Something Sweet and Something Neat: Entomological Holiday Gifts at UC Davis

Something Sweet and Something Neat: Entomological Holiday Gifts at UC Davis

Just call these "something sweet" and "something neat."

Yesterday on Bug Squad we featured holiday gifts available at the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis--from calendars, t-shirts and sweatshirts to books, jewelry, posters,  and insect-collecting equipment. Monarchs, honey bees, lady beetles, dragonflies--and more--grace the shirts. (Note: the  museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, is closed to the public Dec. 21-Jan. 6.)

Ready for Part II of entomological gift-giving craze?

The UC Davis Entomology Graduate Student Association (EGSA) offers a variety of innovative and creative t-shirts, all designed by graduate students.

The EGSA, comprised of UC Davis graduate students who study insect systems, is an organization that "works to connect students from across disciplines, inform students of and provide opportunities for academic success, and to serve as a bridge between the students and administration," according to EGSA president Brendon Boudinot, an ant specialist/doctoral candidate in the Phil Ward lab.

EGSA T-Shirts
As a year-around fundraising project, they sell t-shirts, which can be viewed and ordered online at They're especially popular during the holidays.

"The Beetles" t-shirt is EGSA's all-time best seller. Instead of the English rock band John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Star crossing Abbey Road in single file (that's the iconic image on the cover of their album, Abbey Road), think of The Beetles (four insects) crossing Abbey Road in single file. Beneath the images of the beetles are their family names: Phengogidae, Curculionidae, Cerambycidae and Scarabaeidae. Think glowworm, snout, long-horned, and scarab beetles.

One of the favorite bee t-shirts depicts a honey bee emerging from its iconic hexagonal cells. It's the 2014 winner by then doctoral student Danny Klittich,  now a California central coast agronomist.

Jill Oberski, a graduate student in the Phil Ward lab, designed an award-winning onesie, “My Sister Loves Me." It's an adult ant, “loosely based on Ochetellus, a mostly-Australian genus,” she says. Oberski serves as the t-shirt sales coordinator. She can be reached at for more information on the t-shirts. (For holiday gifting, they should be ordered now--or at least by Dec. 20)

UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center
Over at the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, directed by Amina Harris, the focus is on honey, mead-making classes, the honey flavor wheel and insect-themed note cards. The center is located in the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Sciences on Old Davis Road, UC Davis campus.

Interested in learning how to make mead (an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey)? The center is offering a Mead-Making Bootcamp from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24, in the Robert Mondavi Institute Brewery, Winery, and Food Pilot Facility and Mead Making 101 on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25-26 in the Sensory Theater of the Robert Mondavi Institute. (Click on links above for more information).

Honey Varietals
The Honey and Pollination Center is also selling varietals of honey: orange blossom, coriander and wildflower (purchase here) and offering free recipes. Think "Honey Roasted Carrots," "Bourbon and Honey Chocolate Lollipops" and "Lemon and Ginger Infused Honey." 

Honey Flavor Wheel
The Honey Favor Wheel, published by the Honey and Pollination Center, enables folks to define and describe their honey tasting experience. "This wheel will prove invaluable to those who love honey and want to celebrate its nuances," Harris says. "The front of the colorful wheel has all of the descriptors – the back explains how to taste honey and shares four honey profiles so the consumer can get an idea of how to use this innovative product!"  Purchase here.

Insect-Themed Note Cards
The Honey and Pollination Center is selling insect-themed cards (photographs by yours truly, Kathy Keatley Garvey). Purchase here. A set includes the following eight cards:

  • California Buckeye Butterfly on Sedum
  • Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Mexican Sunflower
  • Yellow-Faced Bumble Bee on Red Buckwheat
  • Monarch Butterfly and Honey Bee on Mexican Sunflower
  • Honey Bee visiting Tower of Jewels
  • Hover Fly (Syrphid) on Gaillardia
  • Brilliant Male Green Sweat Bee on a Seaside Daisy
  • Female Sweat Bee on Purple Coneflower

For inquiries, contact Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center, at

Something sweet. Something neat.