FAIRFIELD — Check out the bee observation hive. Hold a rose-haired tarantula. Admire California’s most colorful dragonflies and butterflies. Make a bee hand-puppet.
Those are a few of the hands-on activities that will take place in the University of California, Davis, Department of Entomology and Nematology’s insect booth in the Floriculture Building during the Dixon May Fair, which opens Thursday and ends Sunday.
Entomologists, researchers, beekeepers and honey experts will be among those staffing the booth and answering questions from fairgoers.
Entomologist Jeff Smith of Rocklin, a 27-year volunteer at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, will be at the fair from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Visitors can hold a 22-year-old rose-haired tarantula, one of the most popular insects at the Bohart Museum open houses. Other live insects are scheduled to include Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks.
Smith, who holds bachelor’s degrees from San Jose State University in biological sciences and environmental health with a concentration in public health entomology, spent four years in the U.S. Air Force, working on ground maintenance of B-52 aircraft, with service in Thailand and Guam as well as numerous U.S. bases.
He worked in pest management for two years and then worked for Univar USA up to his retirement in 2013. Univar is a national supplier of pest control products.
Now he fully pursues his passion for Lepidoptera (a large order of insects that includes moths and butterflies) with the Bohart Museum of Entomology, where he has managed and improved the Lepidoptera collection for the past 27 years as a volunteer. He studied and collected insects on 10 excursions to Latin American rainforest areas.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, is the global home of nearly 8 million insect specimens.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.