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Posts Tagged: Bohart Museum of Entomology

How to Pin a Butterfly

Fingers and pins. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
How do you pin and spread a butterfly?

Entomologist Jeff Smith, an associate at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California, Davis,  showed everyone from pre-schoolers to adults how to do just that at the Bohart's recent open house.

It was all hands-on.

Smith provided the dried insects and spreading boards. Each participant took home a pinned butterfly on a spreading board for later removal and display. Smith also contributed the labels. 

Cassidy Hansen of Rio Vista, a 2012 graduate of Rio Vista High School, was among the participants. She said she may decide to major in entomology. 

Smith asked a group of participants why the proboscis (tongue) of a white-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata), commonly known as the hummingbird moth, is so long. Some looked puzzled. "To reach the nectar of tubed  flowers," he answered. Smith then pulled out the proboscis to show them the length. 

The participants also admired the research collection, held exotic insects and arthropods, viewed a bee observation hive, and collected insects on the lawn behind the building.

This was the first in a series of open houses planned during the academic year.All open houses are free and open to the public.  

The schedule:

  •   Sunday, Nov. 23: “Insect Myths,” 1 to 4 p.m.
  •   Saturday, Dec. 20: “Insects and Art,” 1 to 4 p.m.
  •   Sunday, Jan. 11: “Parasitoid Palooza,” 1 to 4 p.m.
  •   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.

 The Bohart Museum is located in Room 1124 of Academic Surge building on Crocker Lane, off LaRue Road. Directed by  Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, the Bohart Museum houses nearly eight million insect specimens, a live “petting zoo” and a gift shop. 

More information on the open houses are available from Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator, at (530) 752-0493 or tabyang@ucdavis.edu.

Want to learn how make an insect collection? An award-winning collection of short videos on "How to Make an Insect Collection" is posted on the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology website and on YouTube. These student-produced videos, directed by Professor James Carey, are short and concise. The project won an award from the Entomological Society of America. It is considered the best of its kind on the web.

Entomologist Jeff Smith shows Cassidy Hansen fof Rio Vista how to pin a butterly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Entomologist Jeff Smith shows Cassidy Hansen fof Rio Vista how to pin a butterly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomologist Jeff Smith shows Cassidy Hansen fof Rio Vista how to pin a butterly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Cassidy Hansen works on a butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Cassidy Hansen works on a butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Cassidy Hansen works on a butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of the project. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of the project. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of the project. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A white-lined sphinx moth, Hyles lineata. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A white-lined sphinx moth, Hyles lineata. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A white-lined sphinx moth, Hyles lineata. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The white-lined sphinx moth has a long proboscis (tongue). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The white-lined sphinx moth has a long proboscis (tongue). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The white-lined sphinx moth has a long proboscis (tongue). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, October 3, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Enlightenment 'After Dark'

Jeweled beetles at the Bohart. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
"After Dark: When Tricks Are Treats."

That's the theme of San Francisco's Exploratorium Pier 15 event on Thursday night, Oct. 2.

Graduate student Ralph Washington of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will be staffing the Bohart Museum of Entomology table for four hours at the event.

Washington, who studies with major professor Steve Nadler and is a Bohart Museum associate, will showcase the “oh my” drawers, so named because onlookers exclaim “oh my” when they see them; and live animals from the petting zoo,  which include Madagascar hissing cockroaches and  walking sticks. He also will provide a slide show presentation focusing on camouflage and deception in the insect world. 

The event will take place from 6 to 10 p.m., at Pier 15, located at Embarcadero at Green Street, San Francisco. General admission is $15; for members, it is $10. The event is open only to adults 18 and over.

“After Dark” is a mixture of theater,  cabaret and a gallery, according to its website.

Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator at the Bohart Museum, said "After Dark" is aimed at young adults.

From the website: 

“Delve into the science behind deception at After Dark. Find out how expert wine detective Maureen Downey exposes costly counterfeits—without uncorking a bottle. Glimpse the blurred margins between science and art in Victorian spirit photography with Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco curator Melissa Buron, and walk through a virtual mirror staged by Exploratorium physicist Paul Doherty. Play with exhibits exploring the nature of perception, including a room-sized “Vanishing Act.” Encounter the uncanny in the mischievous mentalism of Brad Barton, Reality Thief, and let magician and Exploratorium scientist Luigi Anzivino show you how the odds can be stacked against you in a seemingly innocent game of chance. Learn the tricks carnivorous plants use to lure their treats, meet servals and ocelots from Bonnie Cromwell's Classroom Safari, and become a connoisseur of camouflage—animal and otherwise.”

Information on tickets and parking and other data on the Exploratorium Pier 15 website

A walking stick is expected to be one of the Bohart Museum of Entomology attractions at Exploratorium Pier 15 on Oct. 2. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A walking stick is expected to be one of the Bohart Museum of Entomology attractions at Exploratorium Pier 15 on Oct. 2. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A walking stick is expected to be one of the Bohart Museum of Entomology attractions at Exploratorium Pier 15 on Oct. 2. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis entomology graduate student Ralph Washington (right) chats with UC Davis assistant professor/bee biologist Brian Johnson at the Bohart Museum open house on Sept. 27. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis entomology graduate student Ralph Washington (right) chats with UC Davis assistant professor/bee biologist Brian Johnson at the Bohart Museum open house on Sept. 27. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis entomology graduate student Ralph Washington (right) chats with UC Davis assistant professor/bee biologist Brian Johnson at the Bohart Museum open house on Sept. 27. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, September 29, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Stop and Smell the Roses! (And Watch for Jumping Spiders!)

"Stop and smell the roses!"

It's a good way to savor the moment, of living in the present instead of the past or future.

We delight in the aroma of the "Sparkle and Shine" yellow rose that we purchased several years ago at the California Center for Urban Horticulture's annual Rose Day on the UC Davis campus.

Sometimes there's an added bonus--a praying mantis, a honey bee, a longhorned bee, European wool carder bee, carpenter bee, a hover fly, a butterfly, or another insect. They do not all get along. Like beginners in an elementary school band, they do not play well together. Some of the territorial bees want to claim ownership ("Mine! mine! mine!"). The honey bees linger longer than they should. The butterflies don't. The hover flies hover. And the praying mantis? It just wants dinner.

Today, it was not an insect but an arthropod that caught our attention: a jumping spider. We pointed the Canon MPE-65mm lens directly in its eyes. It just looked back at us, figuring we were no threat.

If you like to "look back" at insects or arthropods, then you should head over to the UC Davis open house this Saturday, Sept. 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building on Crocker Lane. It's off LaRue Road. The open house is free and open to the public.

The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses some eight million specimens, plus a live "petting zoo," filled with critters you can hold, such as walking sticks, millipedes, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and tarantulas.

It's a day when entomologists will be there to show you how to collect insects, pin a butterfly, and how to look through a microscope. You'll also see a bee observation hive provided by the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.

And, if you have a mind to, you can visit the gift shop and purchase such items as nets, T-shirts, jewelry, posters and books.

You'll even find books on spiders.

A jumping spider, nestled in the petals of a yellow rose,
A jumping spider, nestled in the petals of a yellow rose, "Sparkle and Shine," looks at the photographer. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A jumping spider, nestled in the petals of a yellow rose, "Sparkle and Shine," looks at the photographer. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 10:01 PM

Like Bugs?

Bees from the UC Davis bee observation hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Like bugs? Thinking about becoming an entomologist or just want some hands-on experience?

Mark your calendar.

The Bohart Museum of Entomology on the UC Davis campus is planning an open house on "How to Be an Entomologist" from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27. The insect museum is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building, Crocker Lane, off LaRue Road.

The event is free and open to the public and is family friendly. This is the first of nine open houses during the 2014-15 academic year.

Plans call for a number of UC Davis entomologists to participate--to show and explain their work, said Bohart Museum director Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.

"We will have a pinning and butterfly and moth spreading ongoing workshop with Jeff Smith and tips on how to rear insects," said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator. Smith, an entomologist in Sacramento, is a longtime donor and volunteer at the Bohart.

Representatives from the labs of molecular geneticist Joanna Chiu, assistant professor; bee scientist Brian Johnson, assistant professor; ant specialist Phil Ward, professor; insect demographer James R. Carey, distinguished professor; and integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, distinguished professor and current president of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America will share their research. 

 The Johnson lab will provide a bee observation hive, and Cindy Preto of the Zalom lab will be sharing her research on leafhoppers. The Carey lab will show student-produced videos, including how to make an insect collection, and one-minute entomology presentations (students showcasing an insect in one minute). The Ward lab will be involved in outside activities, demonstrating how to collect ants. Entomology students will be on hand to show visitors how to use collecting devices, including nets, pitfall traps and yellow pans.

Other entomologists may also participate. "There will be a lot going on inside the Bohart and outside the Bohart," Yang said. "It will be very hands-on."  

The Bohart Museum, founded by noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007),  houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens and boasts the seventh largest insect collection in North America. It also houses the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity.  The Bohart Museum's regular hours are 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.

The museum's gift shop (on location and online) includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.

Special attractions include a “live” petting zoo, featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches,  walking sticks and tarantulas. Visitors are invited to hold the insects and photograph them. The newest residents of the petting zoo are Texas Gold-Banded millipedes, Orthoporus ornatus, which are native to many of the southwestern United States, including Texas.

“They're a great addition to the museum's petting zoo,” Kimsey said. “They are very gentle and great for demonstrations of how millipedes walk and how they differ from centipedes.”

Millipede enthusiast Evan White, who does design and communications for the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, and is a frequent presenter at the Bohart's open houses, recently obtained the arthropods from a collector in Texas.  “Texas Gold-Banded millipedes are naive to many of the Southwestern United States, not just Texas,” he said.

Contrary to popular belief, millipedes are not dangerous. “There is much public confusion about the difference between millipedes and centipedes--not because the two look similar, but because the terms are used interchangeably when not connected to a visual,” White said. 

He described millipedes as non-venomous, and relatively slow moving, with cylindrical bodies, two pairs of legs per body segment, and herbivorous. “In fact, they are more like decomposers – they do well on rotting vegetation, wood, etc.--the scientific word for is ‘detritivore.' Most millipedes are toxic if consumed, some even secrete a type of cyanide when distressed. The point being:  don't lick one.”  

In contract, centipedes are venomous, fast-moving insects with large, formidable fangs, and one pair of legs per body segment. “They are highly carnivorous, although some will eat bananas. Go figure. And they are often high-strung and aggressive if provoked.”

Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, and millipede enthusiast Evan White, both of UC Davis, show Texas Gold-Banded mllipedes. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, and millipede enthusiast Evan White, both of UC Davis, show Texas Gold-Banded mllipedes. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, and millipede enthusiast Evan White, both of UC Davis,

Close-up shot of Texas Gold-Banded millipedes. Millipedes are arthropods. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up shot of Texas Gold-Banded millipedes. Millipedes are arthropods. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up shot of Texas Gold-Banded millipedes. Millipedes are arthropods. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The Bohart Museum is home to nearly eight million insect specimens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The Bohart Museum is home to nearly eight million insect specimens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The Bohart Museum is home to nearly eight million insect specimens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, September 22, 2014 at 9:03 PM

Bumble Bees and Spiders Don't Mix?

Bumble bees and spiders don't mix, you say?

Well, they will at the Bohart Museum of Entomology's open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, July 26. The family-centered event, free and open to the public, takes place in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building on Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus.

Actually the theme is about spiders: "Arachnids: Awesome or Awful?" There you'll see black widow spiders, jumping spiders, cellar spiders and the like. But you don't have to "like" them as you do posts on Facebook!

You can also learn about bumble bees. Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, will be one of the tour guides.  Thorp co-authored the newly published Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide, which is available in the Bohart gift shop. He can autograph your book and answer questions about how to attract bees to your garden.

Thorp was recently interviewed by Tom Oder of the Mother Nature Network on how to garden for bumble bees. So was Steve Buchmann, an adjunct professor in entomology and ecology at the University of Arizona.

Thorp told Mother Nature Network that some bumble bees are in very serious decline, and others are doing quite well.

So, how do you attract them to your garden? Buchmann was quoted as saying: “Gardening for bumblebees is similar to gardening for other bees and pollinators."  To entice bumblebees to visit your garden, “plant mints, Salvia, Monarda, plants in the sunflower family and clovers."

Read Oder's article for more information.

And keep your eyes open for the soon-to-be-published California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists, co-authored by entomologist Gordon Frankie of UC Berkeley, Thorp, and two others with UC Berkeley connections: photographer/entomologist Rollin Coville and floral curator Barbara Ertter.

As for Saturday, July 26 there won't be a vote on whether you like bumble bees or spiders better, nor will you be asked to sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" or "Baby Bumble Bee." It promises, though, to be fun and educational. Plus, you can enjoy the live  "petting zoo," featuring 24-year-old Rosie the tarantula, assorted walking sticks, and the colorful Madagascar hissing cockroaches. Yes, they hiss.

The gift shop is also popular. You can browse through the books, jewelry, t-shirts, sweatshirts, insect-themed candy, butterfly houses, and insect-collecting kits.

The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses nearly eight million insect specimens and is the seventh largest insect collection in North America. It is also the home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum.

 

The museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. It's closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free. For more information, email education and outreach coordinator Tabatha Yang at tabyang@ucdavis.edu or telephone her at (530) 752-0493.

A camouflaged jumping spider eyes a honey bee on Japanese anemone. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A camouflaged jumping spider eyes a honey bee on Japanese anemone. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A camouflaged jumping spider eyes a honey bee on Japanese anemone. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Robbin Thorp points at a yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenski. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Robbin Thorp points at a yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenski. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Robbin Thorp points at a yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenski. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, July 25, 2014 at 9:12 PM

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