The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology has scheduled a fall open house, the last of the season, at its Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Friday, Oct. 2 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The half-acre bee friendly garden is located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.
The theme is "IPM in the Bee Garden." Participating will be representatives of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM). Karey Windbiel-Rojas, associate director for Urban and Community IPM/Area IPM Advisor, and Anne Schellman, urban IPM educator, will provide information on pest solutions that are bee friendly, such as non-chemical methods and less toxic methods.
They will staff a table and answer pest questions and also have a IPM Prize Wheel that kids and adults can spin. The questions will feature several topics such as pollinators, beneficial insects and IPM practices. They will have resource information for home gardeners, as well as stickers and hand stamps for kids.
The bee garden was planted in the fall of 2009 under the direction of then interim department chair Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology. A six-foot-long worker bee sculpture, the work of Donna Billick, anchors the garden. Entomologist Diane Ullman, professor of entomology at UC Davis, and Billick co-founded and co-directed the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program.
The garden features mosaic ceramic art by students and area residents, all under the direction of Ullman and Billick. The garden also includes bee condos, or housing for leafcutter bees and blue orchard bees. A new addition is a viable honey bee hive.
For details on the open house, access the website or contact the bee garden's staff director Christine Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org or faculty staff director Elina Niño, Extension apiculturist, at email@example.com.
The protein-rich delicacies drew mixed reactions at the “Bugs and Beer” event hosted recently in the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science's Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theatre at the University of California, Davis.
“Don't worry—be hoppy,” celebrity bug chef David George Gordon, author of the award-winning “Eat-a-Bug” cookbook, told the budding entomophagists as they eyed the colorful kebobs threaded with grasshoppers and green and red peppers.
Quipped Gordon: “Some people call them 'sheesh-kebobs.'”
Gordon, from Seattle, joined “The Pope of Foam” Charlie Bamforth--the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences in the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology--to pair six bug dishes with six different beers. The theme: “Bugs and Beer—Why Crickets and Kölsch Might Be Matches Made in Heaven."
Their quips and puns punctuated the four-hour event. Coordinator Elizabeth Luu, a UC Davis student-employee at RMI who originated the idea of the beer-bug fest, praised the humorous duo as “a match made in heaven.”
Clare Hasler-Lewis, RMI executive director, welcomed the capacity crowd. “Who's going to want to eat bugs--and drink beer with them? I did eat a cricket this morning—without beer—and it was good.”
As it turned out, the beer-bug fest was a kick: “one of the best-ever events we've had at RMI,” said Hasler-Lewis, who said "Let's do this again!" Some participants asked that it be an annual event.
Gordon and Bamforth paired:
- Flavored mealworms with Ruhstaller Gilt Edge Lager
- Wasabi sago worms with Lagunitas Pils
- Baked European house crickets with Sudwerk Hefeweizen
- Cambodian crickets with Gordon Biersch Winterbock
- Ant and pear salad with Sierra Nevada Boomerang IPA
- Teriyaki grasshopper kebobs with Rubicon Angus Scottish Ale
- Cricket flour cookies with Heretic Chocolate Hazelnut Porter
- Chocolate-dipped chapulines (grasshoppers) with Berryessa Whippersnapper English Mild
UC Davis students majoring in food science, brewing science, or entomology prepared the bug dishes, using the chef's bugs and recipes.
"This event was a fun way to introduce a sustainable food supply that is as common in other areas of the world as our hamburger," Wishon said. "While I don't expect the 'cricket burger' to replace hamburger anytime soon, it is important that we start opening our food horizons now before it is no longer a choice. I spent all my time in the kitchen--which is laughable for anyone who knows me--but if anything could make that happen it would be by putting insects in the kitchen with me. This was an experience I will not soon forget! Strangely, my friends and family have declined to let me practice my new cooking skill to make them dinner."
Anne Schellman, manager of the UC Davis California Center for Urban Horticulture who attended with friend Javier Miramontes, a community education specialist for UC Agriculture and Natural Resources in Fresno, said her favorites were the European house crickets andgrasshopper kebobs. “They were both chewy but crunchy and had good flavor,” she said.
She wasn't so sure about the Cambodian crickets. “I ate the head and part of the body--after I pulled off the legs and played with the wings,” Schellman said. “It was just too darned big and intimidating to eat it (all).”
“It had an interesting flavor, and the ‘meat' inside actually kind of looked like an artichoke heart in coloring and also texture. Javier ate the cricket whole--I didn't even see him do it he was so fast. A piece of leg got stuck in his throat, and he was trying to keep from gagging, poor guy!”
And they were, Selby confirmed.
Sago worms are the immature larvae of the red palm weevil. “Sago worms eat palm trees, and we can't import sago worms,” Gordon said. “If they got loose in Los Angeles, they would change the identity of the city.”
RMI program representative Evan White, who does design and communications, said he especially loved two dishes: the pear-spinach-ant salad “with the crunchy weaver ants” and the dessert, the chocolate-dipped chapuline grasshoppers. “But then anything with chocolate is delicious,” White said.
White did not eat the Cambodian crickets, which he described as “as big as a small mouse,” and which Bamforth characterized as “a full-flavored meat dish.”
“How many of you ate the full-flavored meat dish?” Bamforth asked after the pairing. “How many of you drank the beer?”
In his talk on "Adventures in Entomophagy: “Waiter, There's No Fly in My Soup!” Gordon said that 80 percent of the world's culture eat bugs and two-thirds of all animal species are insects. "Bug-eating is good for the planet. Bugs are nutritious, delicious, cheap and plentiful.”
“John the Baptist was the most famous bug eater,” Gordon said. “The Bible tells us he ate locusts and honey. Angelina Jolie is the second most famous bug-eater. And I'm third, the godfather of insect cuisine.”
“Whether a country eats bugs has a lot to do with dependence on agriculture,” Gordon said. “Insects are in direct competition with humans for food. But as the human population grows, we can't feed them all (what Americans are accustomed to eating). People are eating hamburgers when they should be eating bugs.”
“In our culture, bugs are often considered a novelty food, such as tequila-flavored lollipops,” the chef told the crowd. However, cricket energy bars "have gone mainstream," and cookies made with cricket flour are becoming more and more popular.
“Insects are the food of the future,” Gordon declared.
He cautioned that all bugs should be cooked, as cooking kills any parasites. Bug chefs must also take special precautions in preparing stinging arthropods.
He paused. “How many of you take calcium pills? If your fingernails keep breaking, eat more crickets. They're rich in calcium. And how many of you are anemic? Termites are rich in iron.”
Food choice is just a matter of what we're accustomed to eating,” Gordon said. He asked how many eat sushi (raw fish), pickled pig's feet, chicken eggs and lobster. “Lobster used to be served to inmates in prison on the East Coast. And talk about the all-time weird food--the chicken egg comes from the butt of a chicken."
You shouldn't eat just any bug, Gordon said “You don't want to eat that cockroach that crawled under your refrigerator or a bug in the field sprayed with pesticides.” He advocates that “you raise your own insects under hygienic conditions or order bugs from supply companies.”
Gordon said it's only right—and it's justice--that we humans eat the pests that eat our food in our garden. Tomato hornworms, for one. One of his recipes calls for tomato green hornworms, with olive oil, green tomatoes, pepper, white cornmeal and basil. Gordon said it's important to be environmentally friendly and not to use pesticides, especially if you're going to eat the pests.
Gordon said the key ingredients in his signature dish, “Orthopteran Orzo” (orzo is a rice-shaped pasta) are three-week old cricket nymphs. Gordon recalled serving the dish at one event and a young boy, a pre-teen, kept returning for more. “Don't they ever feed you at home?” Gordon asked him after the fourth helping. “But this is way better than anything my mom makes,” the boy said.
In his talk titled "Bugs Are No Strangers to Brewers," Bamforth discussed the intricacies of beer brewing and why he paired certain beers with certain bug dishes. He also touched on beer preference: what some people love, others may loathe. Bamforth likened some beers (not served at the event) as reminding him of “cat's breath, newly filled baby diapers, and wet horse blanket with mouse pee.” At one beer tasting, a beer reminded him of “a wet dog urinating in a telephone booth.”
Bamforth said bugs and beer go together in another way, but not a good way. A beer's key ingredient is a grain, and insects may contaminate them. For example, hop aphids may contaminate hops and the saw-toothed beetles, the rice. Grain contamination can also involve such organisms as bacteria, powdery mildew virus and fungi
Some of the entomophagists at the bug-beer fest jokingly inquired if the bugs displayed by the Bohart Museum of Entomology were for eating, as well as for viewing. Arachnids included Tanzanian Giant Whipspider, Costa Rican Red Tarantula and Salmon Pink Bird-Eating Tarantula.
“No, they're not for eating,” said White, holding a millipede as people milled around him talking about Gordon's recipes, including “Superworm Tempura With Plum Dipping Sauce,” “Pest-O,” “Larval Latkes,” “Curried Termite Stew,” “Cream of Katydid Soup,“ and "Ant Jemina's Buckwheat-Bug Griddlecakes.”
In fact, Gordon said millipedes are poisonous and should not be substituted for centipedes in recipes. He writes in his cookbook: "These animals (millipedes) secrete a foul-smelling fluid that, in some species, may contain traces of hydrogen cyanide--not good, unless you're from the Borgia household."
DAVIS--Several faculty members from the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology will speak at the Pollinator Gardening Workshop, to be hosted by the California Center for Urban Horticulture (CCUH) on Saturday, March 15 in 1001 Giedt Hall.
The event begins at 7:30 a.m. with a check in and will end at 2 p.m. with a special plant sale for workshop participants at the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery on Garrod Drive.
Faculty members speaking will include Edwin Lewis, professor and vice chair of the department, who will give the co-welcoming address with Dave Fujino, director of the California Center for Urban Horticulture; Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen, who will speak on “Honey Bee Health”; assistant professor Neal Williams, who will discuss “Habitat Enhancements to Support Bees: Agriculture to Urban Research”; and Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology who will cover “The Buzz About Bees: Attracting and Observing Bees in Your Garden.”
Other speakers will be departmental staff member Christine Casey, new manager of the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, who will relate “What's New in the Garden?”; and Ellen Zagory, director of horticulture for the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Gardens, who will cover “Plants for Pollinators.”
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden are co-sponsoring the event.
7:30 Check In
Registration, coffee and a light breakfast
Dave Fujino, California Center for Urban Horticulture, UC Davis
Edwin Lewis, professor and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
8 to 8:40 The Buzz about Bees: Attracting and Observing Bees in Your Garden
Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology, UC Davis
8:40 to 9:20 Habitat Enhancements to Support Bees: Agriculture to Urban Research
Neal Williams, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
9:20 to 10 Honey Bee Health
Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
10 to 10:20 Break
10:20 to 11 Plants for Pollinators
Ellen Zagory, director of horticulture, UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden
11 to 11:30 Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven Garden Update: What's New in the Garden?
Christine Casey, bee garden manager, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
11:30-2 Open House at Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven Garden
Questions and Answers with Robbin Thorp and Christine Casey
Bee Biology Road, Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility
1 to 2 Special Plant Sale for Pollinator Workshop Attendees
Arboretum Teaching Nursery, Garrod Drive
Anne Schellman, program director of CCHU, says there's still time to register. The workshop presentations will include "the latest research about bee pollinators and how you can make your landscape more 'pollinator friendly.'"
Registration is underway at http://ccuh.ucdavis.edu/events/public/pollinator-workshop-2014. The workshop includes a light breakfast and a box lunch. Prospective attendee can register online and/or write a check. More information is available from Schellman at (530) 312-4083 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration is under way at on the CCHU website.
CCHU program manager Anne Schellman says that this will be an informative workshop where participants will learn:
- How to identify common bee pollinators
- How to make a landscape pollinator-friendly
- Which plants pollinators prefer
- The latest research about honey bee health and pollinator habitat
- How UC Davis helps honey bees at the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Garden
Pollinator Gardening Workshop Agenda
Please pick up materials and enjoy coffee and a light breakfast
Dave Fujino, director of the California Center for Urban Horticulture, UC Davis
Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, UC Davis
8 to 8:40
The Buzz about Bees: Attracting and Observing Bees in Your Garden
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor, Department of Entomology and Nematology, UC Davis
Habitat Enhancements to Support Bees: Agriculture to Urban Research
Pollination ecologist Neal Williams, associate professor, Department of Entomology and Nematology, UC Davis
Honey Bee Health: Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen, Department of Entomology and Nematology, UC Davis
Plants for Pollinators: Ellen Zagory, director of horticulture, UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, UC Davis
Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven Garden Update: What's New in the Garden?
Christine Casey, manager of Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, Department of Entomology and Nematology, UC Davis
11:30 Pick up box lunch
Open house at Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, Bee Biology Road
Questions and answers with Robbin Thorp and Christine Casey
Special Plant Sale for Pollinator Workshop attendees
Arboretum Teaching Nursery, Garrod Drive
See website for registration and more information.