The Bohart Museum of Entomology will focus on pests of agricultural crops, including rice and alfalfa, at its open house from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 28.
The event, titled “Bugs in Ag: What Is Eating Our Crops and What Is Eating Them?” will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. It is free and open to the public.
The open house will focus on the expertise of Cooperative Extension specialist Ian Grettenberger of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who researches pests of rice and alfalfa, among other crops. He and postdoctoral fellow Buddhi Achhami of the Grettenberger lab will be displaying tadpole shrimp (crustaceans), alfalfa weevils, aphids and other pests, and will field questions.
“We plan to talk broadly about the pests that eat our crops and the natural enemies that help protect them,” Grettenberger said. “The plan is to feature a few videos of the pests and their natural enemies and have some live displays of insects from alfalfa, along with some tadpole shrimp for rice. I am planning to cover alfalfa and use alfalfa to discuss biological control since there are so many natural enemies in there. and aphids can be a pest.” Natural enemies include assassin bugs, lady beetles (aka ladybugs) and soldier beetles.
Grettenberger will display newly hatched tadpole shrimp. Guests will be able to view the pests under a microscope. He also plans to show small rice plants, which “look like grass in water.”
Family art activity
The family art activity will be to make tadpole shrimp hats or puppets and provide "googly eyes" to imitate the compound eyes and and the naupliar ocellus, according to Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum education and outreach coordinator. Tadpole shrimp, from genus of Triops, belong to the order Notostraca (tadpole shrimp). The name Triops originates from two Greek words meaning "three" and "eye.”
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens; a live "petting zoo" comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks (stick insects) and tarantulas; and a year-around gift shop (also online) stocked with insect-themed gifts, such as t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, posters, jewelry, books, puppets, candy and collecting equipment.
The Bohart Museum has been closed to the public for the last two years due to COVID-19 pandemic precautions. The Bohart observed UC Davis Picnic Day by setting up displays in the hallway of the Academic Surge Building. This spring the museum is open to the public, but groups must make reservations and everyone must follow the UC Davis visitor guidelines: https://campusready.ucdavis.edu/visitors?. The museum's "visiting us" page includes more information.