Capitol Corridor
University of California
Capitol Corridor

Posts Tagged: wasps

Aren't You Supposed to Be Hibernating?

A western yellowjacket, Vespula pensylvanica, flies toward Algerian ivy in mid-December in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Dec. 22 marked the winter solstice, the first day of winter. But don't tell that to the western yellowjacket, Vespula pensylvanica. It's supposed...

A western yellowjacket, Vespula pensylvanica, flies toward Algerian ivy in mid-December in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A western yellowjacket, Vespula pensylvanica, flies toward Algerian ivy in mid-December in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A western yellowjacket, Vespula pensylvanica, flies toward Algerian ivy in mid-December in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A western yellowjacket, Vespula pensylvanica, sipping nectar from Algerian ivy in Vacaville, Calif. in mid-December. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A western yellowjacket, Vespula pensylvanica, sipping nectar from Algerian ivy in Vacaville, Calif. in mid-December. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A western yellowjacket, Vespula pensylvanica, sipping nectar from Algerian ivy in Vacaville, Calif. in mid-December. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, December 26, 2016 at 2:24 PM

Pollinator Pavilion: A Prized Exhibit at UC Davis Picnic Day

Monarch butterfly nectaring on plants inside the 2015 Pollination Pavilion enclosure. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Pollinator Pavilion. Picnic Day. They go together like honey bees on bee balm and bumble bees on tomatoes.  When you attend the 102nd annual...

Monarch butterfly nectaring on plants inside the 2015 Pollination Pavilion enclosure. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Monarch butterfly nectaring on plants inside the 2015 Pollination Pavilion enclosure. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Monarch butterfly nectaring on plants inside the 2015 Pollination Pavilion enclosure. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Crowds peered through the 2015 Pollinator Pavilion enclosure and then entered excitedly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Crowds peered through the 2015 Pollinator Pavilion enclosure and then entered excitedly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Crowds peered through the 2015 Pollinator Pavilion enclosure and then entered excitedly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2016 at 5:03 PM

Of wasps and penny-farthings and holiday gifting

A colony of European paper wasps, Polistes dominula.(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Quick, what do wasps share in common with penny-farthings and holiday gifting?

Umm, a t-shirt? Right, you nailed it!

If you're trying to find something "buggy" for your friends and family, then you'll want to take a look at the design that won the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Students' Association (EGSA) t-shirt contest.

"Hymenoptera on a Bike" is the work of Stacey Rice, a junior specialist in the lab of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension specialist Larry Godfrey, who is based at UC Davis. Rice researches Bagrada bugs (Bagrada hilaris), an invasive stink bug from Africa known for attacking cole crops, including broccoli, cabbage, collards, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and mustard.

She is also an artist, and a very creative one at that. So when the EGSA announced its annual t-shirt contest, Rice decided to fuse art with science.

“I wanted to draw a penny-farthing, which is part of the UC Davis culture,” she said. "Then I wanted an insect that would be able to put its abdomen on the seat and have long enough legs to reach the pedals.”

Iowa State University entomologist Amy Toth coined #wasplove. (Photo courtesy of Iowa State University)
Rice solved the dilemma by creating a “new species” of wasp and winning the contest, as determined by a vote of the department's faculty, staff and students. 

An alumnus of UC Davis, Rice received her bachelor's degree in biological sciences with a minor in veterinary entomology in March 2015. Her goal is to attend graduate school and receive her doctorate, either in integrated pest management or forensic entomology.

She became interested in both fields after enrolling in a “behavioral ecology of insects” course taught by Edwin Lewis, associate dean for agricultural sciences in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and professor and former vice chair, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.

The t-shirt, now available to the public on the EGSA's website, sold well at the Entomological Society of America's recent meeting in Minneapolis. (For more information on the T-shirt and other EGSA t-shirts available, access the online store at http://mkt.com/UCDavisEntGrad or contact EGSA treasurer Cindy Preto at crpreto@ucdavis.edu. All proceeds benefit EGSA.)

And wasps? Think #wasplove.

When Amy Toth, an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, presented a seminar in May to the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, she covered her latest research on wasps and her enthusiasm was contagious.

We later asked her to list why she loves wasps (she coined the hashtag, #wasplove), and she obliged:

  1. They are pollinators 
  2. They contribute to biocontrol of lepidopteran pests in gardens and on decorative plants
  3. They have been shown to carry yeasts to winemaking grapes that may be important contributors to the fermentation process and wonderful flavors in wine!
  4. They are the only known insect (Polistes fuscatus) that can recognize each other as individuals by their faces.
  5. They are devoted mothers that will dote on their young all day long for weeks, defending their families with fury.
  6. Their social behavior, in my opinion, is the most human-like of any insect.  They know each other as individuals, and are great cooperators overall, but there is an undercurrent of selfishness to their behavior, manifest in nearly constant passive-aggressive interactions between individuals.
  7. They are artists.  They make perfect hexagonal nest cells out of paper, which they make themselves out of tree bark + saliva.
  8. They are extremely intelligent.  They're predators, architects, good navigators, and great learners.  Among insects, they have large brains, especially the mushroom bodies (learning/memory and cognition area of insect brain).
  9. They are beautiful, complex, and fascinating creatures!

And to that list, we add No. 10: wasps are also photogenic!

Especially when they're riding a penny-farthing.  

Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey

Junior specialist Stacey Rice of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology wearing the award-winning t-shirt that she designed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Junior specialist Stacey Rice of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology wearing the award-winning t-shirt that she designed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Junior specialist Stacey Rice of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology wearing the award-winning t-shirt that she designed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A foraging European paper wasp, Polistes dominula. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A foraging European paper wasp, Polistes dominula. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A foraging European paper wasp, Polistes dominula. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 8:31 AM

Wasp Love!

A European paper wasp, Polistes dominula, foraging for food. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

"Wasp love." You don't hear those two words often, but you'll hear them often from Amy Toth, who's hoping that the hashtag, #wasplove, will draw...

A European paper wasp, Polistes dominula, foraging for food. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A European paper wasp, Polistes dominula, foraging for food. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A European paper wasp, Polistes dominula, foraging for food. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of a European paper wasp. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of a European paper wasp. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of a European paper wasp. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Amy Toth with a favorite wasp. (Photo courtesy of Iowa State University)
Amy Toth with a favorite wasp. (Photo courtesy of Iowa State University)

Amy Toth with a favorite wasp. (Photo courtesy of Iowa State University)

Posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 4:35 PM

Surprise! Bees and Ants More Closely Related Than Most Wasps

A bee and an ant; they're more closely related than they are to most wasps. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Who would have thought? Who would have thought that ants are more closely related to bees than they are to most wasps? In ground-breaking research...

A bee and an ant; they're more closely related than they are to most wasps. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A bee and an ant; they're more closely related than they are to most wasps. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A bee and an ant; they're more closely related than they are to most wasps. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Ants and bees are more genetically related to each other than they are to social wasps, such as this yellow jacket. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Ants and bees are more genetically related to each other than they are to social wasps, such as this yellow jacket. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Ants and bees are more genetically related to each other than they are to social wasps, such as this yellow jacket. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, October 7, 2013 at 9:57 PM
Tags: ants (25), bees (81), Brian Johnson (19), Current Biology (3), Ernest K. Lee (1), Joanna Chiu (20), Joel Atallah (1), Marek Borowiec (3), Phil Ward (21), wasps (7)

Next 5 stories | Last story

 
E-mail
 
Webmaster Email: kmchurchill@ucanr.edu