Ready for the May 22th Bohart Museum Virtual Open House?

If Lynn Kimsey, who directs the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis, had her say, the Asian giant hornets would NOT be nicknamed “the murder hornets.” 

Kimsey, professor of entomology with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and a past president (twice) of the International Society of Hymenopterists, will headline the Bohart Museum's virtual open house (Facebook Live) from 11 a.m. to 11:45 on Friday, May 22. It's the first-ever virtual open house; you can access it and ask questions on the Bohart Facebook page.

The theme is bees and wasps, so Professor Kimsey expects a number of questions about those obscure Asian giant hornets detected last fall in Canada and Washington state, the first confirmed sightings in North America. (One colony was detected and destroyed on Vancouver Island in September, and a single dead adult was found in Blaine, Wash. in December. 

However, a news frenzy ("murder hornets are invading North America!") and considerable panic ensued.  

So we asked Kimsey (she's granted six news media interviews on murder hornets to date), “What would you call them?” 

“I'd just call them giant hornets,” she said matter-of-factly.

 And then, in typical Kimsey humor, she deadpanned: “Or big, angry, orange-headed hornets!” 

Meanwhile, the Bohart folks' unannounced test drive on Facebook Live earlier this week drew some unexpected participants and a few questions, such as:

  • Do mantids often prey on hummingbirds?
  • Why are some beetles metallic in color?
  • What California beetle is attracted to fresh paint?  

"So, I presume, questions will be across the board," said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart's education and outreach coordinator.

"On the website we will have a coloring sheet of the Asian giant hornet drawn by our scientific illustration intern Meghan Crebbins-Oats, an undergrad at UC Davis.” 

The Bohart also will celebrate Linnaeus' birthday anniversary. Linnaeus (1707-1778), a Swedish taxonomist and physician known as "the father of modern taxonomy," was born May 23.

UC Davis doctoral student and Bohart associate Charlotte Herbert Alberts, who maintains strong ties to Sweden and taxonomy, thought that a traditional Swedish Fika with Kanelbullar to discuss taxonomy and Linnaeus would be "perfect."  

A Fika, an afternoon coffee/tea break, typically with kanelbullar (cinnamon buns), traditionally takes place at 3 p.m. in Sweden. "So we will be posting a kanelbullar recipe that Charlotte recommended," Yang said. 

"Hopefully people will be inspired to make some cinnamon buns, color, and think about names for Jason's new spider." (UC Davis professor Jason Bond discovered a new genus in Monterey County and is seeking a species name. (See Bug Squad blog about the spider and where to submit names.)  

"The kanelbullars are not overly sweet and the dough is infused with cardamon," said Yang, who baked them for her family this week. They were a big hit.

Meanwhile, Kimsey is ready for lots of questions Friday morning on Facebook Live.

Don't be too surprised if she's asked about that "big, angry, orange-headed hornet."