Wednesday, July 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Adventures for the new year

This nicely slow moving Madagascar cockroach is in one of the live exhibits you can experience at the Bohart Museum of Entomology on the UCD campus. Jean Jackman/Courtesy photo

By
From page A5 | December 25, 2011 |

Here is a well-kept secret. Well, a secret for Davis people, although people throughout the region seem to know about it. As many as 150 people show up for special weekend events, but most journey from outside of Davis.

The secret? We have an exciting museum on the UC Davis campus with amazing resources. Staff eagerly share with drop-in individuals, group tours and at special events. I’m talking about the Bohart Museum of Entomology.

“Oh, I hate bugs. No thanks.” Well, I dare you to leave your comfort zone and take a look. You will find fascinating facts, collections both live and dead, displays, a gift shop with everything from books, tools and insect jewelry to an interesting treat — a scorpion with stinger removed encased in candy that looks like amber. The whole bar is beautiful and edible.

On my last visit, the Wilson family from Sacramento had popped in as part of a surprise mystery trip. Mother Kathy Wilson is a UCD grad and she likes to take her kids, Umi and Anaya, along with their friends and her mother, Dora Carter, on weekly stimulating trips. On a weekday, they were all totally engaged and were given attention and information from staff junior specialist Jagveer Singh. Young Jordan Reeves used to come with his grandfather and was scared of the bugs. Now, he is fascinated and is part of a bee study group in his fourth grade public school.

Tabatha Yang, enthusiastic education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum and the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, showed me around and introduced me to a Madagascar cockroach and to Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart museum and a UCD professor. Kimsey has just discovered a new species, the warrior wasp, and has discovered more than 300 species. She found the wasp on a remote island in Sulawesi in Indonesia. She will name the wasp in honor of the Indonesian national symbol, the Garuda, a mythical warrior that is part human and part bird of prey.

So who cares about bugs? You should — if only for self-interest. I urge you to read “Sex on Six Legs” by Marlene Zuk. The subtitle is more accurate: “Lessons on Life, Love and Language from the Insect World.” Economists put the worth of just wild insects at $57 billion. They are important pollinators and pest controllers.

But more interesting are newly known facts about insects. The book, written with snappy humor, relates experiments that show behaviors that look like human behaviors. Yet they have no human brain.

The neuroscientists are having a field day with insects. Zuk relates studies of insect behavior and brains. Because insects are both like us and unlike us, they are valuable for studying nature versus nurture, heredity versus environment. With so many insects, scientists can tinker with their engineering and determine which genes are responsible for everything from shyness to body size.

What is amazing is that insects are not just robots but so much more than we think they are.
They can teach, count, learn, remember and cooperate on group decisions. Male moths can detect odors of a female released miles away. Bees remember the faces of bees in their colony and if that face is changed, they initially are aggressive but then accept them again. If it is a bee from another colony, they continue to be aggressive. And bees can recognize human faces.

The museum is at California Avenue and LaRue Road in Academic Surge right next to Meyer Hall. There are many Surge buildings on campus, so make sure you get the right one. On weekends, there is free parking south of the building in the P46 lot. On weekdays, use the parking lot on the west side of Meyer Hall, VP47, or even better, ride a bike. Weekday hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. However, they are closed for the rest of December. For maps and more information, visit bohart.ucavis.edu.

Special events include: “A New Year, A New Bug: How Insects Are Discovered” from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, and “Bug Lovin’ ” from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12. The Museum of Wildlife and Biology will offer special public hours in the same building on Feb. 12.

———

Would you like to make it easier for yourself to get outside, get exercise, socialize, view wildlife and experience new places in the new year?

A first kick-off meeting for a new group will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11, at the Stephens Branch Library’s Blanchard Room, 315 E. 14th St., Davis. Come prepared to tell the group what your outdoor interests are and what you might share with others. We’ll brainstorm a group name and discuss everyone’s interest. Bring a friend or five. It’s pretty cool to have several activities happening each week to choose from and get you into the great outdoors with like-minded individuals. Check my Oct. 25 column online for more details. If for some reason you cannot attend, email JeanJackman@gmail.com with the pertinent information.

———

The Yolo Audubon group recently had its 41st annual Christmas Bird Count/Putah Creek bird count. There were 82 participants who sighted 143 species. According to Steve Hampton, the official compiler, some of the highlights were a Swainson’s hawk — new to the count, several pileated woodpeckers, 10 mountain bluebirds and a single blue phase snow goose flying with tundra swans.

— Jean Jackman is a Davis resident. Her columns appear monthly. Got a story, question, comment? Contact her at JeanJackman@gmail.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

 
Second Mellon grant supports Mondavi events

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Are arachnids awesome or awful? Visit Bohart Museum to find out

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Police arrest suspect in robbery spree

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Madhavi Sunder joins Davis school board race

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A2

 
Crews make gains on massive Washington wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
New safety rules proposed to curb oil train fires

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Grandparents support group meets weekly

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Kaiser awards grants to Yolo nonprofits

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

NAMI program offers mental illness information, support

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Backpacks for Kids launches annual donation drive

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Architecture in Davis, on ‘Davisville’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Speaker will spin some fishing tales at Davis meeting

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Kids can paint their own Breyer horses at Davis store

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Car lovers will speak Sunday at gallery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Racial diversity crucial to drug trials, treatments

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A4

Exchange program seeks host families

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Wine-tastings will benefit YCCC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Pedro party will benefit Yolo Hospice

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Quaff a beer and watch the bats

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Enterprise is focus of Davis Roots talk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
.

Forum

They’re pickier than she is

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
U.S. is complicit in attack

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

Extinguish extremism for peace

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

 
With profound gratitude

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Someday, there will be peace

By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

Former Davis man at crossroads: biking or artwork?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie golfer headed to men’s U.S. Amateur Championship

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Giants outlast Phillies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
River Cats nip dogs

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

A’s fall in extra innings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Blue Jays hitting upends Red Sox

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pyrenees please Nibali, Rogers in Tour Stage 16

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Albergotti to discuss Armstrong’s doping scandal

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8

.

Features

Field to Fork: Skyelark Ranch, not a lark at all

By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Name droppers: ASUCD hands out awards

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

.

Arts

Village Homes to host Rita Hosking Trio

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Tomato Festival makes call for young artists

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Additional casting notice for ‘Hello Dolly’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Hear Los Tres de Winters on Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Picott to play at The Palms Playhouse

By Kate Laddish | From Page: A7

 
Fairy-tale romance in Barnyard Theatre’s ‘Pinky’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Soar to Neverland with DMTC’s ‘Peter Pan’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6