Backyard Orchard News
But isn't every day a good day for bugs?
The Bohart Museum of Entomology on the University of California, Davis, campus, proved to be a good focal point last Sunday during the fourth annual UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day. It was one of six museums being showcased.
Entomology students Christine Melvin and Stephanie Wu and native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology, were among those greeting the visitors: Melvin showed a rose-haired tarantula; Wu, walking sticks; and Thorp, Valley carpenter bees.
As you can guess, not not all the critters in the insect museum are insects. Some are arachnids (spider family).
The museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses nearly eight million insect specimens, but it also has a live "petting zoo," where youngsters young and old and bug enthusiasts new and old can cradle the bugs.
And, of course, what would it be like without taking a photo?
For the second consecutive year, Mother Nature provided a little rain for the day. It didn't seem to bother anyone. The resounding chorus was "We Need the Rain."
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building on Crocker Lane, is open to the public Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to noon, and from noon 5 to p.m. Admission is free. Further information is available from the Bohart Museum at (530) 752-0493 or at email@example.com.
This tarantula was popular at the Bohart Museum on Biodiversity Museum Day. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Entomology student Stephanie Wu holds walking sticks. These are Those are thorny stick insects, Aretaon asperrimus, from Borneo. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
These are male Valley carpenter bees, shown here by native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A collection of moths at the Bohart Museum. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Australian beekeeper/pollination specialist Trevor Monson, a second-generation beekeeper, and his son, Jonathan and nephew Reece spent several hours last week at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road at the University of California, Davis. They conferred with native bee pollination specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology, and pollination ecologist Neal Williams, associate professor of entomology.
Monson and his wife, Carolyn, and family of Victoria are bee pollination brokers and the largest in Australia--they broker 100,000 hives to growers. They own Monson's Honey and Pollination. Trevor is one of Australia's most frequently quoted bee experts. "His expertise is sought after at all levels of farming, forestry,industry, research, policy-making and government advisory bodies, such as the current Honey Bee Research Commission," according to a recent legislative report.
Thorp showed them a male and female Valley carpenter bee (Xylocopa varipuncta) and their nest, a chunk of sawed-off apple tree felled in Davis and transported to the Laidlaw facility. The blond, green-eyed male and the solid black female drew their attention.
The trio also toured the nearby Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden operated by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. They admired the ceramic mosaic sculpture of a six-foot-long worker bee that anchors the garden. The sculpture, "Miss Bee Haven," is the work of self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick of Davis, co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program.
During their weeklong stay in California, they met with a number of beekeepers and representatives of the bee and almond industries.
Apiarist/pollination specialist Trevor Monson (left) talks bees with pollination ecologist Neal Williams, associate professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Trevor Monson (second from left) and nephew Reece and son Jonathan chat with native pollination specialist Robbin Thorp (far right), distinguished emeritus professor of entomology. They are looking at a Valley carpenter bee nest. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The Australian trio and two UC Davis scientists are in front of "Miss Bee Haven," the ceramic mosaic sculpture in the UC Davis honey bee garden. From left are Trevor's nephew, Reece; UC Davis native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis; Trevor Monson and his son, Jonathan, and in back, pollination ecologist Neal Williams, associate professor of entomology at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC ANR Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center is providing fun learning opportunities to Fresno Unified School District 4th grade students and W.E.B. DuBois & Carter G. Woodson Public Charter Schools' students.
The teachers get lesson plans on experimental design and integrated pest management strategies prior to the students coming for their field trip. Each field trip has a tour where students learn about different crops, issues, and experimental designs. After the field trip, the students learn about how UC helps people and the environment. They are also exposed to “the more you learn, the more you earn” concept and given examples of great local STEM related career opportunities.
Elementary students finish their visit with role playing scenarios that demonstrate the importance of integrated pest management strategies, as well as why pesticide runoff should be prevented.
High school students finish their visit with more advanced experimental activities including a tour of the post-harvest lab and hands-on study of fruit samples using refractometer, penetrometer, and sensory evaluation techniques.
Elementary students learning about IPM strategies in role playing scenarios at Kearney.
Rosie, the popular 24-year-old Chilean rose-haired tarantula at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California, Davis, is approaching the end of her natural life span.
So when a UC Davis student donated the same species, a four-year-old taranatula (Grammostola rosea), to the museum in late January, Bohart officials launched a contest: “Name the tarantula.”
The name won out over Cuddles, Matilda, Bambi, Bobbie, Charlotte, Fluffy, Harriet, Maria, Pinkie, Rush, Tammy, Tessie, Twinkie, Lucy and Mandy, as well as Chili (Chilean rose-haired tarantula), Pepper (Chili pepper) and Gramma (Grammostola rosea).
The arachnid, native to Chile and also common in Bolivia and Argentina, is a favorite of the exotic pet trade market and is sold in many American and European pet stores
“It's good to have a name like Peaches,” said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis. “If you name it something like Fang, some of our Bohart Museum visitors would be afraid to hold it. We need to get people past the fear so they're not terrified.”
Tarantulas are generally harmless to humans, even though they do produce a venom to kill their insect prey.
Peaches, who is held every day, is a beautiful tarantula and quite docile, Kimsey said. Her counterpart, Rosie, was a popular attraction at open houses and at the annual UC Davis Picnic Day, where as many as 400 held her in one day. Visitors delighted in capturing images of her.
But now, Rosie is quite frail, Kimsey said, and quite old. Female tarantulas can live some 30 years.
Peaches is now part of the educational exhibit at the Bohart, where personnel will explain why a tarantula is not an insect, but a part of the spider family. It has two main parts, the prosoma (or cephalothorax) and the opisthosoma (or abdomen). A waist-like pedicle connects the two. They have small spinelike urticating hairs on their abdomen that they may release when threatened.
Peaches' menu includes crickets and mealworms. Rose-haired tarantulas also dine on grasshoppers, moths, beetles and cockroaches. Larger tarantulas catch larger prey, including mice and frogs.
Other special attractions at the Bohart Museum's live “petting zoo” include Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks.
The museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It is also the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum.
The Bohart Museum is open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free. Open houses, focusing on specific themes, are held on weekends throughout the academic year. Admission is free.
The Bohart Museum will be one of six museums open on the UC Davis Fourth Annual Biodiversity Museum Day, to take place Sunday, Feb. 8 from 12 noon to 4 p.m.. Other collections open will be at the Center for Plant Diversity, the Botanical Conservatory, the Paleontology Collection, the Anthropology Collection, and the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology.
The remainder of the Bohart Museum's open houses:
- Sunday, Feb. 8: “Biodiversity Museum Day,” noon to 4 p.m.
- Saturday, March 14: “Pollination Nation,” 1 to 4 p.m.
- Saturday, April 18: UC Davis Picnic Day, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Sunday, May 17: “Name That Bug! How About Bob?” 1 to 4 p.m.
- Saturday, July 18: “Moth Night,” 8 to 11 p.m.
For more information, contact the Bohart Museum at (530) 752-0493 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peaches is the newest tarantula at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Andreas Westphal, UC Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Nematology at UC Riverside and UC ANR Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center started January 15, 2015. Westphal obtained his first two degrees from the University of Göttingen. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside under the supervision of J. Ole Becker. After some postdoctoral experience at UC Davis, and some faculty experience with Texas A&M University and Purdue University, he moved back to Germany. He was recruited by UC after Mike McKenry retired.
Westphal's research program will focus on nematode problems of tree and vine crops. He will explore a multitude of cultural, biological and chemical strategies for managing nematodes in almond, grape, peach, walnut and other crops. Westphal moved here from the Julius Kühn-Institut, Braunschweig, Germany where he researched nematode management on field crops, and was responsible for determining plant resistance to plant-parasitic nematodes in the official cultivar release program.
Andreas Westphal in his nematology lab at Kearney.