Oh, the Bugs They Saw at the Bohart!

Sep 30, 2016

When the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis, hosted an open house showcasing specimens collected last summer in Belize, attendees came from far and wide, from senior citizens to pre-schoolers.

Bohart associate Fran Keller, an assistant professor at Folsom Lake College, and her former entomology teacher David Wyatt, a professor at Sacramento City College, led the tour to Belize, returning with some 100,000 specimens to add to the Bohart collection.

Gordon and Esther  Schmierer came from Lodi to donate her 1973-74 collection of Belize specimens. They included a blue morpho (Morpho peleides), one of the world's largest butterflies.

Special guests included Keller's students (okay, they got extra credit for attending) marveled at the Belize specimens and got extra points for holding a live bug, including a walking stick, Madagascar hissing cockroach or a tarantula.

Jordan Bailey, one of Keller's students, gingerly held a walking stick as his classmates photographed him. Milo Kovet of the Keller class arrived with his daughter, Paschela, 8.  She delighted in holding a tarantula in the palm of her hand, transferred there by Bohart Museum volunteer Wade Spencer.

Seventeen-year-old Noah Crockette, a budding entomologist who received a grant last year to study beetles in Belize, was part of the Wyatt-Keller tour.  He explained his finds to eager visitors. 

In the butterfly section, Bohart associate/entomologist Jeff Smith, who curates the moth-butterfly specimens, and Bohart associate/naturalist Greg Kareofelas held court, answering questions. Kimber Richardson and Alex Luevano came from Yuba City to see the collection.

Little Mia Brown, 5, of Folsom, delighted in holding a walking stick. The expression on her face: priceless!

The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses a global collection of more than eight million specimens. It also includes a live "petting zoo." featuring walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches and tarantulas. A gift shop, open year around, includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy. 

The Bohart is open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. No admission is charged, but donations are accepted. The scientists also hold open houses throughout the academic year, which are free and open to the public (and family friendly).

The schedule includes:

Saturday, Nov. 19: 1 to 4 p.m.: “Uninvited Guests: Common Pests Found in the Home”

Sunday, Jan. 22: 1 to 4 p.m.: “Parasite Palooza: Botflies, Fleas and Mites, Oh, My”

Saturday, Feb. 18: (varying times throughout campus): Biodiversity Museum Day, an opportunity to explore 11 UC Davis collections

Sunday, March 19: 1 to 4 p.m.: “Eggs to Wings: Backyard Butterfly Gardening”

Saturday, April 22: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: “”UC Davis Picnic Day”

More information on the Bohart Museum is available on its website or by contacting (530) 752-0493 or bmuseum@ucdavis.edu. Group tours can be scheduled throughout the year with public education and outreach coordinator Tabatha Yang.

By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images: