Backyard Orchard News
Charles W.Woodworth would have been proud.
When the C. W. Woodworth Award, the highest award offered by the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America (PBESA) was awarded this week to chemical ecologist Walter Leal, professor of entomology at UC Davis, it linked two entomology trailblazers.
Woodworth (1865-1940), considered the founder of both the UC Berkeley and UC Davis departments of entomology, is an entomological legend. Leal is a worldwide authority on the relatively new field of insect communication and olfaction.
Woodworth's great-grandson, Brian Holden of Monte Sereno, Calif., attended the PBESA meeting in Boise, Idaho, to present the award.
“Because of his deep and meaningful body of work over the last 10 years, Dr. Walter S. Leal of UC Davis is a wonderful selection as the 42nd recipient of the C.W. Woodworth Award," said Holden, who is writing a book on his great-grandfather. "His research into the detailed neuronal responses in mosquitoes to DEET and nonanal has been particularly impressive. His research has improved our knowledge of mosquito behavior in the presence of these two compounds, both of which are central in the efforts to understand and control mosquito-borne illness."
Both Leal and Holden are closely connected to UC Davis. Leal joined the Department of Entomology 10 years ago and served as department chair. Holden received his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from UC Davis in 1981.
If you look on Wikipedia, you can glean information about the remarkable career of C. W. Woodworth and the award. His great-grandson researched and wrote the entries.
If you look on the UC Davis entomology Web site, you can read about the remarkable work of Walter Leal.
Brian Holden and Walter Leal
Charles W. Woodworth
Redmaids aren't red.
They're purple-petaled with white centers and yellow stamens.
The California native wildflower (Calandrinia ciliatais) from the purslane family (Portulacaceae) blooms from February through May.
Farmers who grow baby spinach and other crops consider it a weed. Honey bees don't. It's a food source that helps them build up their hives in the spring.
If you ever see a patch of redmaids, you'll surely see bees foraging among the bright blossoms.
There's a patch on Hutchison Drive, near the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis. New World Carniolan bees reared by bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, manager of the Laidlaw facility, can be seen foraging there.
A patch of redmaids and a bee posse.
Field of Redmaids
Covered with Pollen
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
Honey bees don’t like tulips, right?
You don't plant tulips to attract bees, and you don't attract bees with tulips.
They prefer such bee friendly plants as lavender, salvia, catmint, sedum, cherry laurels and tower of jewels—not to mention fruit, almond and vegetable blossoms.
But last weekend, a lone bee—probably a confused lone bee—buzzed around our tulips in the back yard and then dropped inside to roll in the pollen.
She stayed inside the tulip for about five minutes. When she emerged, a layer of gold dust clung to her.
Bees don't like tulips? This one did!
Bee on Tulip
Rolling in the Pollen
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.