At the Bohart: Life Is Better With Bugs

They came. They saw. They held out their hands.

Hands? Yes, to hold Madagascar hissing cockroaches and stick insects (walking sticks).

The Bohart Museum of Entomology greeted some 1400 visitors during the 13th annual UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day, an event held Feb. 10 and showcasing 10 museums or collections across campus.

The Bohart Museum houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, plus a live petting zoo ("the hissers" and "the sticks") and an insect-themed gift shop stocked with T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, books, posters, stuffed animals, jewelry and insect-collecting equipment.

The entrance to the Bohart features a 5x6-foot photograph of a cuckoo or emerald wasp, commonly known as "the ruby-tailed wasp." It's the work of noted British photographer Levon Bliss. The microscupture encompasses more than 8,000 separate images. 

Inside, Jeff Smith, who curates the Lepidoptera collection, and Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas, answered questions about the butterfly and moth specimens.

New director of the Bohart Museum is professor and arachnologist Jason Bond, the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and associate dean, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Bond succeeds UC Davis distinguished professor emerita Lynn Kimsey, who served as director from 1999 until Jan. 31, retiring on Feb. 1. Kimsey continues her research and in serving as executive director of the Bohart Museum Society.

The next open house at the Bohart Museum will be from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, March 3. The theme: "Grasshoppers,Crickets and Katydids." A talk is planned from 1 to 2 p.m., with the museum open from 2 to 4 p.m. 

The Bohart Museum also is planning its annual open house for the annual UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 20. 

Founded in 1946 by UC Davis professor Richard Bohart, the insect museum is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane. More information is on its website or by contacting