However, on hot days during the dry season, especially in late summer and fall, they sometimes fly in unbelievable numbers to forest fires, burning refuse dumps, refineries, smelter plants, etc.”
Wildfires continue to rage in California. As of Aug. 13, the 5,255 California wildfires this year have burned 958,812 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the National Interagency Fire Center. To date, the still-active Mendocine Complex fire, the largest wildfire in California history, has charred more than 344,000 acres.
The Bohart Museum open house also will include a family craft activity involving extreme insects. The museum houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens and is the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. It also houses a live "petting zoo" of Madagasar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, tarantulas and praying mantids, and a year-around gift shop, stocked with T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum's regular hours are 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. More information on the Bohart Museum is available on the website or by contacting (530) 752-0493 or emailing email@example.com.
Not UC Davis animal biology major Crystal Homicz, treasurer of the UC Davis Entomology Club.
"Cupcake" is the name of her six-month-old praying mantis that she exhibited at the Bohart Museum of Entomology last Saturday during the seventh annual Biodiversity Museum Day.
The adult mantis is a Rhombodera megaera, native to southern China and Thailand, Homicz told the crowd.
The species is one of the largest mantises in the world; it can reach 4 to 5 inches in length. However, Cupcake is not that large.
Homicz, a student researcher in Steve Seybold's forest entomology lab, also has the male of this species and hopes to mate it this week. "I've been feeding her lots of flies so I hope the male doesn't lose his head," she said, referring to sexual cannibalism that can occur.
A females can lay about three oothecae (egg cases) in her lifetime. Between 150 to 250 nymphs can hatch from an "ooth."
The Biodiversity Museum Day, featuring 13 collections or museums on campus, drew thousands of visitors exploring the diversity of life, said chair Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology. Seven were open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology; Bohart Museum of Entomology, Raptor Center, Paleontology Collection, Arboretum and Public Garden; Phaff Yeast Culture Collection; and the Viticulture and Enology Culture Collection. Six were from noon to 4 p.m.: Nematode Collection, Botanical Conservatory, Center for Plant Diversity Herbarium, Anthropology Museum, Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven and the Design Museum.
Plans are already underway for the eighth annual Biodiversity Museum Day. The next major campus event is the 104th annual UC Davis Picnic Day, set April 21.
It's about the size of a grain of rice but it's a killer.
That's the walnut twig beetle, Pityophthorus juglandis, which in association with a newly described fungus, Geosmithia morbida, causes thousand cankers disease, wreaking havoc on native black walnut trees.
Enter doctoral student Jackson Audley of the Steve Seybold lab, UC Department of Entomology and Nematology. He will present a seminar on "Protecting Trees from Bark Beetle Attacks Utilizing Semiochemical Repellents: A Case Study with the Walnut Twig Beetle” at a seminar from 4 to 5 p.m., today (Wednesday, Oct. 25) in Room 3001 of the Plant and Environmental Science Building.
The seminar is part of the UC Davis Forest Biology Research Center Seminar Series and his presentation is a preview of his thesis project.
"In this talk I will discuss the theoretical construct of semiochemical repellents for protecting trees from attack by bark beetles and demonstrate the process of developing a repellent tool with my work on the walnut twig beetle, Pityophthorus juglandis, the vector of thousand cankers disease in walnuts," Audley says in his abstract. "Bark beetles can constitute a significant threat to tree health and are a significant disturbance agent in forest ecosystems. Semiochemicals have been successfully utilized to protect individual to stands of susceptible trees from various bark beetle pests. Most of this work has been conducted in coniferophagous bark beetle systems. My work here at UC Davis has been focused on bringing those same techniques into studying an invasive, hardwood-attacking bark beetle system."
Audley received his bachelor's degree in wildlife biology and natural resource recreation and tourism in 2009 from the University of Georgia, and his master's degree in forestry in 2015 from the University of Tennessee. As a master's student, he did research on the walnut twig beetle, including treatment tests.
The walnut twig beetle is believed to be native to Arizona, California, New Mexico and Mexico. In 2006, plant pathologist Ned Tisserat and entomologist Whitney Cranshaw of Colorado State University identified the pathogen in declining black walnut trees in central Colorado. The disease has now spread throughout much of the United States.
"Often the first symptoms of thousand cankers disease (TCD) are flagging and yellowing leaves and branch dieback," says Seybold, one of the pioneering TCD researchers. He is a chemical ecologist with the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Davis, and a lecturer/researcher with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. "Affected branches show sap staining and pinhole-sized beetle holes. Beneath the surface are dark stains caused by the fungus."
"The fungus enters the tree through the feeding or reproductive activities of the beetle, and colonizes and kills the phloem and cambium of the branches and main stem," according to the UC Integrated Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program website, content that's the work of Steve Seybold and entomologist Mary Lou Flint, then associate director of of Urban and Community IPM, and now UC Extension entomologist emerita. The disease gets its name from the large number of dark cankers that rapidly develop on affected branches.
The UC Davis Forest Biology Research Seminars, which began Oct. 11, are held Wednesdays at 4 p.m. in Room 3001 of the Plant and Environmental Science Building.
The remaining schedule includes:
Nov. 1 – Alison Scott, postdoctoral student, UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, “The Polyploid Origin and Evolutionary History of California Redwoods”
Nov. 15 – Brian Smithers, Ph.D student, Ecology Graduate Group, "Mechanisms of Range Shifts in Great Basin Sub‐Alpine Bristlecone Pine Forests."
Nov. 29 – Sarah Bisbing, assistant professor, Forest Ecosystem Science, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, University of Nevada, Reno, "Looking Backward to See Forward: Causes and Consequences of Altered Disturbance and Climate on Western Conifer Forests.”
Dec. 6 ‐ Ryan Tompkins, Forest Silviculturist, U.S. Forest Service/Plumas National Forest, “Sierra Nevada Silviculture in the New World Order: Challenges, Uncertainties, and Opportunities”
For more information, contact David Neale at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or engage in other science/art subjects?
The entry deadline is 5 p.m., Dec. 15, announced entomologist-artist Diane Ullman, UC Davis professor of entomology and co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. Artists selected will show their work in the Pence Gallery from Jan. 26-March 2.
The goals of the exhibition are three-fold: to show creative work that explores the intersection between art and science; to foster communication between the arts and sciences, and to spark new ways of viewing the world and ourselves, according to Ullman and Pence Gallery director Natalie Nelson. The organizers encourage "creative work that transcends pure scientific illustration to explore the conceptional realm where art and science both reside."
All artists and scientists, regardless of residence, can exhibit up to three works. This refers to original 2D and 3D work in any medium, related to the intersection between art and science. It encompasses photography, drawing, textiles, painting, sculpture, video and mixed media. Dimension restriction is at the discretion of the jurors.
Artists will upload their submissions online at http://www.pencegallery.org. A vital part of the submission is the artist's statement--not to exceed 100 words--which should clearly explain how the work relates to the art/science connection. The statement may be displayed with the accepted work. Work must be available for the entire run of the exhibit.
To enter, access http://www.pencegallery.org and click on "Call to Artists" to apply directly to the site. Entry fees are $35 and $40, respectively, for Pence and non-Pence members. Fees will be used for expenses and awards related to the exhibition. No hand-delivered art work will be accepted. Accepted work may be hand-delivered or shipped and insured by the artist to the Pence Gallery, 212 D St., Davis, CA 95616.
Jurors are Jiayi Young, a UC Davis assistant professor of design, and Helen Donis-Keller, Ph.D., the Michael E. Moody Professor of Biology and Art at Olin College of Engineering, Needham, Mass. Both Young and Keller have exhibited nationally and internationally, fusing art with science.
Young holds a master's degree in fine arts (multimedia and painting) from Washington State University, Pullman, Wash.; a master of science in atomic physics from Kansas State University, Manhattan; and a bachelor's degree in fine arts and physics, Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisc. She works in the field of digital media with an emphasis on the cross-disciplinary areas of design, integrating art and science with cutting edge technology.
Keller who integrates the fields of art and biology, holds a master of fine arts in Studio Art from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Tufts University, and a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from Harvard University.
The Consilience exhibit will be displayed in the Pence's Main Gallery's glass tower lit space, measuring 1000 square feet with 12-foot ceilings. The Pence, established in 1975, is a non-profit art gallery. Its mission is to educate and inspire the community by exhibiting high caliber art by local and regional artists, according to director Natalie Nelson.
Dec. 15: Entry deadline online by 5 p.m.
Dec. 28: Notification via email
Jan. 19-20: Drop off between 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., or deadline for shipping arrival
Jan. 26-March 2: Exhibit dates
Feb. 9: Reception from 6 to 9 p.m.,with awards ceremony at 8
March 3-4: Pick up work, 12 to 4:30 p.m.
Sales are encouraged. The Pence Gallery will retain a 50 percent commission on work displayed at the exhibit.
For more information on the exhibit, contact Nelson at (530)-758-3370 or email@example.com/span>
That would be the recent open house at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California, Davis, on "Bark Beetles and Forest Health," coordinated by USDA Forest Service research entomologist/UC Davis affiliate Steve Seybold and his graduate and undergraduate students.
It was definitely a beetle invasion. You couldn't see the Bohart for the trees!
"It was a mixed conifer forest right out of the central Sierra Nevada,” Seybold commented.
“As of last winter, bark beetles had killed 102 million trees in California during the last drought period,” said Seybold, who is a lecturer with the UC Davis Entomology and Nematology. “Tree mortality in the western United States over the past 15 years caused by native bark beetles exceeded 21 million hectares, which surpasses all other disturbances, including fire.”
UC Davis Department of Design emeritus professor and environmental artist Ann Savageau, showcased her wood sculptures patterned with bark beetle galleries. Retired from UC Davis in 2014, she now works as a full-time studio artist.
Visitors marveled at the eight-foot trunk sections of mass-attacked conifers as the scientists peeled back bark to reveal larvae of bark beetles and wood borers in their galleries in the phloem and xylem. Visitors also learned about the development of bark beetle pheromones and their release devices, and the role of semiochemicals (behavioral chemicals) to lure and repel the beetles.
One display station zeroed in on the onslaught of invasive bark and wood boring beetles, including the walnut twig beetle, goldspotted oak borer, and polyphagous shot hole borer, all among California's 25 new invasive species.
The scientists warned that beetle-infested firewood can become a “Trojan horse” when campers unknowingly transport beetles from site to site and spread the pests.
Enlarged aerial photos of southern Sierra Nevada forests--taken by USDA Forest Service Aerial Survey Unit in May and August 2016--hammered home the havoc that bark beetles can and do wreak. Visitors also learned about bark beetles via a computer slide show, and looked at specimens of western pine beetle, pine engravers, and fir engravers through a scanning electron microscope (on loan from Hitachi to the museum). The microscope magnified the specimens 100 times.
A craft table near Ann Savageau's exhibit featured the family craft activity, "Bark Beetle Art." Children traced and colored bark beetle patterns on paper, and also colored bark beetle gallery patterns on wood samples. Then they hung their art as ornaments on "The Bark Beetle Tree," a white fir.
Entomologist Wade Spencer, a UC Davis undergraduate student and an associate at the Bohart Museum, enthralled the crowd by reading Vlasta van Kampen's children's book, “Beetle Bedlam,” about a bark beetle on trial for killing trees in the forest.
Despite the 107-degree temperatures, the open house drew some 110 visitors, representing Davis, Elk Grove, Fairfield, Pinecrest, Redding, Sacramento, South Lake Tahoe, Vacaville, Woodland, and other cities.
Assisting Seybold were Yigen Chen, formerly with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and now with Gallo Wines in Modesto; UC Davis entomology graduate students Jackson Audley and Corwin Parker; UC Davis junior specialist Megan Siefker; UC Davis undergraduate student Crystal Homicz; and graduate student Irene Lona of California State University, Chico.
Representing the Bohart Museum were Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart and UC Davis professor of entomology; senior museum scientist Steve Heydon; Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator; and Bohart associates/volunteers Greg Kareofelas, Wade Spencer, Chloe Stott. Riley Gilmartin, Joel Hernandez, Maia Lundy, amd Alex Nguyen.
Seybold credited Rob York, UC Berkeley Center for Forestry, Blodgett Forest Research Station. for providing infested tree and wood samples for the displays; Jeffrey W. Moore, USDA Forest Service R5 Forest Health Protection, Davis for providing the aerial imagery of California tree mortality; and Ross Gerrard, USDA Forest Service PSW Research Station, Davis, for providing the poster-sized photos and illustrations for the exhibit.
Want to attend the next Bohart Museum open house? It's from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane. The theme is "Insects and U" and it's in keeping with the arrival of UC Davis students for the fall quarter. The open house, a family friendly event, is free and open to the public.
"This purposely coincides with UC Davis dorm move-in weekend," said Tabatha Yang. "Our target audience is new students and their families, but everyone is welcome. The focus is how to study insects at home and in school--any age."
Undergraduate advisor Brandy Fleming will be on hand (tabling) to talk about classes, careers, and fun with entomology.
Yang is also planning a display featuring cabbage white butterflies for educators.
The Bohart Museum is a world-renowned insect museum that houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It also maintains a live “petting zoo,” featuring walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, praying mantids, and tarantulas. A gift shop, open year around, offers T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The insect museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free.