Did you see "Dr. Bob" in Briggs Hall during the UC Davis Picnic Day last Saturday?
Forensic entomologist Robert "Bob" Kimsey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology held forth in 122 Briggs, explaining forensic entomology to curious visitors and not-so-curious visitors. He and his graduate student/forensic entomologist Alex Dedmon fielded scores of questions.
Meanwhile, in the courtyard across the hall, all ages engaged in maggot art. They dipped a maggot in non-toxic, water-based paint, and let it crawl around on a piece of white paper. Voila! Suitable for framing!
Kimsey, master advisor in the Animal Biology program and an adjunct professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, was recently named the faculty recipient of the 2019 Walker Advising Awards, sponsored by the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Elvira Galvin Hack, staff advisor in the Animal Biology program, won the staff advisor award. They will be honored at a May 2 ceremony, along with peer advisor Mirella Lopez of Animal Science, announced Susan Ebeler, associate dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES). The annual awards honor excellence and innovation in academic advising.
Kimsey received both his bachelor's degree and doctorate in entomology from UC Davis. His wife, Lynn Kimsey, a UC Davis professor of entomology, directs the Bohart Museum of Entomology on campus.
Briggs Hall, home of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will turn into a bugfest during the 105th annual UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 13.
Think cockroach races, maggot art, and bee and ant displays, to name a few.
The Briggs Hall activities will take place from 9 a.m. to around 4:30 p.m., announced co-chairs Robert Kimsey, forensic entomologist, and Brendon Boudinot, president of the Entomology Graduate Student Association and a doctoral student in Professor Phil Ward's ant lab. Picnic Day is free and family friendly.
For the cockroach races, participants can pick their favorite "roach athlete" and cheer it to victory. These are husky American roaches.
For maggot art, participants will dip a maggot into water-based, non-toxic paint and position it on paper and let it crawl. Voila! Maggot art, suitable for framing.
Bees? There will be a bee observation hive from the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. And there's the ever-popular honey tasting, at which visitors can sample varietals of honey. The honey tasting event has been nominated for a people's choice UC Davis Picnic Award.
Ants? Graduate students from Professor Phil Ward's lab will talk to visitors about the amazing world of ants. (Ants enjoy picnics, too!)
Among the other scheduled events at Briggs Hall:
- Bug Doctor: The Doctor Is In: Graduate students will identify insects and arachnids and answer questions
- Virtual Reality Bugs: Medical entomologist Geoffrey Attardo will set up a virtual reality system to enable people to view three dimensional models of insects. In VR, the models can be made to look life size, 40 feet tall or anywhere in between, he says. Here's the link that to view them in your web browser: https://skfb.ly/6xVru
- IPM Booth: UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program professionals will discuss and answer questions about insect pests, beneficial insects and pest control. They will display their publications and live insects. In keeping with tradition, they will give away free lady beetles (lady bugs), to be released in gardens to devour aphids and other soft-bodied insects.
- Mosquito Abatement: Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District professionals will staff a booth
- Dr. Death: Forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey will staff his traditional Dr. Death booth, inviting the visitors to ask questions and look through microscopes.
- Davis Fly Fishers: The anglers will demonstrate fly-tying techniques in Briggs 158
- Aquatic Insects: Professor Sharon Lawler's lab will display a number of aquatic insects.
- Scavenger Hunt: Participants will search for and identify insects.
- Insect Face Painting: Entomology Club members will face-paint bees, butterflies, lady beetles and other insects
- T-Shirt Sales: Visitors can take their pick or picks among insect-themed t-shirts (popular t-shirts include beetles and honey bees) Selection and prices are online at https://mkt.com/UCDavisEntGrad/
- Bake Sale: The Entomology Club will offer insect-themed baked goods.
Bohart Museum of Entomology. Meanwhile, over at the Bohart Museum of Entomology (Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane), activities will abound from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The theme is "Will Travel for Bugs: The Bohart Museum of Entomology's Collections From Around the World." Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator, said that "At the Bohart, we are focusing on the various countries from around the world and some of their insect fauna." The 12 countries that the Bohart is highlighting are Australia, Belize, Democratic Republic of Congo, Korea, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Republic of South Africa, Turkey and the United States. The museum houses nearly eight million insect specimens, a gift shop and a live "petting zoo." Visitors will be invited to "vote for the Bohart" for a people's choice award. (See more on yesterday's Bug Squad for highlights.)
A QR code, linked to the voting survey, will be displayed at Briggs Hall and the Bohart Museum. Or folks can vote here from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. April 13.
Theme of the UC Davis Picnic Day celebration is "Adventure Awaits."
Insects (compliments of the UC Davis Department of Entommology and Nematology), await, too.
The occasion: The traditional fly-tying demonstrations by the Fly Fishers of Davis in Briggs Hall, University of California, Davis, during the campuswide Picnic Day celebration.
The group promotes the art of fly fishing and engages in community education and conservation. Another aim is to protect the state's natural resources.
Or, as the Fly Fishers point out on their website: "A 501(c)(4) non-profit organization with 100 plus members that is dedicated to teaching people about fly fishing, swapping yarns about fishing, sponsoring fly fishing outings, conservation and generally enjoying the fine art of fly fishing."
The club usually meets at 7:30 p.m. on the last Tuesday of each month at Frances Harper Junior High School, 4000 Covell Blvd. That's subject to change when they hold their dinners, fundraisers, picnics and other functions.
What happens at the meetings? As the Fly Fishers point out:
- A raffle of fly fishing items.
- A guest speaker who usually narrates a PowerPoint presentation covering some aspect of fly fishing.
- Occasional silent auctions and equipment swaps.
- A library of videos that members can sign out for a one month period.
- A table full of fly fishing club newsletters and magazines for browsing.
- Updates on where to fish, club activities, outings and trout conservation projects.
- Lots of BS (Back-Slapping) yarn-spinning, good fellowship (and womanship too).
And you know how some anglers are prone to telling whoppers about the one that got away? A fish so big that it boggles the imagination--and exceeds the length of outstretched arms? Not to worry. The Fly Fishers' rule (tongue in cheek): "Absolutely NO stretching of the truth is tolerated...EVER."
So, on Saturday, April 18, during the 104th annual UC Davis Picnic Day, we watched Fly Fisher member Dave Driscoll of Vacaville, a retired Solano County deputy district attorney, show Steven Mao, 7, of Davis, how to tie a fly.
Little Steven was so absorbed that he never noticed the photographer or heard the shutter lick.
When Driscoll finished the demonstration, he handed the fly--in a safe plastic container--to Steven to take home. That's what the Fly Fishers do. And why the Picnic Day Committee is so grateful for their time, talents, and generosity.
Steven's smile said it all.
Bruce Hammock, distinguished professor at the University of California, Davis, who holds a joint appointment with the Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, annually hosts a water balloon battle for his lab members and staff.
It amounts to 15 minutes of aim (not fame) and it takes place on the Briggs Hall lawn, off Kleiber Hall Drive. Only 15 minutes? That's how fast the water warriors can toss 2000 water balloons.
Researcher Christophe Morisseau, who organizes the annual funfest, says this year's event will take place at 3 p.m., Friday, July 21.
Hammock's lab and staff are international. They're from Canada, Ukraine, France, China, Sweden, Japan, Germany, Korea, Uruguay and the Netherlands, besides the United States. They are post docs, researchers, graduate students, visiting scholars, visiting graduate students, visiting summer students, short-term visiting scholars and student interns.
They will fill 2000 water balloons, place them in plastic tubs, and at 3 p.m., they begin. But just when you think it's all over, it's not. Any water remaining in the buckets will be splashed on unsuspecting water warriors.
Hammock launched the annual event in 2003 as a form of camaraderie and as a means of rewarding the lab members for their hard work. Other professors and their labs are invited to join in.
After the 15 minutes of aim, it's clean-up time. The water warriors leave refreshed (especially in triple-digit temperatures) and the thirsty lawn isn't as thirsty.
Highly honored by his peers (but a target at the annual water balloon battle), Hammock is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, which honors academic invention and encourages translations of inventions to benefit society. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the Entomological Society of America, and the recipient of the Bernard B. Brodie Award in Drug Metabolism, sponsored by the America Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. He directs the campuswide Superfund Research Program, National Institutes of Health Biotechnology Training Program, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Combined Analytical Laboratory.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a bug worth?
That question was neither asked nor answered at the 103rd annual UC Davis Picnic Day, a campuswide open house, held April 22, but just about everything else was!
Let's take a look back at all the bug activities at Briggs Hall, home of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. (We previously posted a UC Davis Picnic Day blog about the bugs at the department's Bohart Museum of Entomology).
Graduate student Brendon Boudinot, who is studying for his doctorate in entomology (working with major professor and ant specialist Philip Ward), chaired the Picnic Day Committee in between classes and ant research.
For some interesting alliteration, you could say "Brendon Boudinot's Bugs at Briggs."
Several thousand visitors climbed the Briggs Hall steps to
- cheer on the cockroach races (yes, cockroaches move fast!)
- participate in maggot art (dip a maggot into non-toxic, water-based paint and create a drawing. The term Maggot Art was coined by forensic entomologist Rebecca O'Flaherty, former UC Davis graduate student)
- watch fly-tying by the Fly Fishers of Davis
- observe the aquatic insects from the Sharon Lawler lab
- sample honey compiled by Extension apiculturist Elina Niño of the department's Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility (this exhibit won a special award, determined by popular vote)
- explore the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program tables (where the staffers displayed publications and gave away lady beetles, aka ladybugs)
- ask questions of The Bug Doctor (graduate student Ralph Washington Jr.); Dr. Death (forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey; the Nemotode Guy (Corwin Parker), and the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District (fight the bite)
- buy insect-themed t-shirts from the Entomology Graduate Students' Association (see website for sales)
- get their face painted by the UC Davis Entomology Club
- sample chocolate chirp cookies (think cricket!)
- greet ants (and uncles, too)
- pose as a cockroach, bee or fly behind the cutout boards
- marvel at the 40-foot-long black widow spider, which won the UC Davis Entomology Club the prize of "best float from an organization" at the UC Davis Picnic Day Parade
- take lots of selfies!
How many people trooped up the Briggs Hall steps? At least 3000.
How many bugs did they see? Hundreds and hundreds.
The cost? Free.
The memories? Priceless!