Posts Tagged: Bohart Museum of Entomology
Native bees? Check.
In fact, the Bohart houses more than seven million insect specimens, plus a live “petting zoo,” that includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches, tarantulas, scorpions, a millipede, and six different kinds of walking sticks, including Vietnamese walking sticks and one that the Bohart staff has nicknamed “Avatar.”
Of Avatar, “It’s long, skinny and blue,” said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
To accommodate folks who can’t visit the Bohart during the week, the museum will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 14 and again from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11. The museum is located at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive.
A special focus on Sunday, Nov. 14 will be on Orthoptera, an order of insects that includes grasshoppers, crickets and katydids. The Diptera order (flies) will be showcased in December.
One of the most inquisitive and knowledgeable young visitors this year was Tobin “Toby” Jacobs Thornton (top right and below) of Nevada City. He was 4 1/2 when he visited the Bohart with his grandfather Paul Jacobs of Davis.The youngster knew a lot about many of the insects, including their morphology, eating preferences, behavior and habitat, said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart. He held the Madagascar hissing cockroaches, marveled at the spiders, and allowed a green walking stick to walk up his leg and on to his chest.
Jacobs said his parents have long encouraged his interest in insects “and he has access to their books of Sierra insects and spiders and loves just looking at them, and he's devoted to the non-fiction section of his local libraries in Nevada County.”
The R. M. Bohart Museum of Entomology founded in 1946 by noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart, is dedicated to teaching, research and service. It houses the seventh largest insect collection in North America and is worldwide in coverage. The museum is also home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity of California’s deserts, mountains, coast and great central valley.
It also includes a gift shop, where visitors can purchase t-shirts, sweatshirts, jewelry, note cards, books, posters, insect candy and other gifts. The insect candy includes chocolate-covered ants and crickets. A favorite is a scorpion encased in a lollipop.
The museum’s regular hours are from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. It is closed on Fridays and on major holidays.
Toby and a Walking Stick
Ghouls just like to have fun at Halloween.
So do entomologists.
When the Bohart Museum of Entomology. located at 1124 Academic Surge, University of California, Davis, holds its annual Halloween Open House, guests are in for a real treat.
A few tricks, too--in the form of tricky costumes.
This year forensic entomologist Bob Kimsey, dressed in a ghillie suit, the kind of camouflage clothing turkey hunters wear. Note: No turkeys were harmed in the wearing of the suit.
Bohart Museum director Lynn Kimsey, who as the former chair of the Department of Entomology, helped coordinate the honey bee program and activities during her tenure, dressed as...you guessed it...a queen bee.
Year around, the Bohart is home to seven million insect specimens, and a few live ones--or what Kimsey calls "the petting zoo." The zoo includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches, Vietnamese walking sticks and assorted other critters.
If the "petting zoo" critters could talk, they'd still be talking about the director disguised as a queen bee, a graduate student posing as an exterminator and a forensic entomologist dressed in a ghillie suit.
Meanwhile, the Bohart Museum is gearing up for two open house days: Sunday, Nov. 14 from 1 to 4 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 11 from 1 to 4 p.m. Those are in addition to the regular weekday hours.
Don't expect any queen bees, exterminators or ghillie suits there, though.
Bob Kimsey, Where Are You?
Everybody loves a bumble bee.
Especially the yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii.
And especially a queen.
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, and first-year entomology graduate student Emily Bzydk collected a few native bees to show visitors at the Bohart Museum of Entomology during UC Davis Picnic Day last Saturday.
One of the bumble bees: a regal queen.
When Picnic Day ended, they kindly let me take her home to our tower of jewels (Echium wildprettii), a biennial plant that looks somewhat like a red-jeweled Christmas tree. "Tower of jewels" is indeed a fitting name. It towers (nine-feet high) and it sparkles like rubies.
We placed the lethargic queen on a blossom and fed her honey for quick energy. She quickly sipped about an eighth of a teaspoon, buzzed me twice (Hey, I'm your friend!), returned for more honey, and then took flight.
The queen circled the plant twice and was gone.
From the Bohart Museum display to a showy tower of jewels--all in one day.
Queen Bumble Bee
Flight of the Bumble Bee
An egg case (here's one at right) hatched on Emily Bzdyk's desk this week.
"I came to work and there were about 200 of them on my desk," said Bzdyk, a first-year graduate student in entomology who studies with Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor and vice chair of the Department of Entomology.
Bzdyk found a home for some of them, and others will be exhibited at Picnic Day. The museum houses not only seven million insect specimens, but live ones as well (think Madagascar hissing cockroaches, Vietnamese walking sticks, spiders, tarantulas and the like).
Mantids, from the order Mantodea, are carnivorous. No vegetarian diet for them. They hide in the vegetation and snare insects such as flies, mosquitoes, butterflies, grasshoppers, blow flies, wasps, houseflies, moths, cockroaches and spiders.
When 200 or so emerge from an egg case at the same time and there's no food to eat, they eat one another.
Goodbye, brother. Goodbye, sister.
As adults, even the mating game can turn deadly. After they mate, the female sees her lover as protein--protein to develop her eggs.
"Praying mantises lurk among vegetation, where they are well camouflaged, and seize insects when they come near," say Charley Eiseman and Noah Charney in their newly published book, "Tracks and Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates: A Guide to North American Species" (Stackpole Books).
"When they catch a butterfly or grasshopper they consume everything except the wings," they write.
The mantids "sometimes prey on small frogs and lizards, and one was observed clutching a short-tail shrew."
If you look on You Tube, you'll see them attacking even larger prey, such hummingbirds.
And eating them.
Tiny Praying Mantis
Let Us Prey
Off with the Head
When the University of California, Davis, celebrates its annual Picnic Day on Saturday, April 17, be sure to check out the bugs.
Entomologists will showcase insects at the Bohart Museum of Entomology at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, and at Briggs Hall, off Kleiber Drive, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Matan Shelomi, a first-year graduate student in entomology whose major professor is Bohart director Lynn Kimsey, is quite fond of the walking sticks at the insect museum. Just ask his colleagues.
This one below is a giant lime green walking stick (Diapherodes gigantea) from the Lesser Antilles, from Guadeloupe to Grenada. The females are a bright green and about 17 centimeters long, while the males are about 11 cm and a dull brown.
Their diet: eucalyptus.
They do not eat little children.
The Bohart, home to seven million insect specimens, also has other live insects, including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, Vietnamese walking sticks, spiders, tarantulas, scorpions, and newly emerged mantids.
At Briggs, you can participate in the cockroach races, "Maggot Art" (a trademarked educational activity coined by UC Davis forensic entomologist Rebecca O'Flaherty) and termite trails (watch termites follow the "pheromone"). You can also check out the kissing bugs, bed bugs, fleas, ticks and assorted other critters.
Here's more information on what the entomologists are planning on Picnic Day.