photo of BTI during a lab move of the Harvard Wind tunnel

Lab Move Client - The Combes Lab

Lab Move Location – Harvard Field Station, Bedford, Massachusetts

Lab Move Destination – University of California-Davis, Davis California

Lab Move Timetable – November 2018

We see drones fly about nowadays and it doesn’t phase us anymore. Did you ever wonder how scientists were able to develop such technology? It may surprise you to know that many drones are developed based on research done on the flight patterns of insects. 


Combes Lab is an organization that engages in this type of study. This includes its recent work, Biomechanics and Behavioral Ecology of Flying Insects. The study took place at the Harvard Field Station in Bedford, Massachusetts and involved literally putting insects into a wind tunnel. When it came time for the lab to move from Harvard Field Station to the University of California-Davis, BTI & Chipman Mayflower won the bid to move the wind tunnel from coast to coast.

Ironically, flying was not an option.

While there was a lot of expensive and delicate equipment to be moved, none was more pivotal than the wind tunnel. Using the spider crane, the tunnel was disassembled and delicately wrapped for transport. Once disassembled, BTI used anti-static wrap and built a customized crate to pack the wind tunnel.

The entire load took one day to pack into a Mayflower truck and was then transferred to the warehouse, loaded onto the over-the-road air ride trailer, thus beginning the trek from one coast to the other.

Insuring valuable goods in transit is an integral part in planning any lab relocation. The team conducting the study at Combs Lab had a requirement over the standard coverage options. We were able to satisfy their needs for complete coverage during the transport, to give them peace of mind during the cross country travels.

The goods arrived at UC-Davis without a sting, lab move complete. Once placed into the new lab, the Combes Lab team resumed their research in the enhancement and development of drone technology.

The Combes Lab

Biomechanics and Behavioral Ecology of Flying Insects

Morphology and Flight Control

Aerial Interactions

Complex Physical Environments

Turbulence and Unsteady Flow

Our lab has recently moved to its new home at the University of California, Davis!

We perform lab and field-based studies to understand how insects perform complex flight behaviors in unpredictable environments.  We work on a variety of insects, with a particular focus on how bees, flies and dragonflies interact with other flying insects and with their physical environment.

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