Bugs at Briggs: A Banner Day on April 13

It just wouldn't be a picnic without bugs.

Briggs Hall, home of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will turn into a bugfest during the 105th annual UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 13.

Think cockroach races, maggot art, and bee and ant displays,  to name a few.

The Briggs Hall activities will take place from 9 a.m. to around 4:30 p.m., announced co-chairs Robert Kimsey, forensic entomologist, and Brendon Boudinot, president of the Entomology Graduate Student Association and a doctoral student in Professor Phil Ward's ant lab. Picnic Day is free and family friendly.

For the cockroach races, participants can pick their favorite "roach athlete" and cheer it to victory. These are husky American roaches.

For maggot art, participants will dip a maggot into water-based, non-toxic paint and position it on paper and let it crawl. Voila! Maggot art, suitable for framing.

Bees? There will be a bee observation hive from the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. And there's the ever-popular honey tasting, at which visitors can sample varietals of honey. The honey tasting event has been nominated for a people's choice UC Davis Picnic Award.

Ants? Graduate students from Professor Phil Ward's lab will talk to visitors about the amazing world of ants. (Ants enjoy picnics, too!)

Among the other scheduled events at Briggs Hall:

  • Bug Doctor: The Doctor Is In: Graduate students will identify insects and arachnids and answer questions
  • Virtual Reality Bugs: Medical entomologist Geoffrey Attardo will set up a virtual reality system to enable people 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
  • IPM Booth:  UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program professionals will discuss and answer questions about insect pests, beneficial insects and pest control. 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 gardens to devour aphids and other soft-bodied insects.
  • Mosquito Abatement:  Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District professionals will staff a booth
  • Dr. Death: Forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey will staff his traditional Dr. Death booth, inviting the visitors to ask questions and look through microscopes.
  • Davis Fly Fishers: The anglers will demonstrate fly-tying techniques in Briggs 158
  • Aquatic Insects: Professor Sharon Lawler's lab will display a number of aquatic insects.
  • Scavenger Hunt: Participants will search for and identify insects. 
  • Insect Face Painting: Entomology Club members will face-paint bees, butterflies, lady beetles and other insects
  • T-Shirt Sales: Visitors can take their 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: The Entomology Club will offer insect-themed baked goods.

Bohart Museum of Entomology. Meanwhile, over at the Bohart Museum of Entomology (Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane), activities will abound from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The theme is "Will Travel for Bugs: The Bohart Museum of Entomology's Collections From Around the World."  Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator, said that "At the Bohart, we are focusing on the various countries from around the world and some of their insect fauna." The 12 countries that the Bohart is highlighting are Australia, Belize, Democratic Republic of Congo, Korea, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Republic of South Africa, Turkey and the United States. The museum houses nearly eight million insect specimens, a gift shop and a live "petting zoo."  Visitors will be invited to "vote for the Bohart"  for a people's choice award. (See more on yesterday's Bug Squad for highlights.)

A QR code, linked to the voting survey, will be displayed at Briggs Hall and the Bohart Museum. Or folks can vote here from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. April 13.

Theme of the UC Davis Picnic Day celebration is "Adventure Awaits."

Insects (compliments of the UC Davis Department of Entommology and Nematology), await, too.