How to Catch, Collect and Curate Bugs: Special Program at the Bohart Museum of Entomology
Sept. 15, 2011
Western tiger swallowtail on Mexican sunflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey) Praying mantis in the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
DAVIS--The Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis is launching a series of special weekend programs beginning Saturday, Sept. 24 and continuing through Sunday, June 3.
Located at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, the Bohart Museum houses a global collection of more than seven million insect specimens and also maintains a live “petting zoo” with such residents as Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks.
All the weekend openings will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. They are especially designed for families and other visitors who cannot view the insect collection during the weekdays, but are open to all, said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at UC Davis. Admission is free.
The first of the 10-series weekend openings, set Saturday, Sept. 24, will focus on “Catch , Collect and Curate: Entomology 101.”
“There will be collecting devices set-up outside and inside, so people can see how they are used,” said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. “People will have the chance to practice pinning common insects--dead ones!--that we will provide until supplies run out. “
Visitors will have a opportunity to access the Bohart computers to see the video clips on “How to Make an Insect Collection,” the work of UC Davis professor James Carey’s entomology class last spring. The entire series, totaling 11 clips ranging in length from 32 seconds to 77 seconds, can be viewed in just less than 10 minutes. (See news story with link to video clips)
The videos, also online on the UC Davis Department of Entomology website and on YouTube, are widely praised for their content and quality, and are both informative and succinct. Anyone watching them can learn easily how to make an insect collection, said Carey, a newly elected fellow of the Entomological Society of America and a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty since 1980.
“This time of year many high school science students are required to make an insect collection,” Yang said. “It becomes a family project when dead insects end up in the freezer at home. Many of the high schoolers come in here at the last minute seeking advice and help. We are trying to give them and anyone else a jump start on making a collection. We often get older people who remember making a collection in a college, and would like to start one up again. And then of course, there are a number of UC Davis courses that require some insect collecting.”
In addition, youth groups, such as 4-H, offer entomology projects that require an insect collection.
Yang said that this time insects are slowing down and dying as part of their natural life cycle. This is especially true of praying mantids.
“If you plan to make an insect collection, you should begin collecting them now and learn how to preserve them before you start the collection,” she said.
Lynn Kimsey (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
“We also get a lot of questions about the collection and how it is organized,” Yang said. “It is a very significant collection, and takes a number of staff and students to keep it functional for scientists here and all over the world. On Saturday, Sept. 24, people will get a chance to explore that side of the museum and talk to students and staff. Of course, we will always still have our live insects around for holding and observing.”
In addition, the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology (MWFB) at 1394 Academic Surge will be open for the first time to the public. It is located just down the hall from the Bohart, so people and families can visit both museums the same day, Yang said.
The next weekend the MWFB and Bohart will be open together will be Feb. 12, 2012. The Bohart will be open on Sunday, Oct. 30 from 1-4 for a little pre-Halloween fun, Yang said
Saturday, Sept. 24, 1 to 4 p.m.: “Catch, Collect and Curate: Entomology 101”
Sunday, Oct. 30, 1 to 4 p.m., “Blood Bugs”
Saturday, Nov. 19, 1 to 4 p.m., “Thankful for the Bugs”
Sunday, Dec. 18, 1 to 4 p.m., “Insects in a Winter Wonderland”
Saturday, Jan. 14, 1 to 4 p.m.: “A New Year, a New Bug, How Insects Are Discovered”
Sunday, Feb. 12, 1 to 4 p.m., “Bug Lovin’”
Saturday, March 10, 1 to 4 p.m., “Hide ‘n’ Seek: Insect Camouflage”
Saturday, April 21: 10 to 3 p.m., UC Davis Picnic Day
Saturday, May 12, 1 to 4 p.m., “Pre-Moth’ers Day”
Sunday, June 3, 1 to 4 p.m., “Bug Light, Bug Bright…First Bug I See Tonight.”
The R. M. Bohart Museum of Entomology, founded in 1946 by noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) is dedicated to teaching, research and service. The museum houses the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and is also the home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity.
The museum’s regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. It is closed on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
More information is available on the Bohart website at http://bohart.ucdavis.edu/ or by contacting Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator at email@example.com or (530) 752-0493. Due to limited space, group tours will not be booked during the weekend hours.
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology