The Biggest and the Baddest

Jan 8, 2013

The Biggest and the Baddest

Jan 8, 2013

Sometimes we divide insects into "the biggest and the baddest."

Such will be the case Sunday, Jan. 13 when the Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California, Davis, hosts an open house from 1 to 4 p.m., in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building.

The theme: "Extreme Insects!" That's with an exclamation point because these insects are indeed extreme, meaning quite out of the ordinary. 

The event is free and open to the public.

Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and a UC Davis professor of entomology, says "the biggest and the baddest" include:

  • Greatest wingspan – the white witch moth from Central America (11 inches)
  • Heaviest beetle – the African goliath beetle (2 ounces, and fist-sized)
  • Loudest insect – the American cicada (108 decibels, as loud as a power saw or rock concert)
  • Fastest flier – horseflies (more than 80 miles per hour)
  • Most painful sting – the tarantula hawk wasp
  • Deadliest insect – the house fly for vectoring more than 250 different human pathogens
  • Fastest runner – the tiger beetle at 5 miles per hour
  • Deadliest insect – the harvester ant, sting 3 times as toxic as honey bee venom
  • Most beautiful moth – the moon moths and rainbow moths

The Bohart Museum houses a global collection of nearly eight million insect specimens and is the seventh largest insect collection in North America. It is also the home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum in 1946. 

Bohart officials schedule weekend open houses throughout the academic year so that families and others who cannot attend on the weekdays can do so on the weekends. The Bohart’s regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday.  The insect museum is closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free.  

The Bohart Museum also includes a gift shop where visitors can purchase t-shirts, sweatshirts, posters, insect nets, books and jewelry. A live "petting zoo" features Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas.

The Academic Surge building is located on Crocker Avenue, formerly California Drive. 

The remainder of the open houses for the 2012-2013 academic year are:

Saturday, Feb. 2, 1 to 4 p.m.
Theme: "Biodiversity Museum Day"

Sunday, March 24, 1 to 4 p.m.
Theme: "Aquatic Insects"

Saturday, April 20: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Theme: UC Davis Picnic Day

Saturday, May 11, 1 to 4 p.m.
Theme: "Moth-er's Day"

Sunday, June 9, 1 to 4 p.m.
Theme: "How to Find Insects"

For further information, contact Lynn Kimsey at or senior museum scientist Steve Heydon at The Bohart phone number: (530) 752-0493.