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Posts Tagged: Bohart Museum of Entomology

Eighteen Myths About Insects and Spiders

UC Davis graduate student Alex Dedmon, who studies with forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey, shows his butterfly tattoo, the work of entomology student Jessica Gillung. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Oh, the myths about insects and spiders!

It was a fun and educational afternoon when the UC Davis Bohart Museum  of Entomology hosted an open house last Sunday.

Visitors checked out the displays, asked the entomologists and staff questions, and looked over the list of myths.

Yes, there are a lot of myths.

We'll share! (Ask the person next to you if he/she can answer them. No fair peeking at the answers)

1. Butterflies and moths can't fly if you rub the scales of their wings.

Answer: Not true, they can fly.

2. Black widow females eat the males after mating.

Answer: Only if the male isn't fast enough.

3. Chiggers burrow under your skin and suck your blood.

Answer: False. Chiggers simply feed and leave, like mosquitoes.

4. Brown recluse spiders are common in California, biting many people.

Answer: Brown recluse spiders are not found anywhere near California.

5. Ultrasonic devices help keep pests out of your kitchen.

Answer. False. Few insects can hear, certainly not cockroaches.

6. Camel spiders scream like babes, inject toxins and prey on GI's in Iraq.

Answer: Not true at any level.

7. Mosquitoes transmit HIV.

Answer: They cannot transmit HIV under any circumstances.

8. Earwigs crawl into your ear and lay eggs in your brain.

Answer. They sometime do crawl in ears by accident, but do not lay eggs.

9. Bedbugs bore, burrow, dig and fly.

Answer: No, they can only walk or scurry.

10. Insects don't feel pain.

Answer: Probably true; their nervous systems are too limited, any injury would probably kill them.

11. It is illegal to catch preying mantids and monarchs.

Answer: There are no laws against this.

12. Twenty-five percent of the protein in our diet is from swallowing spiders that crawl in our mouths at night.

Answer: This never happens.

13. Love bugs that plague the southeastern United States are the result of government experiments.

Answer: No, Mother Nature came up with this.

14. Ten percent of the weight of your pillow is house dust mites.

Answer: False. House dust mites are found only in coastal southeastern United States.

15. All bees die after stinging.

Answer: False. Only worker honey bees die after stinging.

16. Ticks must be removed by rotating them clockwise.

Answer: False. Just pull the tick straight out.

17. "Daddy long legs" are deadly, but their jaws are too small to bite humans.

Answer: False. Their venom is no more poisonous than most spiders.

18. Copper pennies cure bee stings.

Answer. No, it just doesn't work.

The Bohart Museum of Entomology, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology, is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays (except holidays). It is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane (corner of LaRue and Crocker). It is home to nearly eight million insect specimens, plus a live "petting zoo" (think Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas) and a year-around gift shop filled with T-shirts, jewelry, insect collecting equipment, posters, books and insect-themed candy.

The beginning of a black widow spider tattoo, compliments of entomology Jessica Gillung of the Bohart. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The beginning of a black widow spider tattoo, compliments of entomology Jessica Gillung of the Bohart. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The beginning of a black widow spider tattoo, compliments of entomology Jessica Gillung of the Bohart. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomologist Fran Keller, who received her doctorate from UC Davis, smiles as student Jessica Gillung asks her which insect she wants. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Entomologist Fran Keller, who received her doctorate from UC Davis, smiles as student Jessica Gillung asks her which insect she wants. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomologist Fran Keller, who received her doctorate from UC Davis, smiles as entomology student Jessica Gillung asks her which insect she wants. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A youth looking at a ladybug display. The premise,
A youth looking at a ladybug display. The premise, "You can tell the age of a ladybug by counting its spots, is false. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A youth looking at a ladybug display. The premise, "You can tell the age of a ladybug by counting its spots, is false. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, November 24, 2014 at 8:31 PM

Myths and Gifts

Author Fran Keller with her dogface butterfly book. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Myths and gifts...

When the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology hosts its open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 23, the theme will be "Insect Myths." (Okay, and spider myths, too!)

You'll learn about honey bee, ladybug, butterfly and spider myths at this family-oriented event, which is free and open to the public.

The insect museum  located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, is not only the home of nearly 8 million insect specimens, but it operates a live "pettting zoo" (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas) and a year-around gift shop filled with T-shirts, jewelry, posters, books, bug-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy, including chocolate-dipped scorpions, crunchy crickets, and protein-rich lollipops. 

Insect jewelry is popular at the Bohart Museum. Proceeds are earmarked for educational efforts. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Two of the latest books available in the gift shop are Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide (Princeton University Press) and California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists (Heyday), co-authored by native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis. Thorp is an associate at the Bohart Museum and maintains an office in the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.  

Another popular book, published in 2013, is a 35-page children's book, The Story of the Dogface Butterfly, authored by entomologist Fran Keller, who this year received her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis. She is a researcher, college instructor, mentor, artist, photographer, and author.

The book, geared for  kindergarten through sixth-grade classrooms, and also a favorite of  adults, tells the untold story of the California dogface butterfly (Zerene eurydice), and how a classroom successfully mounted a campaign to name it the California state insect. Illustrations by artist Laine Bauer, a UC Davis graduate, and photographs by naturalist Greg Kareofelas, a Bohart Museum volunteer, depict the life cycle of this butterfly and show the host plant, false indigo (Amorpha californica). Net proceeds from the sale of this book are earmarked for the education, outreach and research programs at the Bohart Museum.

Gift shop items are available both in the store (Monday through Thursday) and online, http://www.bohartmuseum.com/.

Among the favorites gifts at the Bohart Museum:

  • T-shirts depicting images of dragonflies, butterflies,  beetles and moths
  • Bohart Museum coffee mug
  • Insect collecting net
  • Posters of butterflies of Central Californian, Dragonflies of California, and the California Dogface butterfly
  • Butterfly habitat
  • Jewelry depicting bees, butterflies, dragonflies and ladybugs (many of the boxes are engraved with the Bohart logo and treasured)
  • Science kits
  • Insect and spider books
  • Insect magnets

The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, is open to the public  from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. It is closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free. More information is available by contacting the Bohart Museum at (530) 752-0493 or Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator at tabyang@ucdavis.edu.

Robbin Thorp with two of the books he co-authored. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Robbin Thorp with two of the books he co-authored. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Robbin Thorp with two of the books he co-authored. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, November 21, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Bohart Museum Open House: Insect Myths!

Worker bee. Many myths persist. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
How many insect myths do you know?

Worker bees are males, right? 

Butterflies and moths can't fly if you rub the scales off their wings, right?

Earwigs crawl into your ears and then into your brain, right?  

Wrong. They're all widely known but falsely held beliefs.

What better place to learn about insect myths than the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology, home of nearly eight million insect specimens? An open house is scheduled  from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 23, in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building, Crocker Lane.

The Bohart folks will dispel scores of myths, including these:

  • Brown recluse spiders are found in California 
  • Daddy long-leg spiders are very venomous, but their mouths are too small to bite us.
  • We swallow/eat a significant amount of spiders/insects in our sleep. 

The open house is free and open to the public, and family friendly.

Directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, the insect museum is also the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity.

Special attractions include a live "petting zoo," featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches,  walking sticks and tarantulas. Visitors are invited to hold the insects and photograph them. In addition, face painting will be among the family-oriented activities. Think bugs!

Visitors can also browse the gift shop, which includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy. (Gifts can also be purchased online.)

The Bohart Museum's popular open houses are in addition to its regular weekday hours, from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. It is closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free.

Here's a list of open houses through Saturday, July 18: 

  • Saturday, Dec. 20: “Insects and Art,” 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Jan. 11: “Parasitoid Palooza,” 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 8: “Biodiversity Museum Day,” noon to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 14: “Pollination Nation,” 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 18: UC Davis Picnic Day, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 17: “Name That Bug! How About Bob?” 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 18: “Moth Night,” 8 to 11 p.m.

More information is available by contacting (530) 752-0493 or Tabatha Yang, education and public outreach coordinator at tabyang@ucdavis.edu

Gulf Fritillary butterfly on Cosmos. One myth is that if you rub the scales off their wings (who would want to?), they can't fly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Gulf Fritillary butterfly on Cosmos. One myth is that if you rub the scales off their wings (who would want to?), they can't fly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Gulf Fritillary butterfly on Cosmos. One myth is that if you rub the scales off their wings (who would want to?), they can't fly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Cellar spider wrapping a honey bee. How many myths do you know about spiders? (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Cellar spider wrapping a honey bee. How many myths do you know about spiders? (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Cellar spider wrapping a honey bee. How many myths do you know about spiders? (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 6:06 PM

Spiders? Scary? Spooky?

Black widow spider and egg sacs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
"Look, there's a spider!"

A sure-fire way to frighten arachnophobics is the very mention of "spiders"--especially on Halloween.

Spiders aren't insects but arthropods, order Araneae. They have eight legs, which according to some, are seven legs too many. They are also distinguished by their chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. 

You've seen them. Black widow spiders. Jumping spiders. Crab spiders. Garden spiders. 

If you fear them, there's a name for that fear: Arachnophobia. Wikipedia says that "People with arachnophobia tend to feel uneasy in any area they believe could harbor spiders or that has visible signs of their presence, such as webs. If arachnophobics see a spider, they may not enter the general vicinity until they have overcome the panic attack that is often associated with their phobia. Some people scream, cry, have trouble breathing, have excessive sweating or even heart trouble when they come in contact with an area near spiders or their webs. In some extreme cases, even a picture or a realistic drawing of a spider can also trigger fear."

So many myths about spiders.  The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington,  Seattle, has posted some of the myths, misconceptions and superstitions on its website.

The general fallacies, as listed by Rod Crawford, curator of arachnids: 

General Fallacies

Meanwhile, over at the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, plans are underway for an open house themed "Insect Myths." They will focus on spider myths, too.

The event, free and open to the public, is set for Sunday, Nov. 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane,  off LaRue Road.  Directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, the museum houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens and is the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. The museum is open to the public four days a week, Monday through Thursday (9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m.)  but it sponsors special weekend open houses as well.

The remaining schedule:

  • Sunday, Nov. 23: “Insect Myths,” 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 20: “Insects and Art,” 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Jan. 11: “Parasitoid Palooza,” 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 8: “Biodiversity Museum Day,” noon to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 14: “Pollination Nation,” 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 18: UC Davis Picnic Day, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 17: “Name That Bug! How About Bob?” 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 18: “Moth Night,” 8 to 11 p.m.

 When you attend the Bohart Museum open houses, you'll probably have the opportunity to hold and/or photograph "Rosie," a 24-year-old tarantula. It's one of the critters in the live "petting zoo," which also includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches, millipedes and walking sticks.

Jumping spider eyes the photographer. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Jumping spider eyes the photographer. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Jumping spider eyes the photographer. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Crab spider on sedum eyes a honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Crab spider on sedum eyes a honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Crab spider on sedum eyes a honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Garden spider captures a honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Garden spider captures a honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Garden spider captures a honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, October 31, 2014 at 2:06 PM

How to Pin a Butterfly

Fingers and pins. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
How do you pin and spread a butterfly?

Entomologist Jeff Smith, an associate at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California, Davis,  showed everyone from pre-schoolers to adults how to do just that at the Bohart's recent open house.

It was all hands-on.

Smith provided the dried insects and spreading boards. Each participant took home a pinned butterfly on a spreading board for later removal and display. Smith also contributed the labels. 

Cassidy Hansen of Rio Vista, a 2012 graduate of Rio Vista High School, was among the participants. She said she may decide to major in entomology. 

Smith asked a group of participants why the proboscis (tongue) of a white-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata), commonly known as the hummingbird moth, is so long. Some looked puzzled. "To reach the nectar of tubed  flowers," he answered. Smith then pulled out the proboscis to show them the length. 

The participants also admired the research collection, held exotic insects and arthropods, viewed a bee observation hive, and collected insects on the lawn behind the building.

This was the first in a series of open houses planned during the academic year.All open houses are free and open to the public.  

The schedule:

  •   Sunday, Nov. 23: “Insect Myths,” 1 to 4 p.m.
  •   Saturday, Dec. 20: “Insects and Art,” 1 to 4 p.m.
  •   Sunday, Jan. 11: “Parasitoid Palooza,” 1 to 4 p.m.
  •   Sunday, Feb. 8: “Biodiversity Museum Day,” noon to 4 p.m.
  •   Saturday, March 14: “Pollination Nation,” 1 to 4 p.m.
  •   Saturday, April 18: UC Davis Picnic Day, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  •   Sunday, May 17: “Name That Bug! How About Bob?” 1 to 4 p.m.
  •   Saturday, July 18: “Moth Night,” 8 to 11 p.m.

 The Bohart Museum is located in Room 1124 of Academic Surge building on Crocker Lane, off LaRue Road. Directed by  Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, the Bohart Museum houses nearly eight million insect specimens, a live “petting zoo” and a gift shop. 

More information on the open houses are available from Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator, at (530) 752-0493 or tabyang@ucdavis.edu.

Want to learn how make an insect collection? An award-winning collection of short videos on "How to Make an Insect Collection" is posted on the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology website and on YouTube. These student-produced videos, directed by Professor James Carey, are short and concise. The project won an award from the Entomological Society of America. It is considered the best of its kind on the web.

Entomologist Jeff Smith shows Cassidy Hansen fof Rio Vista how to pin a butterly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Entomologist Jeff Smith shows Cassidy Hansen fof Rio Vista how to pin a butterly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomologist Jeff Smith shows Cassidy Hansen fof Rio Vista how to pin a butterly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Cassidy Hansen works on a butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Cassidy Hansen works on a butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Cassidy Hansen works on a butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of the project. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of the project. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of the project. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A white-lined sphinx moth, Hyles lineata. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A white-lined sphinx moth, Hyles lineata. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A white-lined sphinx moth, Hyles lineata. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The white-lined sphinx moth has a long proboscis (tongue). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The white-lined sphinx moth has a long proboscis (tongue). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The white-lined sphinx moth has a long proboscis (tongue). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, October 3, 2014 at 5:55 PM

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