- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
That would be the recent open house at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California, Davis, on "Bark Beetles and Forest Health," coordinated by USDA Forest Service research entomologist/UC Davis affiliate Steve Seybold and his graduate and undergraduate students.
It was definitely a beetle invasion. You couldn't see the Bohart for the trees!
"It was a mixed conifer forest right out of the central Sierra Nevada,” Seybold commented.
“As of last winter, bark beetles had killed 102 million trees in California during the last drought period,” said Seybold, who is a lecturer with the UC Davis Entomology and Nematology. “Tree mortality in the western United States over the past 15 years caused by native bark beetles exceeded 21 million hectares, which surpasses all other disturbances, including fire.”
UC Davis Department of Design emeritus professor and environmental artist Ann Savageau, showcased her wood sculptures patterned with bark beetle galleries. Retired from UC Davis in 2014, she now works as a full-time studio artist.
Visitors marveled at the eight-foot trunk sections of mass-attacked conifers as the scientists peeled back bark to reveal larvae of bark beetles and wood borers in their galleries in the phloem and xylem. Visitors also learned about the development of bark beetle pheromones and their release devices, and the role of semiochemicals (behavioral chemicals) to lure and repel the beetles.
One display station zeroed in on the onslaught of invasive bark and wood boring beetles, including the walnut twig beetle, goldspotted oak borer, and polyphagous shot hole borer, all among California's 25 new invasive species.
The scientists warned that beetle-infested firewood can become a “Trojan horse” when campers unknowingly transport beetles from site to site and spread the pests.
Enlarged aerial photos of southern Sierra Nevada forests--taken by USDA Forest Service Aerial Survey Unit in May and August 2016--hammered home the havoc that bark beetles can and do wreak. Visitors also learned about bark beetles via a computer slide show, and looked at specimens of western pine beetle, pine engravers, and fir engravers through a scanning electron microscope (on loan from Hitachi to the museum). The microscope magnified the specimens 100 times.
A craft table near Ann Savageau's exhibit featured the family craft activity, "Bark Beetle Art." Children traced and colored bark beetle patterns on paper, and also colored bark beetle gallery patterns on wood samples. Then they hung their art as ornaments on "The Bark Beetle Tree," a white fir.
Entomologist Wade Spencer, a UC Davis undergraduate student and an associate at the Bohart Museum, enthralled the crowd by reading Vlasta van Kampen's children's book, “Beetle Bedlam,” about a bark beetle on trial for killing trees in the forest.
Despite the 107-degree temperatures, the open house drew some 110 visitors, representing Davis, Elk Grove, Fairfield, Pinecrest, Redding, Sacramento, South Lake Tahoe, Vacaville, Woodland, and other cities.
Assisting Seybold were Yigen Chen, formerly with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and now with Gallo Wines in Modesto; UC Davis entomology graduate students Jackson Audley and Corwin Parker; UC Davis junior specialist Megan Siefker; UC Davis undergraduate student Crystal Homicz; and graduate student Irene Lona of California State University, Chico.
Representing the Bohart Museum were Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart and UC Davis professor of entomology; senior museum scientist Steve Heydon; Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator; and Bohart associates/volunteers Greg Kareofelas, Wade Spencer, Chloe Stott. Riley Gilmartin, Joel Hernandez, Maia Lundy, amd Alex Nguyen.
Seybold credited Rob York, UC Berkeley Center for Forestry, Blodgett Forest Research Station. for providing infested tree and wood samples for the displays; Jeffrey W. Moore, USDA Forest Service R5 Forest Health Protection, Davis for providing the aerial imagery of California tree mortality; and Ross Gerrard, USDA Forest Service PSW Research Station, Davis, for providing the poster-sized photos and illustrations for the exhibit.
Want to attend the next Bohart Museum open house? It's from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane. The theme is "Insects and U" and it's in keeping with the arrival of UC Davis students for the fall quarter. The open house, a family friendly event, is free and open to the public.
"This purposely coincides with UC Davis dorm move-in weekend," said Tabatha Yang. "Our target audience is new students and their families, but everyone is welcome. The focus is how to study insects at home and in school--any age."
Undergraduate advisor Brandy Fleming will be on hand (tabling) to talk about classes, careers, and fun with entomology.
Yang is also planning a display featuring cabbage white butterflies for educators.
The Bohart Museum is a world-renowned insect museum that houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It also maintains a live “petting zoo,” featuring walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, praying mantids, and tarantulas. A gift shop, open year around, offers T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The insect museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
It will be "Bark Beetle Forest Central," says Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
The old saying "You Can't See the Forest for the Trees" will basically turn into "You Can't See the Bohart for the Trees."
Steve Seybold, a research entomologist with the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Davis, and a lecturer with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will present the open house, “Bark Beetles and Trees, Forest Health in California." The event is free and open to the public. The museum is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus.
“As of last winter, bark beetles had killed 102 million trees in California during the last drought period,” said Seybold, a Davis resident who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley and a bachelor of science degree in forestry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “Tree mortality in the western USA over the past 15 years caused by native bark beetles exceeded 21 million hectares, which surpasses all other disturbances, including fire.”
Seybold is known for his pioneering research on the walnut twig beetle, Pityophthorus juglandis, associated with widespread mortality of black walnut in the western United States.
Said Seybold: “We are planning to have a series of four to five ‘stations' that illustrate the mass attack of native bark beetles on pine and fir trees; the biology and impact of invasive species of bark beetles and woodborers; and the flight trapping and chemical ecology of bark beetles. We are also planning some craft activities for kids that involve the gallery patterns that bark beetles etch on wood during their life cycles.”
They will be joined by local environmental artist Ann Savageau, a mixed-media artist whose work includes creating sculptures from wood with gallery patterns on it. Savageau, who retired as a professor of design from UC Davis in 2002, is now a full-time artist. She describes her work as dealing with :the natural world, human culture and their intersections."
Seybold's scientific crew at the Bohart Museum on Sunday will include be Yigen Chen, former research entomologist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and now with Gallo Wines in Modesto, Jackson Audley and Corwin Parker, UC Davis entomologist graduate students; Irene Lona, graduate student at California State University, Chico; Megan Siefker, UC Davis junior specialist; and Crystal Homicz, UC Davis, undergraduate student.
Numerous Bohart Museum scientists and volunteers also will participate. “We'll have a family craft project that will deal with the beetle gallery,” Yang said.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology, is a world-renowned insect museum that houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It also maintains a live “petting zoo,” featuring walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches and tarantulas. A gift shop, open year around, offers T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free.