If Lynn Kimsey, who directs the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis, had her say, the Asian giant hornets would NOT be nicknamed “the murder hornets.”
Kimsey, professor of entomology with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and a past president (twice) of the International Society of Hymenopterists, will headline the Bohart Museum's virtual open house (Facebook Live) from 11 a.m. to 11:45 on Friday, May 22. It's the first-ever virtual open house; you can access it and ask questions on the Bohart Facebook page.
The theme is bees and wasps, so Professor Kimsey expects a number of questions about those obscure Asian giant hornets detected last fall in Canada and Washington state, the first confirmed sightings in North America. (One colony was detected and destroyed on Vancouver Island in September, and a single dead adult was found in Blaine, Wash. in December.
However, a news frenzy ("murder hornets are invading North America!") and considerable panic ensued.
So we asked Kimsey (she's granted six news media interviews on murder hornets to date), “What would you call them?”
“I'd just call them giant hornets,” she said matter-of-factly.
And then, in typical Kimsey humor, she deadpanned: “Or big, angry, orange-headed hornets!”
Meanwhile, the Bohart folks' unannounced test drive on Facebook Live earlier this week drew some unexpected participants and a few questions, such as:
- Do mantids often prey on hummingbirds?
- Why are some beetles metallic in color?
- What California beetle is attracted to fresh paint?
"On the website we will have a coloring sheet of the Asian giant hornet drawn by our scientific illustration intern Meghan Crebbins-Oats, an undergrad at UC Davis.”
The Bohart also will celebrate Linnaeus' birthday anniversary. Linnaeus (1707-1778), a Swedish taxonomist and physician known as "the father of modern taxonomy," was born May 23.
UC Davis doctoral student and Bohart associate Charlotte Herbert Alberts, who maintains strong ties to Sweden and taxonomy, thought that a traditional Swedish Fika with Kanelbullar to discuss taxonomy and Linnaeus would be "perfect."
"Hopefully people will be inspired to make some cinnamon buns, color, and think about names for Jason's new spider." (UC Davis professor Jason Bond discovered a new genus in Monterey County and is seeking a species name. (See Bug Squad blog about the spider and where to submit names.)
"The kanelbullars are not overly sweet and the dough is infused with cardamon," said Yang, who baked them for her family this week. They were a big hit.
Meanwhile, Kimsey is ready for lots of questions Friday morning on Facebook Live.
Don't be too surprised if she's asked about that "big, angry, orange-headed hornet."
We missed it, too. So did the ants and other insects.
The Department of Entomology and Nematology annually hosts dozens of popular Picnic Day events at Briggs Hall and at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. But this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, “closed” was the word of the day.
"Closed." It's not a popular word when you're craving to show your audience the wonderful world of insects.
However, this year the campuswide Picnic Day Committee hosted a virtual tour of some of the planned events, and posted this link: https://picnicday.ucdavis.edu/virtual/
The spotlight paused on the Bohart Museum, which houses nearly eight million insect specimens; the seventh largest insect collection in North America; the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity; and a live “petting zoo” comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, tarantulas and the like. It also is the home of a gift shop, stocked with T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
Directed by UC Davis entomology professor Lynn Kimsey for 30 years, the museum is named for noted entomologist Richard Bohart (1913-2007). The Bohart team includes senior museum scientist Steve Heydon; Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator; and entomologist Jeff Smith, who curates the Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths section).
If you browse the Bohart Museum site, you'll find fact sheets about insects, written by Professor Kimsey.
But if you want to see the Bohart Museum's virtual tours, be sure to watch these videos:
- Director Lynn Kimsey giving a Bohart Museum introduction
- Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator, presenting an arthropod virtual tour
- Diane Ullman, professor of entomology and former chair of the department, presenting a view of the Lepidodpera section.
Also on the UC Davis Virtual Picnic Day site, you'll learn “How to Make an Insect Collection," thanks to project coordinator James R. Carey, distinguished professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology; and "Can Plants Talk to Each Other?" a TED-Ed Talk featuring the work of ecologist Rick Karban, professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Other research work that draws widespread attention at the annual UC Davis Picnic Day is the work of UC Davis medical entomologist-geneticist Geoffrey Attardo, assistant professor of entomology. A global authority on tsetse flies, he specializes in reproductive physiology and molecular biology, in addition to medical entomology and genetics.
"Female tsetse flies carry their young in an adapted uterus for the entirety of their immature development and provide their complete nutritional requirements via the synthesis and secretion of a milk like substance," he says. PBS featured his work in its Deep Look video, “A Tsetse Fly Births One Enormous Milk-Fed Baby,” released Jan. 28, 2020. (See its accompanying news story.)
PBS also collaborated with the Attardo lab and the Chris Barker lab, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, for a PBS Deep Look video on Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits dengue fever and Zika. The eggs are hardy; "they can dry out, but remain alive for months, waiting for a little water so they can hatch into squiggly larvae," according to the introduction. Watch the video, "This Dangerous Mosquito Lays Her Armored Eggs--in Your House."
In the meantime, the UC Davis Picnic Day leaders are gearing up for the 106th annual, set for April 17, 2021. What's a picnic without insects?
Those who painted rocks at the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology open house on Saturday, Jan. 18 were not just rock artists. They were rock stars, painting creative, inspirational and seasonal illustrations.
A sign on the table, staffed by entomologist Ann Kao of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (2019 alumnus of UC Davis), urged: "Paint a Rock!" The directions:
- Please choose a rock
- Be creative, you can write a kind message on it
- You may keep it or hide it somewhere outside
And that they did. They selected a smooth river rock and made it their own. They painted everything from butterflies, ants, and spiders to rainbows, smiles and the sun. Indeed, some of the critters looked like new species of arthropods just waiting to be named.
The artists hid some of the rocks on the UC Davis campus. They are likely to wind up on the Facebook page, UC Davis Rocks, which encourages folks to paint rocks, hide them, and then post the images. The Bohart rocks will join other images on the Facebook page, including such resident rocks as "When All Else Fails, Hug the Dog" to "Take the Next Step" to "You Are Loved."
One talented rock artist at the Bohart Museum chose a Valentine's Day theme, painting two "Love Bugs”--a honey bee and a ladybug. The colorful rock now resides in the office of director Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis. It's right next to her microscope where she will 'scope the real Apis mellifera and Coccinellidae species and other insects.
If you look on the Internet, you'll find some creative, inspirational and downright humorous rocks:
- "Life Is Short; Eat the Cupcake"
- "A Laugh Is a Smile that Bursts"
- "Papa Was a Rolling Stone"
- "Be a Rainbow in Someone Else's Cloud"
- And this two-sided rock: On one side, a simple three-word request, "Turn Me Over," and on the other side, a 10-word admonishment: "You Just Took Orders from a Rock. Are You Stoned?"
Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator, coordinated the open house, which showcased the research of six doctoral students: Charlotte Herbert Alberts, Yao Cai, Alexander Dedmon, Zachary Griebenow, Crystal Homicz and Ann Holmes. (See Bug Squad blog).
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane and founded by noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007), houses a global collection of nearly eight million insect specimens; a live "petting zoo" that includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas; and a gift shop stocked with books, insect-themed t-shirts and sweatshirts, jewelry, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy. The insect museum is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m., except on holidays. More information on the Bohart Museum is available on the website at http://bohart.ucdavis.edu or by contacting (530) 752-0493 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hmmm....did we say the "Bohart Museum houses a global collection of nearly eight million insects specimens?" Correct that! Make that "a global collection of nearly eight million insect specimens and one local Love Bug rock."
'Tis the season of giving, and the ninth annual UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day, set for Saturday, Feb. 15, needs donors.
Make that "urgently needs donor pledges." The pledge deadline of Jan. 6 looms.
The free, science-based public event drew more than 4,000 visitors in 2019. It's always held the Saturday of Presidents' Weekend. Displays range from ancient dinosaur bones to stick insects; from hawks to honey bees; and from California condor specimens to carnivorous plants.
Visitors of all ages can meet and talk with UC Davis scientists—from undergraduates to staff to emeriti professors—“and see amazing objects and organisms from the world around us,” said volunteer chair Tabatha Yang, who is also the education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
Sponsors (two openings available) who donate $3000 will receive “Presenting Sponsor” recognition (donor name or company logo) on the T-shirts, as well as recognition on social media fliers, fliers, banners and other entities.
Other contributors are “Biodiversity Allies” or $1500 donors (four openings available); “Biodiversity Supporters” or $500 donors, and “Biodiversity Friends” or $100 donors. General supporters, who can give what they can any time of the year, are also needed. More information on how to give is on the UC Davis Biodiversity Museum website. All donations are tax-deductible and much appreciated, the organizers said.
Open to the public on Feb. 15 will be:
- Arboretum and Public Garden
- Bohart Museum of Entomology
- Botanical Conservatory
- California Raptor Center
- Center for Plant Diversity
- Department of Anthropology Museum
- Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven
- Marine Invertebrate Collection (not linked)
- Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology
- Nematode Collection
- Paleontology Collection
- Phaff Yeast Culture Collection
- Viticulture Enology Culture Collection
The 13 museums or collections represent nine departments, all within walking distance on campus except the Raptor Center on Old Davis Road and the bee garden on Bee Biology Road. The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology will showcase three museums or collections: Bohart Museum of Entomology, Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, and the Nematode Collection.
Founded in 2011, UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day is billed as an annual event for the public to learn about nature, science and the work of UC Davis around the globe. The science-based day focuses on natural history showcasing the university's critically important, research and teaching collections, the committee related. Many students attend Biodiversity Museum Day to gather information on career choices.
All participating museums and collections have active education and outreach programs, but the collections are not always accessible to the public. In the event of rain, alternative locations are planned for the outdoor sites.
For more information on sponsors, contact Charlie Lemcke, assistant director, Foundation and Corporate Engagement, at email@example.com or (530) 754-4102.
It was a great day to get acquainted with insects and arachnids and learn how to raise them.
And the nearly 300 visitors did just that at the recent UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology open house, "Arthropod Husbandry: Raising Insects for Research and Fun." The guests held the critters, photographed them, and asked questions of the scientists.
At first they didn't see the praying mantids reared by entomologist and UC Davis alumnus Lohit Garikipati. They were there, all right, but camouflaged amid the leaves and branches.
The five species of mantids Garikipati displayed included a tropical shield praying mantis, Choeradodis stalii, also known as a hooded mantis or leaf mantis, and a spiny flower praying mantis, Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii.
UC Davis entomology student Andrew Goffinet, a former UC Davis Bio Boot Camper, discussed rearing butterflies and moths. He showed the visitors a display of Gulf Fritillaries, caterpillars and a chrysalis.
Entomology alumnus Nicole Tam, showed her beetle-mimicking roaches and talked about rearing insects in the Geoffrey Attardo lab. Doctoral student and Bohart associate Ziad Khouri explained how to rear tarantulas and millipedes. Entomology student Ben Maples kept the crowd interested with the "hissers"--Madagascar hissing cockroaches.
Jeff Smith, who curates the Lepidoptera section, and naturalist Greg Kareofelas, opened the drawers of butterflies and moths. Entomology student Ian Clark staffed the family crafts activity, assisting youngsters in making decorated finger puppets from Seker-donated silkworm cocoons.
Entomologist Ann Kao, a 2019 UC Davis graduate and newly employed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, crafted and displayed her insect jewelry.
Tabatha Yang, educational and outreach coordinator, coordinated the open house. The Bohart crew also included Bohart associates Emma Cluff, James Heydon, Brennen Dyer and Xiaofan Yang.
Special guests included 40 students from the Samuel Jackson Middle School and the James Rutter Middle School, Elk Grove Unified School District, in a program offering special educational opportunities and mentoring. The youths wore t-shirts lettered with "The Power of Us" on the front, and "Resilient, Authentic, Passionate" on the back.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology, houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It is also the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum.
In addition to the specimens, the Bohart Museum maintains a live "petting zoo," featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks or stick insects and tarantulas. The museum's gift shop, open year around, is stocked with T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.