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 fair opened Friday, July 13 and continues through Sunday, July 29.
You'll see beneficial insects, such as honey bees and lady beetles (aka lady bugs) and pests that ravage our crops.
"Danger lurks in a backyard garden," a sign informs visitors. "Aphids, cutworms, mealybugs and other pests are preying on your vegetables and flowers. Who's a gardener to turn to for help? Bring in the reinforcements and enlist the aid of Beneficial Bugs that will crusade against the Invasive Species and help keep your pest outbreaks under control. Native plants naturally attract these Beneficial Bugs, equipping your garden with its own pest managers. Low costs and low water--It's a win/win!"
Madagascar hissing cockroaches from the Bohart draw "oohs" and "yecchs." Visitors learn that "these cockroaches inhabit Madagascar, a large island off southeastern Africa. They speed up plant decomposition in their native environment, providing an important ecological service. When provoked, Madagascar hissing cockroaches hiss through their spiracles, the tiny tubes through which insects breathe. Spiracles are visible on adults as tiny black dots on the edges of their bodies."
Another sign meant to engage visitors reads: "If you were a bug, which would you be?" You'll see images of everything from a butterfly to a dragonfly, from a honey bee and lady bug, and from an assassin bug to a praying mantis, not to mention a grasshopper, cockroach, ant, and spider.
- One teenage girl poked her head through the Bug Barn door, glanced at the displays, and dashed off, proclaiming "Bugs give me the creeps!"
- A middle-aged woman declared to all present: "I hate, hate bugs!"
- A preschooler pointed to the butterflies. "Pretty, Mommy, pretty!"
- A toddler left the Bug Barn waving at the honey bees. "Bye, bye, bees!" he said.
The good, the bad and the bugly.
Want to see more insects? The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, UC Davis, is hosting two summer weekend programs, one in August and one in September. hey're free, family friendly and open to the public:
- "Fire and Ice: Extreme California Insects" from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 19
- "Crafty Insects" from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 22.
"For the Aug. 19 open house, we will be exploring extreme insects from the deserts and the mountains of California," said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator. "For Sept. 22 we will be having a two-way museum. We will be displaying crafty--think cunning--insects and we are going to ask people to bring insect crafts that they have made, so all those felted, knitted, carved, and sculpted crafts are welcome. Any and all hand-made, flea-shaped tea cozies are welcomed!"
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses some eight million insect specimens, plus a live "petting zoo" (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, tarantulas and praying mantids) and a year-around gift shop.
There's a donate button on its website. All gifts are tax-deductible.
The Bohart Museum, home of nearly eight million insect specimens from around the world, also has a year-around gift shop (think t-shirts, posters, books, jewelry and insect-collecting equipment) and a live "petting zoo," consisting of about 200 critters, ranging from Madagascar hissing cockroaches to tarantulas to walking sticks.
Directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, the museum is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building. Admission is free. It's open to the public Monday through Thursday, except on holidays. (See calenar on the home page)
A little information about the Bohart Museum, per Lynn Kimsey:
- We connect with nearly 15,000 visitors, both at the museum, in classrooms and through public events
- We identify more than 1000 unknown insects each year, guiding consumers to appropriate and cost-effective control strategies when needed.
- Helping people understand insects and spiders is one of the things we do best
State budget cuts "have a deep impact on the UC system, including the Bohart Museum," Kimsey points out. Here are examples of what donations from $20 to $1000 can mean:
- $20 donation: A teacher can borrow "Oh, My" boxes (educational specimen displays) and live animals to enhance their lesson plans
- $100 donation: New traveling exhibit boxes can be developed to meet the educational needs of teachers
- $200 donation: Bohart educators can visit a school and work with multiple classes to teach them about insects in an engaging hands-on manner
- $1000 donation: This supports an undergraduate student working in the museum for one quarter. With tuition and fees increasing, students need paying jobs. Working in the museum alongside scientists, and learning about insects can be a life-changing experience.
Through donations, the Bohart can better serve the community "and you (donor) may even inspire a new bug lover!" Kimsey says. Folks can also join the Bohart Museum Society; membership has its privileges. In addition, newly discovered insects can be named for a loved one. For more information and details, contact (530) 752-0493 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now you can not only see a stag beetle, you can wear one. In fact, four of them.
Entomologist Stacey Lee Rice won the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Students Association's annual t-shirt design contest with her artistic stag beetle t-shirt that's already a conversation starter. The shirt is available for sale at https://mkt.com/UCDavisEntGrad
Rice, a junior specialist in the lab of Extension entomologist Larry Godfrey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty, says the harmony between nature and insects inspires her art.
The stag beetle t-shirt design not only incorporates her love for stag beetles (family Lucanidae) but illustrates the “geometric patterns that are hidden in the deciduous forests they dwell in,” said Rice, who as a scientist and artist, enjoys fusing science with art.
She loves the complexity and beauty of insects. "I'm captivated by insects' structural biology, ability to evolve over time and the intricate ways in which they communicate,” she said.
A repeat winner, Rice also won the EGSA's 2015 t-shirt contest with her depiction of a wasp riding a penny-farthing or high-wheel bicycle. Both t-shirts, along with scores of other winning t-shirts, are available for sale on the EGA website, https://mkt.com/UCDavisEntGrad
Her research in the Godfrey lab, in collaboration with Ian Grettenberger, postdoctoral research associate, involves investigating the biology and behavioral ecology of the bagrada bug, Bagrada hilaris, an invasive species from Africa. The now widespread stink bug attacks cole crops, including broccoli, cabbage, collards, arugula, cauliflower, kale, and mustard.
“Dr. Grettenberger has taught me how to manage time and stay organized in order to execute an effective research plan,” Rice said, “and I am inspired by his enthusiasm to solve problems.”
“With the support of Dr. Larry Godfrey (Extension entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology), I have been motivated to pursue my Ph.D," Rice said. "I'm grateful for his commitment to fostering my intellectual growth, and dedication to mentoring a young woman scientist in a field where women are frequently underrepresented.”
A native of Roseville, Rice received her bachelor's degree in biological sciences with a minor in medical-veterinary entomology in March 2015. Her career goal, to become a professional research entomologist, stems from her childhood interest in the biological sciences.
“I'm particularly interested in integrated pest management practices that could have real world impact,” Rice said. “By understanding the biology and behaviors of pest insects, as well as their interaction with other organisms, the reliance on heavy pesticide use in agriculture may become minimized and more targeted. “
Rice hopes to enroll in graduate school in autumn 2017. Meanwhile, she continues to share her fascination for insects with friends, family and the Davis community.
For several years, Rice was active in the UC Davis Entomology Club, advised by forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty. “I consider Bob Kimsey as my mentor and friend," she said. "Along with the various projects of the entomology club, he has instilled in me a deep curiosity of the natural world and a strong desire to give back to the community as an entomologist.”
Rice's award-winning t-shirt first went on sale at the Entomological Society of America/International Congress of Entomology meeting, held in early November in Orlando, Fla.
EGSA treasurer Cindy Preto of the Frank Zalom lab is coordinating the t-shirt sales. The themes include honey bees, beetles, a wasp, a moth, weevils (“See No Weevil, Hear No Weevil and Speak No Weevil") and “Entomology's Most Wanted” (malaria mosquito, red-imported fire ant, bed bug and house fly). One of the best sellers is “The Beetles,” mimicking The Beatles' album cover, “Abbey Road.” All proceeds benefit EGSA.
What's a picnic without bugs?
Bugs may be uninvited guests at your family picnic, but at the campuswide UC Davis Picnic Day, set Saturday, April 16, bugs are not only invited, but more than welcome. And so are you, your family and friends. In fact, thousands will be attending the 102nd annual celebration, themed "Cultivating Your Authenticity."
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology is among the departments participating, with activities at Briggs Hall on Kleiber Hall Drive from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and an open house at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Briggs Hall will be the site of a pollination pavillion, maggot art, cockroach races, fly-tying, face-painting, honey tasting, and a bee observation hive, and displays about ants, mosquitoes, aquatic insects and forest insects. The Bug Doctor booth ("The Doctor Is in") will be staffed by faculty and graduate students, while UC Davis forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey, aka "The Fly Man of Alcatraz," will man the Dr. Death table.
The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) will give away lady beetles, aka ladybugs, to kids to take home to their gardens. Lady beetles are beneficial insects and will make short work of your aphids. UC IPM also will provide advice on how to manage home and garden pests with environmentally sound methods.
At the pollinator pavilion, you can get up close and personal with butterflies, bees and other pollinators and learn how to protect our pollinators.
At the maggot art table, youths are invited to dip maggots into water-soluble paint and coax them to "create art" on a piece of white paper. Voila! Suitable for framing. And what a great conversation piece!
At the cockroach races, you are invited to cheer for your favorite roach. Everyone has a favorite roach, don't they?
You can also purchase a popular insect-themed t-shirt from the Entomology Graduate Student Association. Think beetles, bees, and wanna-bees.
Mosquitoes? They're invited, too. The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District will provide an educational exhibit about mosquito abatement.
Another popular exhibit at Briggs Hall is fly-tying by the Fly Fishers of Davis. They'll show you how to tie a fly.
At the Bohart Museum, the focus will be on "real insects as mimics." You'll see flies that look like bees--and bees that look like flies. In addition, you can hold and photograph the critters in the live "petting zoo," including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, and rose-haired tarantulas. The gift shop, featuring t-shirts, books, posters, insect collecting equipment, will be open.
All in all, it promises to be a picnic that will "bug ya." That's the plan!