Butterflies will set the theme for the Bohart Museum of Entomology’s first weekend opening of the year, set Sunday, Jan. 23 from 1 to 4 p.m.
The Bohart Museum, located on the University of California, Davis campus at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, is home to more than seven million insect specimens, plus a live “petting zoo” that includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks.
The butterfly specimens, from throughout the world, range from the big and bold to the small and shy. Of special regional interest is the cabbage white butterfly, which usually emerges this month; a contest is under way to find the first one in the three-county area of Yolo, Solano or Sacramento.
To accommodate families and other area residents who are unable to attend the regular visiting hours, Mondays through Thursdays, the Bohart began offering special weekend hours last year.
Events scheduled this year, in addition to the Jan. 23 opening, are:
Saturday, Feb. 26: “Meet the Beetles,” 1 to 4 p.m.
Sunday, March 13: “The Ants Go Marching On,” 1 to 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 16: “UC Davis Picnic Day,” all day
Saturday, May 7: “Moth-ers Day,” featuring moths, 1 to 4 p.m.
Sunday, June 5: “June Bugs,” 1 to 4 p.m.
Cabbage white butterflies are the focus of Art Shapiro’s 40th annual Cabbage White Butterfly Competition, which began Jan. 1, 2011.
Shapiro, a noted butterfly expert and a professor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology and a close affiliate of the Bohart Museum, sponsors the annual contest to draw attention to Pieris rapae and its first flight. The first person to collect a cabbage white in Yolo, Solano or Sacramento will win a pitcher of beer or the equivalent. As of Jan. 19, no winner, he said.
“I had predicted the first rapae would be between Jan 17 and Jan. 21, based on my own projection of a 3-week January dry spell,” Shapiro said Wednesday, Jan. 19. “The projection was right on, but the bug may well not be out by then.”
The R. M. Bohart Museum of Entomology, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, was founded in 1946 by noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart. Dedicated to teaching, research and service, it houses the seventh largest insect collection in North America.
The museum holds specimens collected worldwide and is the home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity of California’s deserts, mountains, coast and great central valley.
The Bohart Museum also includes a gift shop, where visitors can purchase t-shirts, sweatshirts, jewelry, note cards, books, posters, insect candy and other gifts. The insect candy includes chocolate-covered ants and crickets. A favorite is a scorpion encased in a lollipop.
The museum’s regular hours are from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. It is closed on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
More information is available on the Bohart website or by contacting Tabatha Yang at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-9464. Due to limited space, group tours will not be booked during the weekend hours.