- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The popular cockroach races, hosted by the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Student Association (EGSA), will take place during the 107th annual UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 17, but you'll see them only on your computer screen--not in person.
That's because the 2021 Picnic Day is going virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic precautions.
EGSA Picnic Day coordinator Erin "Taylor" Kelly, a graduate student in the laboratory of medical entomologist-geneticist Geoffrey Attardo lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, says the American cockroaches are housed in the basement of Briggs Hall and ready to go.
No personal trainers for them. "They will be pushed down the track by small pumps of air," she says.
Enthusiasts can cheer for their favorite racers and order stickers and roach race t-shirts from the EGSA website, which helps fund EGSA activities.
Where can you access the EGSA events on Saturday? On the UC Davis Picnic Day website at https://picnicday.ucdavis.edu
Here are the EGSA's 14 stations on tap. The links will all appear on the UC Davis Picnic Day website on or before April 17.
This is a live Zoom session from 12 noon to 3 p.m., with questions and answers. Folks can ask questions about insects and spiders.
EGSA T-Shirt Sales
Livestream on Zoom, 11 a.m. to 12 noon
Viewers can join a Zoom room and watch the American cockroaches race to victory.
Live Zoom session with questions and answers, from 10 to 11 a.m. with Cooperative Extension specialist Ian Grettenberger, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. A downloadable worksheet will be available.
Apre-recorded video by Professor Richard Karban, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, an expert on plant communication. The video is at https://youtu.be/xOXSqy05EO0
A pre-recorded video on "The Wonderful World of Nematodes" by nematologist Steve Nadler, professor and chair, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Apre-recorded video by ant lab of Professor Phil Ward, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. Graduate students in the Ward lab will talk about their ant research. A downloadable coloring sheet will be available.
This will include links to all of the department-based KQED videos and a downloadable cooring sheet.
Professor Sharon Lawler, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will offer a pre-recorded video, adapted from her live lil' swimmers exhibit. She will display water striders, dragonflies and damselflies and discuss their biology.
A downloadable PDF from the lab of Professor Neal Williams, pollination ecologist, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. This involves whether bumble bees can take the heat: "Will the increase in extreme heat in California affect these cool-weather loving pollinators and their ability to persist?" This UC Davis research group is trying to figure this out. Folks can help them conduct this work by submitting observations of bumble bee nests in the Davis/Sacramento area so that monitoring efforts can begin gathering critical data.
A pre-recorded video. Learn about the Davis Fly Fishers Club.
A downloadable worksheet will be offered.
This will be pre-recorded/reposted video from the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito Control District. Folks can learn about local vector control.
"For my presentation on mimicry within Lepidoptera, it will briefly mention camouflage and spend most of the time on mimicry for defense--mimics of toxic or distasteful species, mimicry using odors or sounds, mimics of snakes or spiders, and mimics of non-food materials such as bird feces," Smith said.
The Bohart Museum, temporarily closed, is directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
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.