Oh, the Bugs They Saw at the Bohart!

Nov 22, 2016

They learned about sawtoothed grain beetles, carpet beetles and other pantry pests.

They learned about walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, tarantulas and praying mantids--all residents of the live “petting zoo.” 

All in all, it was educational, informative and entertaining
The occasion: the open house hosted by the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis, on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 19. Themed "Uninvited Guests: Common Pests Found in the Home," the event drew folks of all ages, from toddlers to  senior citizens.

Children delighted in coloring the line drawings of sawtoothed grain beetles, silverfish, cigarette beetle and Indian meal moths, and gluing beans, peas, rice and other grains to the illustrations.

One focal point was a Cacho golden knee tarantula (Grammostola pulchripes), fondly nicknamed "Coco  McFluffin." Native to Paraguay and Argentina, the golden knee tarantula is a relative of the rose-hair tarantula (G. rosea) and G. pulchra (Brazilian black tarantula). Most Chaco golden knee tarantulas are relatively docile and easy to handle, said UC Davis entomology graduate student/Bohart employee Wade Spencer.

UC Davis graduate student Jessica Gillung kept busy showing walking sticks and Madagascar hissing cockroaches to the crowd. Newly elected Winters City Council member Jesse Loren and her husband, Brian Bellamy, delighted in a walking stick that appeared to be giving them a "high five."

Visitors were invited to bring pests for "show and tell" purposes, and that's just want they did. One Davis resident brought a container of flour speckled with sawtoothed grain beetles. Other "uninvited guests"  showcased included cockroaches, termites, flies/fruit flies, cellar spiders, earwigs and house centipedes, as well as numerous pantry pests.

Participants learned about such pantry pests as the warehouse beetle (Trogoderma variabile); sawtoothed grain beetle (Oryzaephilus surinamensis); merchant grain beetle (O. mercator); confused flour beetle (Tribolium confusum); the red flour beetle (T. castaneum); drugstore beetle (Stegobium paniceum) and the cigarette beetle (Lasioderma serricorne). The Bohart shared printouts of pantry pests from the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program.

Meanwhile, Bohart Museum associate Greg Kareofelas greeted guests in the butterfly/moth collection, showing a variety of the Lepitopderans and explaining the difference between a monarch butterfly and its mimic, the viceroy.

The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology, is a world-renowned insect museum that houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens.  A gift shop, open year around, includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.

The Bohart Museum is now gearing up for its next open house, "Parasite Palooza: Botflies, Fleas and Mites, Oh My!" set from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 22  in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane. The open houses are free and open to the public. See schedule.

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, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free. More information on the Bohart Museum is available by contacting (530) 752-0493 or bmuseum@ucdavis.edu.