Honey, Let's Go Taste Honey!

Honey, let's go taste honey!

Yes, you can do just that at Briggs Hall during the UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 13. It's free and family friendly.

And one of the crowd favorites, meadowfoam, will be offered. Honey enthusiasts say it tastes like "cotton candy" and reminds them of a county fair. They also compare it to marshmallows.

"It's quickly becoming America's favorite honey," says Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center. She describes it as a "confectionery honey."

Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, who is coordinating the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's honey tasting, has announced the featured varietals are meadowfoam, sage, cotton and buckwheat.

Two of the department's displays have been nominated for People's Choice awards: the honey tasting booth and the Bohart Museum of Entomology's display, "Will Travel for Bugs: The Bohart Museum of Entomology's Collections from Around the World." Voters can vote via the QR code or online (vote here) from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., April 13.

Briggs Hall, located off Kleiber Hall Drive, will be open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. while the Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.--shorter hours  to enable the Bohart scientists and volunteers to help at Briggs Hall and with the UC Davis Picnic Day Parade.

Briggs Hall. Among the other scheduled events, in addition to honey tasting:

  • Cockroach Races: Participants can pick their favorite "roach athlete" and cheer it to victory.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Bee Observation Hive: Viewers can check out the queen, workers and drones in the bee observation hive and see tools used in beekeeping.
  • Bug Doctor: The Doctor Is In: Graduate students will identify insects and arachnids and answer questions
  • 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.
  • Ants: Graduate students from Professor Phil Ward's lab will talk to visitors about the amazing world of ants.
  • 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.
  • Forest Beetles: Learn what beetles are attacking our forests. 
  • 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). Newly printed t-shirts feature the roach races, an American Gothic of entomologists, and a cicada plugged into an amp. Selection and prices are online at https://mkt.com/UCDavisEntGrad/ 
  • Bake Sale: The Entomology Club will offer insect-themed baked goods.

Bohart Museum. The Bohart Museum, founded in 1946, is directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology. "At the Bohart, we are focusing on the various countries from around the world and some of their insect fauna," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. The 12 countries that the Bohart is highlighting, besides the United States, are Australia, Belize, Democratic Republic of Congo, Korea, Madagascar, Malayasia, Mexico,Papua New Guinea, Peru, Republic of South Africa, and Turkey.

The Bohart Museum is the home of nearly eight million insect specimens, plus a year-around gift shop and a live "petting zoo" that includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects, tarantulas and praying mantids. The gift shop is stocked with books, jewlery, t-shirts, insect-collecting equipment, insect-themed candy, and stuffed animals. The insect museum  is open to the general public Mondays through Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m.,  plus occasional, weekend open houses​. Admission is free. Further information is available on the Bohart Museum website.