Cultural entomologist Emmet Brady, host of the Insect News Network, a Davis-based program on radio station KDRT 95.7 FM, is planning something special on Friday, Nov. 14 in Nevada City and you're all invited.
It's called "Cross Pollination: a Microcosmic Journey and it's a live filming segment on the art and the science of the microcosm, complete with decor, multimedia projections, interactive installations and costumes-- to showcase what Brady calls "the amazing designs, habits and beauty of insects, spiders and flowers."
Folks are invited to dress as their favorite insect, spider or flower to celebrate a gathering of the insect tribe.
The event footage will then be webcast in January for the Bee-A-Thon 4, an annual event to raise awareness about honey bees, pollinators and the importance of the microcosm.
The event will take place from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Miners' Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring St., Nevada City. For more information, access the specially created Facebook page.
Brady says Love and Light, Pega5u5 (Mr. Rogers and Pharroh), Ra So, Sambadrop, and Eminent Bee will be among the entertainers, with microscopic visuals by Sonik Galixsee.
If you dressed up as an insect, spider or flower costume for Halloween, no problem. You can resurrect your costume.
Or just create something special. Expand on the idea of butterfly wings worn by UC Davis entomology graduate student Christine Melvin at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. The wings were a popular attraction last month as visitors to the UC Davis insect museum tried on the wings and pretended to be monarchs on their migration to overwintering sites along coastal California and in central Mexico.
"He did," said cultural entomologist Emmet Brady, host of the Insect News Network.
The occasion: a UC Davis dinner honoring Berenbaum, professor and head of the Department of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Berenbaum had just finished speaking at the UC Davis Conference Center on the honey bee crisis and the next day would deliver a talk on "Sex and the Single Parsnip."
At the dinner, Brady gifted Berenbaum with an Insect News Network t-shirt. He hosts the popular show on the Davis radio station, KDRT 95.7 FM.
The conversation, however, soon turned to the lettering on the back: "I am dying by inches from not having anybody to talk to about insects..."--Charles Darwin, 1828.
Did he say that?
Yes, he did.
In a letter penned June 12, 1828 to his second cousin, clergyman William Darwin Fox (1805-80), Charles complained he had no one to talk to about insects. He started the letter with "My dear Fox." Not "Will" or "Willy" or "William" or "Cuz" but "My dear Fox."
The "I-am-dying-by-inches" quote followed.
In reality, many entomologists feel the same way. Not because they have no one to talk to, but many folks don't listen. Here they are enthusiastically talking about the biology of their favorite insect only to see their "listeners" stifling a yawn, picking imaginary lint off a sleeve, gazing at their watch, or nowadays, checking their cell phone for messages.
Well, doesn't everyone have a favorite insect? And shouldn't everyone be interested in the biology and life cycle of the long-nosed bee fly, the salt marsh tiger beetle, the Madagascar sunset moth and other critters?
Emmet Brady yearns to get people talking about insects. He hosts a show from 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and from noon to 1 p.m. on Fridays. (You can also listen online.) In addition, Brady hosts the Bee-A-Thon, a global online marathon dedicated to raising awareness about honey bees and other pollinators. He also sponsors a "Bug of the Year" contest, urging people to vote for their favorite bug. (This year the long-nosed bee fly won a hair.)
Brady works closely with the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, co-founded and co-directed by entomologist/artist Diane Ulllman and self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick. He's presented such talks as "Insects Run the Planet—Humans Are Only Along for the Ride" and "Cultural Entomology: A New Horizon for the Arts and Sciences."
As for May Berenbaum, she's an icon in the entomological world and will serve as president of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America in 2016. She's a a talented scientist, dedicated researcher, dynamic speaker, creative author, and an insect ambassador who wants people to overcome their fear of insects.
And now, the proud owner of a t-shirt calling attention to her favorite subject: insects.
But there is a "bee" in its name. It's the "long-nosed bee fly."
I once captured an image of that curious critter in the Storer Garden, UC Davis Arboretum (see below)
"This nominee is a personal favorite of the team @ The INN for it is bodacious!," Brady wrote on the INN website. He broadcasts INN on Wednesdays from 4 to 5 p.m. and Fridays from noon to 1 on KDRT 95.7 FM, Davis. You can also listen online.
"Long-nosed bee flies (Bombylius major) stay low to the ground are highly territorial and are easy to track," Brady wrote. "Unlike the majority of glyciphagous dipterans, the bee flies feed on pollen (from which they meet their protein requirements). A similar trophic behavior occurs among the hover flies, another important family of Diptera pollinators.
"Watching these flies argue over a flower or a patch of plants is pure enjoyment for the whole family. While the Bombyliidae include a large number of species in great variety, most species do not often appear in abundance, and for its size this is one of the most poorly known families of insects. There are at least 4,500 described species, and certainly thousands yet to be described. So if you pay attention and plant the right flowers, you may be able to create a Citizen Science project that is a little Hollywood and a little Natural History Museum. You might even discover a new species, and then you can name it whatever you want!"
The first runner-up? The honey bee. Interesting that the long-nosed bee fly and the honey bee were "neck and neck" for awhile.
Brady is delighted that the bee fly won because it's a fairly unknown and unusual bug--a bugs that doesn't get much attention.
As for the honey bee, it's "the perennial candidate for the Bug of the Year (BOTY)," Brady says, acknowledging that the honey bee "perhaps the most important insect to human civilization."
So, bee fly, first. Honey bee, second.
Here's the top 10:
1. Long-Nosed Bee Fly
2. Honey bee
3. Kirk Jellum’s Praying Mantis Sculpture from Burning Man
4. The Monarch Butterfly
5. Madagascar Sunset Moth
6. Ogre-Faced Spider
7. Elephant Hawk-Moth Caterpillar
8. Mirror Spider
9. Salt Marsh Tiger Beetles
10. Orchid Bee
You know which of the 25 nominees for Bug of the Year came in dead last?
The mosquito! It's "not last but not least..." It's "last and definitely least."
Nobody likes the mosquito.
That should be easy to do. There's so much to say.
Entomologist/artist Diane Ullman, associate dean for undergraduate academic programs in the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and professor of entomology, will be interviewed for an hour-long program on the Insect News Network, a Davis-based radio station, on Wednesday, March 20.
Emmett Brady, founder of the Insect News Network, KDRT 95.7 FM, and host of the “Wednesday Science Doubleplay,” said he will dedicate the entire hour from 5 to 6 p.m. to discussing Ullman’s unique and inspiring career.
"We will explore Ullman’s innovation in academics and education: from her pioneering efforts in the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program to her specialty: thrips."
The Art/Science Fusion Program, founded and directed by Ullman and her colleague, self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick, connects art to science, and science to art.
Brady also will examine the emergence of cultural entomology as a key discipline of the 21st Century and “how careers in science are being re-defined as scientific technology continues to res-shape the modern world.”
For the first hour (4 to 5 p.m.) of the “Wednesday Science Doubleplay” show, Brady will explore “the world of insects, beyond the creepy and the crawly to the fun, the fascinating, the profound and even the sublime.”
Just recently Ullman, along with a team of eight other investigators from six institutions, received a five-year, $3.75 million grant from the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, United States Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, to develop and implement a national scientific and educational network to limit thrips-caused crop losses.
Meanwhile, listen to Diane Ullman's Tedx seminar. And then tune in to Insect News Network to hear an amazing entomologist, artist and administrator.