Backyard Orchard News
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, which houses more than seven million insect specimens at its facility on the University of California, Davis campus, has extended its hours to include several weekends.
The first will be Saturday, Feb. 13 from 1 to 5 p.m., and the theme focuses on Valentine's Day.
The theme? "What Is a Kissing Bug?"
The Bohart Museum, located at 1124 Academic Surge, also will be open on two other Saturdays and a Sunday. Think St. Patrick’s Day, UC Davis Picnic Day and Mother’s Day.
“The weekend openings are in response to working people and parents who can't visit us during the week,” said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart's education and outreach coordinator.
“For these events we'll be highlighting some of the animals at the Bohart which get overlooked,” Yang said. “On Feb. 13, we’ll let the kissing bugs have their 15 minutes of fame.”
On Sunday, March 21, in keeping with St. Patrick’s Day, the theme is “What Has Six Legs and Is Green All Over?” Hours are from 1 to 5 p.m.
Saturday, April 17 is the traditional UC Davis Picnic Day, when the Bohart will be open throughout the day.
Saturday, May 8 will be “Moth-ers Day,” an event focusing on moths from 1 to 5 p.m.
The Bohart is open weekdays, Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., and is closed on Fridays. Group can arrange tours by contacting Yang at email@example.com or (530) 752-0493 or (530)-752-9464. “Due to limited space, groups need to call ahead and book a tour other than on the weekend openings,” she said.
The Bohart Museum, founded in 1946 by the late Richard M. Bohart (1912-2007), a noted entomologist and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, is directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
Dedicated to teaching, research and service, the museum houses the seventh largest insect collection in North America. The museum's "petting zoo" includes live insects such as Madagascar hissing cockroaches, tiger hissing cockroaches (also from Madagascar), mantids, and assorted walking sticks and walking leaves.First-year graduate student Emily Bzdyk, who studies at the Bohart with major professor Lynn Kimsey, is among those intrigued by all the insects there, including the tiger hissing cockroaches (Gromphadorhina grandidieri). (Bzdyk is also a very talented artist and photographer.)
Emily and the Tiger
A sprinkle or two did not discourage 20 people from bringing their citrus to the citrus collection day held at the Garden of the Sun. Nineteen hundred pounds of citrus was collected for the food bank. Despite the threat of rain the All About Citrus class was held. Master Gardeners were on hand to help you solve your citrus problems. If you have a problem and you were not able to attend you can call the Master Gardener Helpline (559) 456-7563, Monday through Friday 9am till noon.
There will be another opportunity to drop off citrus Saturday, March 13 at the Garden of the Sun. Master Gardeners will also be hosting a class Planting Summer Vegetables that day. Learn the secrets of good soil preparation, plant selection and care. The class is FREE. Garden of the Sun is located 1944 N Winery, Fresno. See the attached GOS Map for directions.
PAR needs volunteers to pick fruit near the airport and Fig Garden. Please call (559) 226-1528 if you can volunteer.
"The gold standard of entomology textbooks" will be available in the United States beginning in early March but publisher Wiley-Blackwell has already released it in the United Kingdom.
The 584-page textbook offers a comprehensive insight into the wonderful world of insects. Well, some are wonderful! Your favorites--honey bees and ladybugs--are in there, along with the nasty pests such as those blood-sucking mosquitoes and sand flies, insects that transmit diseases.
"Much of the book is organized around major biological themes - living on the ground, in water, on plants, in colonies, and as predators, parasites/parasitoids and prey,” the publisher says.Gullan and Cranston, both systematic entomologists, teach and research insect identification, distribution, evolution and ecology.
(How do you say "bug" in Italian? In Mandarin Chinese? In Portuguese?)
Since the third edition came out five years ago, the authors have been busily updating it. In keeping with today's technology, they've added an accompanying Web site with downloadable illustrations and links to video clips.
Updates include the Africanized honey bee and colony collapse disorder in the sphere of the apiary; the use of bed nets and the resurgence of bed bugs; dengue fever and West Nile virus in relation to human health; and case studies in emergent plant pests, including the emerald ash borer that is destroying North American landscape trees. Artist Karina H. McInnes has added new drawings.
Writer Abigail Tucker mentioned the Gullan-Cranston textbook in her "Bugs, Brains and Trivia" article in the Smithsonian (Nov. 17, 2008), featuring the Linnaean Games, a national insect trivia contest conducted at the Entomological Society of America meeting. In the Linnaean Games, teams of entomology students vie for top honors in a college-bowl-like competition.
It's much more popular in the scientific community than the TV show, "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader."It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of the Linnaean Games, just as it is easy to be fascinated by the millions of insects that are all around us.
Evolutionary ecologist Anurag Agrawal (right), who received his doctorate in population biology from the University of California, Davis in 1999 under major professor Richard “Rick” Karban, has just received the sixth David Starr Jordan Prize for his innovative research inolving plant-animal interactions.
The international award, given approximately every three years, comes with a $20,000 prize and a commemorative medal.
Agrawal, now an associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, also serves as the associate director for the Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future and director of the Cornell Chemical Ecology Group.
Does the name "David Starr Jordan" ring a bell? It should. He was a leading American biologist (1851-1931) who was educated at Cornell; taught zoology at Indiana; and served as president of both Indiana and Stanford universities.
The three universities established the joint endowment in 1986 and have awarded the prize since 1987. “The intent of the David Starr Jordan Prize is to recognize scientists who are making research contributions likely to redirect the principal foci of their fields,” the awards committee said.
The coveted award is given to a young scientist, age 40 or under, who is making novel innovative contributions in one of Jordan’s fields of interest: evolution, ecology, population and organismal biology.
The awards committee, comprised of Cornell, Indiana and Stanford scientists, described Agrawal as “one of the foremost authorities on the community and evolutionary ecology of species interactions.”
“Dr. Agrawal has made highly influential contributions, including empirical and conceptual advances in our understanding of plant defense against herbivory, impacts of genetic diversity on community processes, co evolutionary interactions between monarch butterflies and milkweeds and deciphering the success of invasive plants,” the committee announced.
As the recipient of the David Starr Jordan Prize, he will lecture at the sponsoring institutions, beginning Feb. 18 at Cornell.
Born in 1972 in Allentown, Penn., Agrawal completed his undergraduate work in biology and his master’s degree in conservation biology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he became intrigued with plant-animal interactions. He then headed out to California in 1994 to study with Karban, a noted expert on plant-animal interactions. Karban, now a newly elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, teaches field ecology and community ecology.
“It was an amazing time being a graduate student at UC Davis and working with Rick Karban… a great foundation and nothing but great memories!” Agrawal said.
A sure sign of spring: trucks loaded with bee hives heading out to the almond orchards.
Yes, almond pollination season is almost here.
California has approximately 700,000 acres of almonds, and each acre requires two hives for pollination.
Since California doesn't have that many bee colonies, beekeepers from all over the country, some from as far away as Florida, are trucking in their bees.
A scene today in the Meadowview neighborhood, Sacramento: a truck loaded with hives and towing a forklift. The forklift? Quite necessary for easy movement and placement of the hives in the soggy orchards.
The almond pollination season begins around Feb. 10 and continues until approximately March 10. This encompasses the early, mid- and late varieties of almonds.
When asked today about the status of colony collapse disorder (CCD), Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, told us: "The colonies being delivered to the orchards currently should be in pretty good shape but CCD still is depleting those numbers in many commercial beekeeping operations in California and across the country."Let's keep our fingers crossed.