Just Buggin' You at UC Davis PIcnic Day

Let's do the alliteration: Bugs at Briggs and bugs at the Bohart.

That's what's on tap on Saturday, April 21 during the 104th annual campuswide UC Davis Picnic Day, when faculty, staff and graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of  Entomology and Nematology share their love of insects at activities at Briggs Hall and the Bohart Museum of Entomology.

This bug's for you. That one, too. And the one over there, too. That's yours.

At least for a little while.

You can engage in maggot art, watch the cockroaches race, hold stick insects, taste blueberry honey, buy a "Beetles" t-shirt or other insect-themed T-shirt--and check out a virtual reality insect show where the insects are 40 feet tall.

Those are just a few of the things you can do.

Activities at Briggs Hall, located off Kleiber Hall Drive, will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 or 5 p.m. The Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, will open its doors from 10 to 3 p.m. Coordinating the Briggs event are forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey and doctoral candidate Brendon Boudinot of the Phil Ward lab and past president of the Entomology Graduate Students' Association. Heading the activities at the Bohart Museum are director Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology, and Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.

"Entomology at UC Davis" (122 Briggs) has been nominated for a special campus award under the category "At One With Nature." The Honey Tasting booth at Briggs has been nominated for a similar award under the category, “Hunger Fix.”  Winners of the categories are determined by an Internet vote. (Access the link here to vote from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. for your favorite exhibits on Picnic Day). The winners will be publicized on the Picnic Day websiteFacebookTwitterInstagram, and Snapchat accounts after Picnic Day.

 At the 2017 UC Davis Picnic Day, the Department of Entomology and Nematology won two special exhibit awards. By popular vote, "Little Swimmers and Fly Tyers (Briggs Hall)," won the category, "Hidden Treasures"; and "Real Insects and Mimics" (Bohart Museum of Entomology) won the category "Family Friendly."

The UC Davis Entomology Club, advised by forensic entomology Robert Kimsey, will enter its award-winning 40-foot black widow spider float in the Picnic Day Parade. The float won Best Organization" award last year. The parade gets underway  at 9:30 a.m. with an opening ceremony by the grandstands on North Quad Avenue, across from Wickson Hall. The parade starts at 10 a.m., with announcement locations at 2nd and D streets in downtown Davis; F Street in front of PDQ Fingerprinting; and 3rd and C streets in downtown Davis. 

Here's what's on tap at Briggs, either in front or inside the building:

  • Entomology at UC Davis: Enter Briggs Hall and find a wide variety of entomology-themed displays, from classics, including insect forestry to recent additions, such as “Virtual Reality Bugs."
  • Honey Tasting Booth: Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño and her staff will offer you these honey varietals to taste: blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, snowberry, almond and buckwheat.
  • Maggot Art:You can create maggot art by dipping a maggot into a water-based, non-toxic paint and position it on paper and let it crawl. Voila! Maggot art, suitable for framing
  • Cockroach Races: Pick your favorite "roach athlete" and cheer it to victory
  • Virtual Reality Bugs: Medical entomologist Geoffrey Attardo will set up a virtual reality system to enable you to view three dimensional models of insects. In VR, the models can be made to look life size, 40 feet tall or anywhere in between, he says. Here's the link that to view them in your web browser: https://skfb.ly/6xVru
  • Bug Doctor: The Doctor Is In:Got an insect question? Graduate students will identify insects and answer your questions.
  • IPM Booth:  UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program professionals will discuss and answer questions about insect pests, beneficial insects and pest management. They will display their publications and live insects. In keeping with tradition, they will give away free lady beetles (lady bugs), to be released in your gardens to devour your aphids and other soft-bodied insects.
  • Mosquito Abatement: How do you get rid of mosquitoes?Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District professionals will answer your questions.
  • Dr. Death: Forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey, aka "Dr. Death," will invite you to look through his microscopes and answer questions.
  • Davis Fly Fishers: The anglers will demonstrate fly-tying techniques in Briggs 158.
  • Scavenger Hunt: You can search for and identify insects in a display of 10 drawers in Briggs 122. 
  • Insect Face Painting: Entomology Club members will face-paint bees, butterflies, lady beetles and other insects for a nominal fee.
  • T-Shirt Sales:You can take your pick or picks among insect-themed t-shirts (popular t-shirts include beetles and honey bees). Selection and prices are online at https://mkt.com/UCDavisEntGrad/ 
  • Bake Sale:Chocolate chirp cookies, anyone? The Entomology Club will offer an assortment of insect-themed baked goods. Some ingredients are cricket flour.
  • Strike Up the Band: Ever heard of a "bug band?" These are all graduate students who will dress in insect costumes. Music composed by Michael Lewis Bollinger (Frank Zalom lab); cover songs possible. The band:  Jackson Audley of the Steve Seybold lab, rhythm guitar; Yao Cai of the Joanna Chiu lab, drums; Christine Tabuloc of the Chiu lab, vocals; Zachary Griebenow of the Phil Ward lab, keyboard;Wei Lin of the Brian Johnson lab, bass; Jill Oberski of the Phil Ward lab, tenor saxophone; and Brendon Boudinot of the Phil Ward lab, bassist.

"The band will be setting up and warming up at 4," said Boudinot. "We'll start our set at 4:30, and wrap up at 5 or so. We are working on tightening up the set list--for now we have four songs. Expect some guitar and drum solos at the least!"

Bohart Museum

At the Bohart Museum, open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the theme is "Where the Sun Doesn't Shine," a play on this year's Picnic Day theme of "Where the Sun Shines."

"We'll be highlighting nocturnal insects, cave dwelling insects, and yes, beaver butt beetles or Platypsyllus castoris, an ectoparasite on beavers, near their glands, wounds, and skin," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. " We will be holding insects as well."

The Bohart Museum staff and students will also be on the Quad on Wednesday, April 18 from noon to 1 p.m.as part of a pre-Picnic Day showcase organized by the Picnic Day Committee. The Bohart folks will be holding insects and encouraging you to do so, too.

Get ready....these bugs are for you!