Winter Wonderland for Insects

Dec 12, 2011

You've probably already "put a bug" in Santa's ear, telling him what you want.

But have you ever thought of putting a bug on your holiday card?

If you're an entomologist, absolutely. If you like insects, probably. If you're not a bug lover, no.

However, here's what can happen if you mosey on over to the Bohart Museum of Entomology this Sunday, Dec. 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. on the UC Davis campus.

The creative folks at the Bohart Museum, located at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, are sponsoring an open house, themed "Insects in the Winter Wonderland." There you can learn where insects go in the winter.

And you can create a holiday insect card to take home and share with others.

The event, free and open to the public, is the last of the Bohart Museum's 2011 weekend open houses. You'll have to wait 'til 2012 to attend the others.

"We will be focusing on what insects do and where they go when it gets cold," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator at the Bohart. "For example, monarch butterflies survive the winter by clustering together in Mexico or on the California coast; tomato hornworms overwinter underground as pupa, and honey bees can stay warm inside their hives and live off of their stored honey."

Visitors also can enjoy a live “petting zoo” with such residents as Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks.

The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses a global collection of more than seven million insect specimens, the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and is also the home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007), who was Lynn Kimsey's major professor, founded the museum in 1946.

The Bohart Museum launched its series of weekend openings for the fall season on Saturday, Sept. 24 with “Catch, Collect and Curate: Entomology 101.”

The remaining schedule for the 2011-2012 academic year:

Saturday, Jan. 14, 1 to 4 p.m.: “A New Year,  a New Bug, How Insects Are Discovered”

Sunday, Feb. 12, 1 to 4 p.m., “Bug Lovin’”

Saturday, March 10, 1 to 4 p.m., “Hide ‘n’ Seek: Insect Camouflage”

Saturday, April 21: 10 to 3 p.m., UC Davis Picnic Day

Saturday, May 12, 1 to 4 p.m., “Pre-Moth’ers Day”

Sunday, June 3, 1 to 4 p.m., “Bug Light, Bug Bright…First Bug I See Tonight.”

Regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The museum is closed on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free.

More information is available on the Bohart website or by contacting Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator at or (530) 752-0493.

It's not too late to have a "buggy" holiday.

By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images:

A ladybug in the winter. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A ladybug in the winter. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bee heading toward Christmas Cheer, aka red-hot poker (Kniphofia). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Honey bee heading toward Christmas Cheer, aka red-hot poker (Kniphofia). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)