It's an annual workshop held at the Southwestern Research Station (SWRS) in Portal, Ariz. for conservation biologists, pollination ecologists, and other biologists "who want to gain greater knowledge of the systematics and biology of bees," according to organizer Jerome Rozen Jr. of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), New York.
AMNH launched the course at SWRS in 1999. This year's nine-day workshop will take place Aug. 25-Sept. 4.
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, has been teaching at the workshop since 2002. Thorp, who received his doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley, served on the UC Davis faculty from 1964 to 1994, but although he officially "retired" in 1994, he never really did. He continues his research, writings and bee identification at his office in the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.
Frankly, we at UC Davis don't know what we'd do without him. Thorp maintains a massive educational, research and public service work that brings national and worldwide pride and distinction to UC Davis. No one can say “pollinators” without thinking of Thorp. For example, MacArthur Foundation Fellow Claire Kremen, a conservation biologist with the UC Berkeley Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, said she would never have attempted her much-cited Yolo County pollinator project without his expertise. He not only helped develop the protocol, but he identifies all the species—about 60,000 of them since 1999.
Robbin Thorp will turn 80 years young during The Bee Course. Shhh--don't tell anyone. (P.S., he says it's okay to "tell.")
Thorp and his colleague John Ascher, an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore and research associate at the American of Natural History, New York, and a key scientist at BugGuide.Net, were working today at the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis. We captured a quick image of them (below).
Ascher, who received his doctorate in entomology from Cornell University, has taught at The Bee Course since 2004.
The Bee Course textbook is The Bee Genera of North and Central America, Michener, C.D., R.J. McGinley and B.N. Danforth, 1994, Smithsonian Press.
Why in Portal, Ariz.? It's one of the richest bee faunas in North America.
All the instructors are volunteers. In addition to Rozen, Thorp and Ascher, the 2013 team includes Stephen Buchmann of Tucson, who received his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis; James H. Cane and Terry Griswold of the USDA-ARS Bee Biology and Systematics Lab at Utah State University, Logan; Lawrence Packer of York University, Toronto, Canada; and UC Davis alumnus Ronald McGinley of Dewey, Ill. (he obtained his doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley and then worked at Harvard University and the Smithsonian before joining the Illinois Natural History Survey).
The participants, usually around 22, come from all over the world. They will return home with a collection of properly labeled bee specimens--and a comprehensive knowledge about bees.
From the website: The course "emphasizes the classification and identification of more than sixty bee genera of North and Central America (both temperate and tropical), and the general information provided is applicable to the global bee fauna. Lectures include background information on the biologies of bees, their floral relationships, their importance in maintaining and/or improving floral diversity, inventory strategies, and the significance of oligolecty (i.e., taxonomic floral specialization). Field trips acquaint participants with collecting and sampling techniques; associated lab work provides instruction on specimen identification, preparation and labeling."
And the course significance: "The field of pollination ecology explores the reproductive biology of plants in general, including the biotic and abiotic agents associated with pollination and seed-set. This is of interest for basic research and understanding of world communities and also has significant practical impact as it relates to pollination of economically important crop plants, to survival of endangered plants, and to plant reproduction in threatened habitats. Pollen is moved between receptive flowers by wind, water, birds, bats, beetles, flies, etc., but the 20,000 species of bees worldwide play a dominant role in the sexual reproduction of most plant communities. This course will empower students with 1) the confident use of The Bee Genera of North and Central America, 2) an appreciation for the biological diversity of bees, and 3) sufficient background to learn more about bees and investigate pollination and conservation problems with greater insight."
Said Thorp: "It is a great experience for students to interact with instructors and especially with their peers from around the world. Instructors all donate their time to teach in the course, but benefit from the chance to get together with colleagues and a new cohort of interesting students each year. Every class is different. that is, it takes on its own personality, and each student brings something new and different to the mix."
Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, located at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, UC Davis campus, knows that a Halloween party isn't a party without the appropriate butterfly, ladybug and honey bee costumes.
After all, the museum houses a global collection of more than seven million specimens (and some live insects, including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas).
The Bohart Museum Society party, held tonight (Thursday), drew scores of costumed folks who enjoyed the camaraderie, the refreshments, the gift shop, the specimens and the "live petting zoo." Toward the end, they took time to bash a mosquito pinata, made by Brittany Nelms, a PhD student within the Entomology Graduate Group with a designated emphasis in Vectorborne Diseases. William Reisen of the Center for Vectorborne Diseases, serves as her major professor.
Mosquitoes are meant to be bashed.
UC Davis entomology graduate student Emily Bzdyk arrived as a butterfly, with her face intricately painted. Entomology graduate student Danielle Wishon, who studies with forensic entomologist Bob Kimsey and won the 2011 UC Davis Undergraduate Award in Entomology, selected a maggot theme.
Forensic entomologist Bob Kimsey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology dressed in a ghillie suit. And his wife, Lynn, the museum director and professor of entomology? She followed through with an Alcatraz theme (Bob does fly research on Alcatraz and is known as the "Fly Man of Alcatraz.")
When it was all over, Honey Lovers candy donated by Gimbal's Fine Candies of San Francisco, spilled out of the split mosquito pinata as the eager crowd dashed for the goodies.
On Sunday, Oct. 30, the Bohart Museum will host a free pre-Halloween open house for the public. It will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to the best insect costumes (youth and adult divisions) and the best insect tattoo.
And, oh, yes, there will be another blood-sucking mosquito to bash in the form of a pinata.
If you’re a first-year graduate student in entomology, you spend much of your time buried in books or conferring with your major professor.
Emily Bzdyk, who is pursuing her doctorate in entomology at UC Davis, does that, too--and more.
She's heavily involved in art.
Two of her art works will be shown at the “Bees at The Bee” art show from 3 to 8 p.m., Saturday, May 8 in the Sacramento Bee’s open courtyard, 2100 Q St. The event, sponsored by The Bee, features bee-themed art from talented artists within a 12-county area.
Art show coordinator Laurelin Gilmore of Sacramento said a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the art will benefit honey bee research at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.
In other words, the artists are donating to UC Davis honey bee research.
Emily Bzdyk, a native of Long Island, N.Y. who grew up in Round Hill, Va., said she's always loved insects. “I raised caterpillars and other bugs as a kid.”
In high school, she helped monitor aquatic stream health, and led a team.Then it was on to St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a public honors college, where she majored in biology and minored in studio art and environmental studies. Her senior thesis? A Guide to Native Plants of Historic St. Mary's City, which she also illustrated.
Emily, now working on her doctorate of entomology at UC Davis, is researching “the revision and biological life history of Litomegachile, a subgenus of leafcutter bees found all across the United States."
She works closely with her major professor, Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, and with three other entomologists who form her guidance committee: Tom Zavortink, Robbin Thorp, and Neal Williams.
And art? Emily has pursued art all her life. She photographs insects (and other subjects), creates earrings, sculpts, paints and draws.
”I enjoy any artmaking process--really.”
At St. Mary’s College of Maryland, she honed her skills by enrolling in a scientific illustration course, and interned at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., where she completed a drawing of a beetle, for a new species description, for Alexander Konstantinov.
Last month she finished creating the illustrations for a beginning beekeeping book written by retired UC Davis apiculturist-professor Norman Gary. It will be published later this year.
The May 8 bee art show is Emily Bzdyk's next project. She contributed a framed 8x10 pen-and-ink drawing of a leafcutter bee, Megachile centuncularis, and a framed 8x10 photo, titled "Yellow Bee Face," of a male Valley carpenter bee.
Emily also will offer her bee earrings (below) at the art show--and maybe other items.
A salute to Sacramento Bee and artist Laurelin Gilmore for making this all happen--a benefit for the bees.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, which houses more than seven million insect specimens at its facility on the University of California, Davis campus, has extended its hours to include several weekends.
The first will be Saturday, Feb. 13 from 1 to 5 p.m., and the theme focuses on Valentine's Day.
The theme? "What Is a Kissing Bug?"
The Bohart Museum, located at 1124 Academic Surge, also will be open on two other Saturdays and a Sunday. Think St. Patrick’s Day, UC Davis Picnic Day and Mother’s Day.
“The weekend openings are in response to working people and parents who can't visit us during the week,” said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart's education and outreach coordinator.
“For these events we'll be highlighting some of the animals at the Bohart which get overlooked,” Yang said. “On Feb. 13, we’ll let the kissing bugs have their 15 minutes of fame.”
On Sunday, March 21, in keeping with St. Patrick’s Day, the theme is “What Has Six Legs and Is Green All Over?” Hours are from 1 to 5 p.m.
Saturday, April 17 is the traditional UC Davis Picnic Day, when the Bohart will be open throughout the day.
Saturday, May 8 will be “Moth-ers Day,” an event focusing on moths from 1 to 5 p.m.
The Bohart is open weekdays, Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., and is closed on Fridays. Group can arrange tours by contacting Yang at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-0493 or (530)-752-9464. “Due to limited space, groups need to call ahead and book a tour other than on the weekend openings,” she said.
The Bohart Museum, founded in 1946 by the late Richard M. Bohart (1912-2007), a noted entomologist and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, is directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
Dedicated to teaching, research and service, the museum houses the seventh largest insect collection in North America. The museum's "petting zoo" includes live insects such as Madagascar hissing cockroaches, tiger hissing cockroaches (also from Madagascar), mantids, and assorted walking sticks and walking leaves.First-year graduate student Emily Bzdyk, who studies at the Bohart with major professor Lynn Kimsey, is among those intrigued by all the insects there, including the tiger hissing cockroaches (Gromphadorhina grandidieri). (Bzdyk is also a very talented artist and photographer.)
It’s a comfortable life.
Eat, sleep and mate. And then eat, sleep and mate again.
Madagascar hissing cockroaches are a popular attraction at the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis. The museum, directed by entomologist Lynn Kimsey, professor and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, houses more than seven million insect specimens from all over the world.
The "hissers" are part of the Bohart's go-live "petting zoo."
They're large. They're colorful. And they communicate, in part, by hissing.
Beetle enthusiast Fran Keller, a doctoral candidate in entomology, is not particularly fond of the roaches. Emily Bzdyk, a first-year graduate student, is.
You can tell by the photo below.
The hissers, native to Madagascar, can reach 2 to 3 inches in length and in nature, live on the forest floor. Read more about them on the National Geographic Web site.
The Bohart Museum, located in 1124 Academic Surge and founded in 1946 by the late Richard M. Bohart, former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, is dedicated to teaching, research and service.
For more information on the Bohart Museum, visiting hours, and guided tours, contact education and outreach coordinator Tabatha Yang at (530) 752-0493 or email@example.com.
Yes, you can pet a hisser.