When the Bohart Museum of Entomology hosts an open house on "Household Vampires" from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 23, activities will take place both inside and outside.
Inside? The presenters will talk about mosquitoes, bed bugs, fleas and ticks in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. They will show live insects and specimens and field questions.
Outside? The latest news is the family arts and crafts activity.
Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator, announced the the arts and crafts activity "will highlight two collecting techniques."
- 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
Inside, the presenters will include:
- 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-Yo;o Mosquito and Vector Control District. They will discuss mosquitoes and their program
- 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.
Professor Attardo, who maintains a lab website on Vector Biology and Reproductive Biology at http://attardo-lab.com, and chairs the Designated Emphasis in the Biology of Vector-Borne Diseases, will display some of his mosquito images, including a blood-fed Aedes aegypti, and a female and male Culex tarsalis. Alex Wild, a UC Davis doctoral alumnus and curator of entomology, University of Texas, Austin, will display an image of mosquito larvae that currently hangs in Briggs Hall, home of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. Wild's insect images can be viewed on his website, https://www.alexanderwild.com.
The Bohart Museum, directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens; a live petting zoo (including Madagascar hissing cockroaches and stick insects); and an insect-themed gift shop stocked with books, posters, T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts and jewelry.
Bohart Museum to Spotlight Household Vampires (UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, Sept. 14, 2023)
Fleas? Ticks? Bed bugs? Mosquitoes?
The Bohart Museum of Entomology will host an open house, themed "Household Vampires," from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 23 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. It's free and family friendly. Parking is also free.
One of the presenters ready to answer your questions about mosquitoes is 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, who also specializes in reproductive physiology and molecular biology.
In the Attardo lab, Edwards focuses her research "on investigating the physiological mechanisms underlying pyrethroid resistance in Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito)."
She was a McNair scholar at Baylor University, where she completed her undergraduate degree in cell and molecular biology in May 2021. "I got interested in the mosquito field through my undergraduate research of studying the sensory and oviposition responses of Aedes aegypti in relation to the compound geosmin," Edwards related.
"When I am not in the lab, I enjoy getting involved with my local community by helping out and doing outreach," Edwards said. This past summer she helped the city of Lubbock, Amarillo, and the Texas Public Health Department by identifying mosquitoes for West Nile surveillance. She also served as the outreach chair for the Texas Tech Association of Biologists during her masters' degree pursuit and enjoyed being a mentor for first-generation students.
"In my free time, I like getting coffee with my friends, running (currently training for the California International Marathon), and trying new crafts and recipes."
Attardo will be displaying images of mosquitoes. An image of mosquito larvae by UC Davis doctoral alumnus and macro photographer Alex Wild, curator of entomology at the University of Texas, also will be displayed.
Open house attendees can view the butterfly specimen collection, curated by entomologist Jeff Smith, and get acquainted with live Madagascar hissing cockroaches and stick insects, part of the Bohart Museum's insect petting zoo. A family arts-and-crafts activity is also planned.
The Bohart Museum, founded in 1946, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens. It also maintains an insect-themed gift shop. UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, a UC Davis alumna, directs the museum.
- Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator, wore a green mantis costume to greet guests and show them the Madagascar hissing cockroaches and stick insects in the live petting zoo
- Guest Kevin Murakoshi of Davis (UC Davis alumnus) gifted the museum with intricate origami mantises that he crafted from "mantis green" paper--one sheet per mantis.
- Guest Ian Alexander Levin of Sacramento displayed his enlarged images of mantises, including one of a mantis eating a bee that drew "oohs" and "aahs."
- Skylar Primavera, who studied praying mantises while attending UC San Barbara (bachelor's degree in biology, 2020) displayed a live mantis as well as life-cycle models (ootheca to the adult), and answered questions about the predatory insect.
- Sol Wantz, UC Davis entomology senior and president of the UC Davis Entomology Club, displayed a European mantis that she borrowed from a UC Davis garden
Guests viewed display drawers of both native and non-native mantises. At least 9 species of mantises in California, according to one display.
Five are native:
- The Arizona or bordered mantid (Stagmomantis limbata)
- Bistanta mexicana
- California mantid (Stagmomantis wheeleri=S. californica)
- Litaneutria ocularis=Litaneutria obscura
- Small gray mantid (Litaneutria pacfica)
Four are introduced:
- Chinese mantid (Tenodera sinensis)
- European mantid (Mantis religiosa)
- Mediterranean mantid (Iris oratoria)
- South African mantid (Miomantis caffra)
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, plus a live petting zoo and an insect-themed gift shop. The insect museum was founded in 1946 by Professor Richard Bohart of the UC Davis Department of Entomology (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology).
(Editor's Note: Tomorrow's Bug Squad blog will feature the creative kids and the creative staffer at the family arts-and-crafts activity.)
It's about this yellow-legged hornet detected in Savannah, Ga., the first live species of Vespa velutina reported in the United States.
UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, and the 2002-24 president of the International Society of Hymenopterists told us late last week: "This isn't the murder hornet. It's a slightly smaller species--Vespa velutina. It's about the same size and I think biology as the already established Vespa crabro, which has been in the southeastern U.S. for more than a century. Anything is possible as far as introductions go, but I think it's unlikely that it could establish since it is also native to regions with wet summers. I suspect it got into Georgia through one of the ports. Hitchhiking in/on cargo containers is too easy. Savannah takes in an estimated 4.5 million cargo containers annually. Its actually astonishing that more things don't make it in."
Kimsey, known for her expertise on wasps and other Hymenoptera, is accustomed to fielding questions from the news media. Praveena Somasundaram of the Washington Post interviewed her for an Aug. 18 piece, Invasive Hornet with "Reputation for Targeting Honey Bees Seen in U.S.
Though it is too early to tell how the yellow-legged hornet was introduced and whether it will be able to establish itself in the ecosystem, its presence in the state could have a “potentially huge” impact on Georgia's beekeepers, said Lynn Kimsey, an entomology professor at the University of California at Davis.
Bee colonies could be at risk if more yellow-legged hornets are found in Georgia. A honeybee colony is “basically a giant waffle of protein” for yellow-legged hornets, Kimsey said.
“There's so much food there,” she said. “So for a colony of these big hornets, honeybees would be fair game, and that's their reputation.
The Smithsonian Magazine, one of the first to call attention to the insect, headlined its news story, "Invasive Yellow-Legged Hornet Spotted in the United States for the First Time," and added a subhead, "The insect, detected in Georgia, can snatch bees from the air while hunting, posing a threat to native pollinators and agriculture."
The Georgia Department of Agriculture posted on its website: "The yellow-legged hornet poses a threat to honeybees and other pollinators in our state. These pollinators play a significant role in Georgia's agriculture industry, the state's main economic driver, and it is imperative that these invasive pests are tracked and eradicated. We are working with USDA APHIS and UGA to trap, track, and eradicate these pests and will continue to assess the situation as new information becomes available and allocate additional resources as need."
The insect, native to Southeast Asia, was accidentally introduced to Europe, Japan and South Korea. It was first detected in France in 2004--probably arriving in pottery boxes. It then became established throughout most of Europe. The hornets build egg-shaped nests.
According to Wikipedia, the hornet "significantly smaller than the European hornet. "Typically, queens are 30 mm (1.2 in) in length, and males about 24 mm (0.95 in). Workers measure about 20 mm (0.80 in) in length. The species has distinctive yellow tarsi (legs). The thorax is a velvety brown or black with a brown abdomen. Each abdominal segment has a narrow posterior yellow border, except for the fourth segment, which is orange. The head is black and the face yellow."
In its native range, the hornet mainly hunts Apis cerana, the Eastern honey bee. Bees there suffocate the hornet by balling it.
Will the Western honey bee, Apis mellifera, be able to cope if the yellow-legged hornets become established? The threat is real.
An enthusiastic crowd is expected at the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 27 in Room 1124 of Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, University of California, Davis. It's free and family friendly. Parking is also free.
We asked praying mantis expert and entomologist Lohitashwa "Lohit" Garikipati what fascinates him about mantises. He's a UC Davis alumnus (bachelor of science degree in entomology, 2019) who's wrapping up requirements for his master's degree at Towson University, Towson, MD. Next career goal: obtain his doctorate.
During his undergraduate years at UC Davis, Garikipati displayed many of his mantises at the Bohart open houses, and answered scores of questions. He won't be attending the open house Sunday, but he'll be there in spirit!
"What's fascinating about them... hard to pick just one thing!" Garikipati wrote in an email. "If I had to choose it would be their general awareness about the environment they are in. They are always watching, always waiting, and adjust their posture, behavior, and movement based on various environmental stimuli. They engage in some of the most interesting predatory behaviors; pouncing, lunging, spearing (yes, spearing!) and sometimes throwing themselves off of perches to secure potential prey. Few flightless predators can catch prey out of the air on the wing but many specialized species are more than capable of doing so. They are the insect equivalent of cats in many ways, but with some weird adaptations!"
His studies are going well. He's describing a new species from the southwestern United States--"that paper should be out by the end of the year. hopefully!"
A native of Pleasanton, Calif., Garikipati says he's been interested in praying mantises since elementary school. “I started rearing native species in the 5th grade,” he recalled. (Read about his trip to Belize)
Mantises Related to Cockroaches. Scientists tell us that the closest relatives of mantises are cockroaches and termites, and that the mantises probably evolved from cockroach-like ancestors.
Gardeners know them as ambush predators with triangular heads, bulging eyes, and spiked forelegs.
Their diet? Basically any arthropod they can catch. We've seen them devouring monarchs, Western tiger swalowtails, skippers, honey bees, longhorned beee, syrphid flies, green bottle flies, and even a lady beetle (aka ladybug).
Late this afternoon we spotted a Stagmomantis limbata perched on a yellow zinnia in our Vacaville garden. Nearby were two crab spiders feeding on bees, one a honey bee and the other a longhorned bee.
Just you wait, the mantis seemed to say. It's just a matter of time.
Open House. "Bring a live praying mantis to show and share (and to bring back home) and have your name entered into a raffle for a Bohart t-shirt of your choice! The mantis can be a purchased pet or one you found outside," says Tabatha Yang, Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, founded in 1946 and directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens; a live petting zoo, including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas; and an insect-themed gift shop, stocked with books, posters, collecting equipment, t-shirts, hoodies, jewelry and more. More information is available on the website or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org).