Would you snuggle with a bed bug, a tick or lice?
Probably not, but you can learn all about them at the Bohart Museum of Entomology’s open house Sunday. The theme is “Snuggle Bugs.”
The event, free and open to the public, will run from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Bohart Museum, Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building on Crocker Lane on the UC Davis campus.
Visitors can learn about ticks, bed bugs, lice, mites, fleas and mosquitoes — the kind of bugs people don’t want to snuggle with, said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
A special attraction will be the bed bug colony being reared by Danielle Wishon, a UCD entomology graduate and an affiliate of the museum. She began rearing the colony in October 2012.
“Aside from the fact that I find them visually adorable, I am interested in the current public panic over their current increase in population around the United States,” Wishon said prior to a “bed bug feeding” at another Bohart open house. “The idea that several little animals will crawl up to you while you sleep and feed on your blood really disturbs most people, despite the fact that they do not transmit any disease.”
Wishon, now an employee of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, is a past president of the UCD Entomology Club and recipient of the department’s 2011 Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award.
“I think the general public would be very interested to see them feeding,” she said. “There is a lot of misinformation on the Internet about them, so it would also be a good opportunity for Q and A.”
The Bohart Museum houses nearly 8 million 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.
Special attractions at the Bohart include a live “petting zoo,” with critters such as Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, millipedes, tarantulas and praying mantids. Visitors also can shop year-round at the gift shop, or online, for T-shirts, jewelry, insect nets, posters and books.
These include the newly published children’s book, “The Story of the Dogface Butterfly,” written by UCD doctoral candidate Fran Keller and illustrated (watercolor and ink) by Laine Bauer, a 2012 graduate of UCD. The 35-page book, geared toward kindergartners through sixth-graders, also includes photos by naturalist Greg Kareofelas of Davis, a volunteer at the museum.
Weekend open houses are scheduled throughout the academic year. Regular hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Admission is free.
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