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Calendar >  Insect Festival 2015 Encinitas

Insect Festival 2015 Encinitas

By   /  July 27, 2015  /  No Comments


Most of the time, I haunt the streets of Vista looking for the stories I write. Usually I don’t need to roam much farther because Vista has so many interesting events and people. However, on Saturday, July 25 my wife and I ventured down to Encinitas for an unusual event.

Presented by the Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club and sponsored by K&M Pest Solutions, we attended the “Insect festival”. The event was being held at the San Diego Botanical Gardens, formerly known as Quail Gardens and later on renamed Quail Botanical Gardens. Here in a 37-acre urban oasis, you can find over 30 Gardens and sections filled with a plethora of exotic and native plants to explore.


Photos by Mary Murhpy

Now operated by San Diego County, this venue is part of a unique partnership in Encinitas. On April 4, 2014, six entities signed a MOA (memo of understanding) that defines their agreement “to develop educational, experiential learning and multigenerational programs around the nexus of agriculture, horticulture, nutrition, science, sustainability, community building and the local history and agricultural traditions of Encinitas. The six members of this “E3 Cluster” are: Encinitas Union School District, Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA, San Diego Botanic Garden, San Dieguito Heritage Museum, Seacrest Village Retirement Communities and The Leichtag Foundation.


Today we were seeing a special one-of-a-kind exhibit featuring thousands of fascinating creepy-crawlies including live insects, lizards, snakes, and the famous “Madagascar hissing cockroaches.” Children were everywhere and were involved in a multitude of activities such as bug collecting, hands-on insect arts and crafts, and even eating cooked mealworm larva. Yes, they were, and being the intrepid reporter from Vista, I had to eat a couple of these tasty critters too.

Intrepid Reporter tastes cooked Mealworm

Eating cooked mealworm larva


I wasn’t the only daring visitor to the gardens. Ten year old Lily from Escondido broadly smiled at the people gathered to watch her consume her first mealworm. Not a bit shy about it, she repeated her feat for us so we could take her photo. Another brave young lady was 7 ½ year old Hanna from Carlsbad. She was calmly holding a large snake while it curled around her forearm. Her mother informed us that Hanna had already tasted a mealworm and held a live honey bee in her palm. Representing the boys, we saw 8 year old Micah James from El Cajon reach into a large wash pan containing crawfish.

Inside the exhibit building where last year we saw exquisite Japanese floral arrangements, we now came upon thousands of insects. If it wasn’t for the fact that they were being displayed in glass cases my wife would have turned and ran. However, there were some live critters in the room but their glass enclosures were larger. Lizards, a tarantula, and those famous hissing cockroaches from Madagascar were assembled on tables all around the room. Most of the creatures were on loan from Bell’s Bugs and Entomological Research. Lee Bell-Duff, a former Elementary school teacher and Bob Duff an author with a degree in Entomology have put together this impressive educational display that is available for any event. bellsbugs@yahoo.com

Also on hand were Entomologists and other bug experts to answer questions. All in all there were more than 20 informational booths that were teaching and entertaining children and adults alike. Here we met Tracy Ellis, PH.D, an Agricultural Scientist and Entomologist with the county of San Diego. Tracy was very friendly and informative as she led us to the displays of sterile fruit flies and insects that threaten our crops and gardens here in San Diego. She told us how the fruit flies are combated with the use of sterile flies that are raised in Guatemala. She was most helpful to us and our current bee problem. Bees have moved into the underneath of our above ground Spa.

Thanks to Tracy we learned about the Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter, the Goldspotted Oak Borer, and the Asian Citrus Psyllid, which are some of the more devastating dangers to agriculture in California. The Oak Borer is fairly new to California but this beetle has already killed many mature oaks in the Descanso area and the Cleveland Forest. See www.gsob.org. To prevent the spread of this tree killer, campers are being asked to leave oak firewood behind and not move it with them. Not to be outdone the Glassy-Wing Sharpshooter is a major threat to grapevines with no known effective treatment. These varmints have caused an epidemic of Pierce’s disease in the wine country canyons of Temecula. For more information about these pests and others check out http://cesandiego.ucanr.edu/cooperativeextension/Contact_Us/

Also, if you have questions about pests in your garden or you would like tips on creating an Earth-Friendly garden you can contact the UCCE Master Gardener Program of San Diego County at 858-822-6910. On their web site you can learn how to select plants, conserve water, manage pests, protect wildlife and much more. www.masterGardenerSD.org


We weren’t the only Vistans at the Gardens for this wonderful Insect festival. Assisting the SD Botanical Gardens with parking and selling jars of honey were Rex Christensen and the scouts from BSA Troop 799. They are part of the Santa Margarita District and they are sponsored by the Sunrise Vista Kiwanis. They meet at 6:30 p.m. on Mondays at the 1st Lutheran Church of Vista. Rex told us that they have a tradition of supporting the botanical gardens with special events like the Insect festival.

Sculpture in the Garden is now being presented thru May 2016. Visitors will see diverse creations set against a unique backdrop of dragon trees, rare fruit gardens, bamboo groves, tranquil ponds, and other natural settings. Art works from top regional, national, and international artists have been mindfully selected by Naomi Nussbaum Art & Design, curator of this year’s show. For more info on this event and others go to: http://www.sdbgarden.org/


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