Among the many activities at their recent "Snuggle Bugs" open house was a "mite/art station." Visitors were given a paper plate and invited to draw a mite, or other parasitic critter, and then attach the plate to an unsuspecting host.
Alex Nguyen, a third-year entomology student at UC Davis, managed to get most of the mites..er plates. Maybe it was because he was wearing a UC Davis Graduate Students' Association t-shirt lettered with "Entomology's Most Wanted." Or maybe the crowd saw him as a virtual parasitic pincushion.
"if you were a honey bee," the Bohart Museum sign at the mite table read, "this plate would be about the size of a varroa mite on you."
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology, is the home of nearly eight million insect specimens, plus a live "petting zoo" that includes Madasgascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, rose-haired tarantula, millipedes and praying mantids. Located in Room 1124of the Academic Surge building on Crocker Lane, the insect museum is open to the public Monday through Thursday throughout the year (except on holidays).
Next event? On Saturday, Jan. 25, the Bohart staff and volunteers will travel to the InsectFest at the World of Wonders (WOW) Museum, Lodi, to showcase their insects.
The Bohart's next weekend "home" event is Saturday, Feb. 8, which is the annual UC Davis Biodiversity Day.
Six biological museums will be included in the campuswide event. You'll see the open collections of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, the Botanical Conservatory, the Center for Plant Diversity, the Anthropology Collections, and the Paleontology Collections.
The Biodiversity Day takes place from noon to 4 p.m. and is an opportunity to see "see carnivorous plants, touch fossils, learn about birds and hold insects," said Tabatha Yang, outreach and education coordinator at the Bohart.
Free and open to the public, it's a family friendly event. See the Bohart for more information and a map.
Insects? Plants? Fossils? Birds? "Bio Day" promises to be educational, informative and entertaining.
Get parasitized! The sign at the Bohart Museum says it all. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)