She just wasn't that hungry.
To take it from the top:
The family craft activity at the Bohart's recent open house featured maggot art, in which youths dip a maggot into non-toxic, water-based paint and let it crawl--or guide it--on a piece of paper. Voila! Maggot art! A Picasso or Van Gogh suitable for framing? Well, not quite, but it's quite the conversation piece.
All was fine and good until an orchid praying mantis, a resident of the Bohart's live petting zoo, declined to eat all the leftovers. When she deposited her egg case or ootheca, and she expired, part of her dinner remained.
The result: maggots do what maggots do. They emerged as blow flies.
For a week, visitors ambled by and peered into the orchid-adorned habitat, expecting to see something special.
"What's that?" they asked.
Some escapees flew into the office of research entomologist Tom Zavortink.
"Why," he asked, "is there a blow fly flying around my office?"
"The praying mantis didn't eat all her dinner."
The blow flies are gone now, but you, too, can do maggot art. Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 13 when UC Davis hosts its 105th Annual Picnic Day. The annual maggot art activity, hosted by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the Entomology Graduate Student Association, takes place in Briggs Hall, off Kleiber Hall Drive. Picnic Day organizers invite visitors to "experience the richness of diversity and achievement at UC Davis and the surrounding community in the areas of research, teaching, service and campus life."
That includes maggot art.
And speaking of maggot art, it was former UC Davis graduate student and forensic entomologist Rebecca O'Flaherty who coined the term back in 2001 when she was studying at the University of Hawaii. She was rearing blow flies for her forensic research and wanted an activity to draw the interest of elementary school students in her teaching program. She sought to generate interest and respect for an entomological wonder that's more associated with road kills and goose bumps than art thrills.
Her Maggot Art activity drew national interest. "The beauty of the Maggot Art program," O'Flaherty told me, "is its ability to give hands-on, non- experiences with an insect that most people fear or loathe."
Her UC Davis major professor, forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey, later called it “an extremely interesting and innovative idea that combines very basic biology with art in a form that people can readily access and understand. It provides an entrée into the biology and development of insects that people can really appreciate and understand. It was a stroke of genius."
And when a praying mantis doesn't eat all of her dinner....
And that's what's planned as the family craft activity when the Bohart Museum of Entomology hosts an open house on fly research from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 12 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, located on Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. It's free and family friendly.
Bohart associate and entomology undergraduate student Wade Spencer has ordered the maggots. The tables are set up and ready.
All you do is pick up a maggot, dip it into a non-toxic, water-based paint, and let it crawl--or guide it--on a piece of paper. Voila! Art. Maggot art. And perfect for framing or posting on your refrigerator or bulletin board.
It's a conservation piece.
"Umm, what's that on your refrigerator?"
And so the story begins.
If you've ever been to the annual UC Davis Picnic Day (this year's it's April 13) and wandered over to Briggs Hall, home of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, you'll see Maggot Art in action. t's known as one of the most popular Picnic Day activities.
Several years ago we asked forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty (and a past president of the North American Forensic Entomology Association) for his take on Maggot Art.
One of his former graduate students, Rebecca O'Flaherty, coined the term and the activity back in 2001 when she was studying at the University of Hawaii. She was rearing blowflies for her forensic research and wanted an activity to draw the interest of elementary school students in her teaching program. She sought to generate interest and respect for an entomological wonder that's more associated with road kills and goose bumps than art thrills.
Her Maggot Art activity drew national interest. "The beauty of the Maggot Art program," she told me, "is its ability to give hands-on, non- experiences with an insect that most people fear or loathe."
So what was Professor Kimsey's take on it ?
"This is an extremely interesting and innovative idea that combines vry basic biology with art in a form that people can readily access and understand," he said. "It provides an entrée into the biology and development of insects that people can really appreciate and understand. It was a stroke of genius."
What the Bohart folks do is also a stroke of genius.
- Forensic entomologists Danielle Wishon, graduate of UC Davis, and doctoral student Alex Dedmon of the Robert Kimsey lab
- Fourth-year doctoral student Charlotte Herbert Alberts of the Lynn Kimsey lab, Bohart Museum, who studies assassin flies
- Graduate student Socrates Letana of the Lynn Kimsey lab, Bohart Museum, who studies botflies
- Doctoral student Caroline Wright Larsen of the James R. Carey lab, who studies non-native non-native tephritid flies, including Mediterranean fruit flies
- Graduate students Christine Tabuloc and Yao Cai and undergraduate students Cindy Truong and Christopher Ochoa, all of the Joanna Chiu lab, who research fruit flies
- Nermeen Raffat, a visiting scholar in the Sharon Lawler lab, who studies "the effect of copper sulphate and other toxicants on the development and anti-predatory behavior of the mosquitoes larvae."
Undergraduate student Kathlyne-Inez Soukhaseum of the Frank Zalom lab, who researches the fruit fly, the spotted-wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii, was initially scheduled to participate.
Dedmon is the newest addition to the list of those who will be participating at the Bohart open house. Working with major professor Robert Kimsey, he studies forensic entomology--the use of insects as evidence in the court of law. "My work is in insect succession, or the composition and patterns of insects that come to and from a decedent," he related. "I am interested in defining these patterns, as well as the various factors that influence them. Specifically, I seek to make insect succession a more reliable tool in evaluating the postmortem interval of a decedent, that is, the time elapsed since death. Ultimately, the goal of my research is to provide a stronger foundation of evidence for forensic entomologists testifying in court."
Besides checking out the flies--and creating maggot art--this is also a good time for visitors to inquire about graduate school, ask about starting research projects, and to meet people working in forensics, evolution, agriculture, animal behavior, genetics, geography, and home pests, among other topics," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
Entomologist Jeff Smith, who curates the Bohart's butterfly and moth section, will be on hand to open the Diptera section and answer questions.
"We've never had a fly specialist here at UC Davis except for mosquitoes," said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology. "We have one of the world's largest mosquito collections. Overall, I'd guess we have 300,000 fly specimens."
The Bohart Museum houses nearly eight million insect specimens, a live "petting zoo" (think Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects, tarantulas and praying mantids) and a year-around gift shop. The museum is open to the general public Mondays through Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., plus occasional, weekend open houses. Admission is free. Further information is available on the Bohart Museum website at http://bohart.ucdavis.edu/ or contact (530) 753-0493 or email@example.com.
And when the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology hosts a honey tasting on Saturday, April 21 as part of the UC Davis 104th annual UC Davis Picnic Day, it promises to be "berry, berry good."
"Berry good" as in honey made from berries.
Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño and staff will offer "a taste of honey"--of such honey varietals as blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, and snowberry--plus almond and buckwheat--from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Briggs Hall.
When you think about it, Picnic Day is rather like "Bug Appreciation Day" (starring honey bees, too!), courtesy of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. In fact, Picnic Day officials have nominated "Entomology at UC Davis" (122 Briggs) for a special campus award under the category "At One With Nature." The honey tasting booth in the Briggs Hall atrium is a nominee for a special award in the category, "Hunger Fix." (Access this link to vote from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. for your favorite exhibits on Picnic Day). The winners will be publicized on the Picnic Day website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts after Picnic Day.
Here's where the "go-bugs" action is:
- At Briggs Hall, located off Kleiber Hall Drive, hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 or 5 p.m.
- At the Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, hours are from 10 to 3 p.m.
And here's where more honey is:
- UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, Robert Mondavi Institute, Old Davis Road. Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center, says honey will be available for tasting on Picnic Day and for sale all year around.
Coordinating the events at Briggs Hall are forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey and doctoral candidate Brendon Boudinot of the Phil Ward lab and the Entomology Graduate Students' Association. Heading the activities at the Bohart Museum are director Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology, and Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
For a full schedule of insect-themed activities, see the news story on the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology website. You'll find dozens of activities, including maggot art, cockroach races, fly-tying, and scavenger hunts, to name a few.
And honey tasting. Show me the honey!
That's what's on tap on Saturday, April 21 during the 104th annual campuswide UC Davis Picnic Day, when faculty, staff and graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Entomology and Nematology share their love of insects at activities at Briggs Hall and the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
This bug's for you. That one, too. And the one over there, too. That's yours.
At least for a little while.
You can engage in maggot art, watch the cockroaches race, hold stick insects, taste blueberry honey, buy a "Beetles" t-shirt or other insect-themed T-shirt--and check out a virtual reality insect show where the insects are 40 feet tall.
Those are just a few of the things you can do.
Activities at Briggs Hall, located off Kleiber Hall Drive, will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 or 5 p.m. The Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, will open its doors from 10 to 3 p.m. Coordinating the Briggs event are forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey and doctoral candidate Brendon Boudinot of the Phil Ward lab and past president of the Entomology Graduate Students' Association. Heading the activities at the Bohart Museum are director Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology, and Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
"Entomology at UC Davis" (122 Briggs) has been nominated for a special campus award under the category "At One With Nature." The Honey Tasting booth at Briggs has been nominated for a similar award under the category, “Hunger Fix.” Winners of the categories are determined by an Internet vote. (Access the link here to vote from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. for your favorite exhibits on Picnic Day). The winners will be publicized on the Picnic Day website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts after Picnic Day.
At the 2017 UC Davis Picnic Day, the Department of Entomology and Nematology won two special exhibit awards. By popular vote, "Little Swimmers and Fly Tyers (Briggs Hall)," won the category, "Hidden Treasures"; and "Real Insects and Mimics" (Bohart Museum of Entomology) won the category "Family Friendly."
The UC Davis Entomology Club, advised by forensic entomology Robert Kimsey, will enter its award-winning 40-foot black widow spider float in the Picnic Day Parade. The float won Best Organization" award last year. The parade gets underway at 9:30 a.m. with an opening ceremony by the grandstands on North Quad Avenue, across from Wickson Hall. The parade starts at 10 a.m., with announcement locations at 2nd and D streets in downtown Davis; F Street in front of PDQ Fingerprinting; and 3rd and C streets in downtown Davis.
Here's what's on tap at Briggs, either in front or inside the building:
- Entomology at UC Davis: Enter Briggs Hall and find a wide variety of entomology-themed displays, from classics, including insect forestry to recent additions, such as “Virtual Reality Bugs."
- Honey Tasting Booth: Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño and her staff will offer you these honey varietals to taste: blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, snowberry, almond and buckwheat.
- Maggot Art:You can create maggot art by dipping a maggot into a water-based, non-toxic paint and position it on paper and let it crawl. Voila! Maggot art, suitable for framing
- Cockroach Races: Pick your favorite "roach athlete" and cheer it to victory
- Virtual Reality Bugs: Medical entomologist Geoffrey Attardo will set up a virtual reality system to enable you 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
- Bug Doctor: The Doctor Is In:Got an insect question? Graduate students will identify insects and answer your questions.
- IPM Booth: UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program professionals will discuss and answer questions about insect pests, beneficial insects and pest management. 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 your gardens to devour your aphids and other soft-bodied insects.
- Mosquito Abatement: How do you get rid of mosquitoes?Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District professionals will answer your questions.
- Dr. Death: Forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey, aka "Dr. Death," will invite you to look through his microscopes and answer questions.
- Davis Fly Fishers: The anglers will demonstrate fly-tying techniques in Briggs 158.
- Scavenger Hunt: You can search for and identify insects in a display of 10 drawers in Briggs 122.
- Insect Face Painting: Entomology Club members will face-paint bees, butterflies, lady beetles and other insects for a nominal fee.
- T-Shirt Sales:You can take your 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:Chocolate chirp cookies, anyone? The Entomology Club will offer an assortment of insect-themed baked goods. Some ingredients are cricket flour.
- Strike Up the Band: Ever heard of a "bug band?" These are all graduate students who will dress in insect costumes. Music composed by Michael Lewis Bollinger (Frank Zalom lab); cover songs possible. The band: Jackson Audley of the Steve Seybold lab, rhythm guitar; Yao Cai of the Joanna Chiu lab, drums; Christine Tabuloc of the Chiu lab, vocals; Zachary Griebenow of the Phil Ward lab, keyboard;Wei Lin of the Brian Johnson lab, bass; Jill Oberski of the Phil Ward lab, tenor saxophone; and Brendon Boudinot of the Phil Ward lab, bassist.
"The band will be setting up and warming up at 4," said Boudinot. "We'll start our set at 4:30, and wrap up at 5 or so. We are working on tightening up the set list--for now we have four songs. Expect some guitar and drum solos at the least!"
At the Bohart Museum, open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the theme is "Where the Sun Doesn't Shine," a play on this year's Picnic Day theme of "Where the Sun Shines."
"We'll be highlighting nocturnal insects, cave dwelling insects, and yes, beaver butt beetles or Platypsyllus castoris, an ectoparasite on beavers, near their glands, wounds, and skin," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. " We will be holding insects as well."
The Bohart Museum staff and students will also be on the Quad on Wednesday, April 18 from noon to 1 p.m.as part of a pre-Picnic Day showcase organized by the Picnic Day Committee. The Bohart folks will be holding insects and encouraging you to do so, too.
Get ready....these bugs are for you!
If you've ever visited Briggs Hall during the annual campuswide Picnic Day at the University of California, Davis, you probably know about Maggot Art, an arts-and-crafts activity that fuses entomology with art. Every year thousands create Maggot Art at tables set up at Briggs.
Now you don't have to wait for the next UC Davis Picnic Day (the 104th annual), set April 21, 2018.
Maggot Art will be a family arts-and-crafts activity at the Bohart Museum of Entomology's special weekend open house from 1 to 5 p.m., Sunday, July 9 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, UC Davis. It's free and open to the public.
Members of the North American Forensic Entomology Association (NAFEA) will be special guests and presenters at the open house. NAFEA is on campus (July 7-12) for an annual conference and the open house will be part of its outreach activities. The scientists will field questions throughout the event. "We'll have scientists from across the country here at this family friendly event,” said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator.
Here's how Maggot Art works: You dip a maggot into non-toxic, water-based paint and let it crawl--or guide it--on a piece of paper. It's suitable for framing or posting on your refrigerator. One thing's for sure: it's a definite conversation piece!
Forensic entomologist Rebecca O'Flaherty, a former graduate student of Kimsey's, coined the educational teaching curriculum, Maggot Art, back in 2001 at the University of Hawaii. She was rearing blowflies for her forensic research and wanted an activity to draw the interest of elementary school students in her teaching program. She sought to generate interest and respect for an entomological wonder that's more associated with road kills and goose bumps than art thrills.
Her Maggot Art activity quickly drew national interest. If you ever watched the television show, CSI, you saw one of her works, “Ancient Offering,” hanging on the permanent set in Gil Grissom's office. She has also exhibited her work at art shows, including a two-month exhibition at the Capital Athletic Club, Sacramento, in 2007.
“The beauty of the Maggot Art program,” she said, “is its ability to give hands-on, non-threatening experience with an insect that most people fear or loathe.”
And, no maggots are harmed in the making of these paintings. In fact, some children become so fond of the maggots that they ask to take them home.
(Editor's Note: Visitors entering the UC Davis campus on Sunday, July 9 are asked to take the Highway 113 exit to Hutchison Drive, as the Old Davis Road (which leads to the Visitors' Information Center booth) will be closed for construction. A paving project is underway: (https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/paving-project-close-old-davis-road/)/. Lot 46, the parking lot closest to the Bohart Museum, continues to be accessible. Parking is free.)