Posts Tagged: Elizabeth Frost
It's not spring, but don't tell that to the folks at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis.
Today bee breeder-geneticist Michael "Kim" Fondrk mowed the lush green grass around the apiary. Bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, manager of the Laidlaw facility, continued preparing for a series of specialized bee courses. She tended the hives with beekeeper and junior specialist Elizabeth Frost and beekeeper Tylan Selby, a first-year entomology student.
The conference room buzzed with ideas for an upcoming tour. Following the meeting, Extension Apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty talked "bees 'n almonds" with Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology on the UC Davis campus. Yang will be conducting the first of what will probably be many tours at the Laidlaw facility.
The tours will include the half-acre Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven and the quarter-acre Campus Buzzway. Both are bee friendly gardens that will provide a year-around food source for the bees, and educational opportunities for visitors.
Meanwhile, oblivious to the people activity, the bees continued to gather pollen and nectar from nearby almond trees.
"The queen bees are really busy laying eggs," Cobey said. That means more workers, more drones and more queen bees.
During the peak season, a queen bee can lay 2000 eggs a day, Cobey said.
That's definitely springing into action.
Examining Almond Blossoms
Lovely almond blossoms
Pull out the bottom tray (floor) of a beehive and you're likely to see lots of bee droppings, a little pollen, a few mites, a few dead bees and...a few scurrying ants.
Ants find a bee hive nice and cozy, especially in the winter as temperatures drop.
Beekeeper Elizabeth "Liz" Frost of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis, who helps tend the hives never knows what she'll see during a colony inspection.
"Look," she pointed out, "see the ant carrying pollen?"
The tiny little critter hustling a heavy load of pollen made for an interesting photo.
Ants and bees are both social insects and belong to the same order, Hymenoptera. Bees and ants are sometimes called "superorganisms" as they employ a division of specialized labor, working together to support the colony for the good of all.
Ants in the bee hive, though, are a nuisance.
Off to the Nest
When the U.S. Postal Service Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee meets in January 2010, let's hope the group supports the proposal for a Lorenzo Langstroth commemorative stamp.
The Rev. Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth (1810-1895), an apiarist, clergyman and educator, is considered the "Father of American Beekeeping."
Born in Philadelphia and an 1831 graduate of Yale University, Langstroth revolutionized the beekeeping industry by inventing the movable-frame honey bee hive, patented in 1852. He authored The Hive and the Honey Bee (1853) and Langstroth on the Honey Bee: A Bee-Keepers' Manual (1860), both in use today.
A commemorative stamp would pay tribute to his life's work and draw attention to the work of the honey bees and the declining bee population.
The Down to Earth Project of the Science Friday Initiative (4 West 43rd Street, NY, NY 10036) is spearheading plans for the proposed stamp.
In an e-mail sent us by the Pollinator Partnership: "Throughout the year 2010, the Down to Earth Program will be developing and coordinating a network of national workshops, exhibits and gatherings to teach and learn about the considerable science connected with the honey bee."
The Down to Earth Project organizers hope that "the beekeeping community, anyone who enjoys honey, and everyone who appreciates all the foods we eat which would not be available without the work of the honey bee, will write a letter or sign a petition encouraging the U.S. Postal Service to honor Langstroth in this way at this special time."
They're seeking a flood of letters to convince the Postal Service "how important Langstroth is to Americans across the country, and how a commemorative stamp would help him achieve the recognition he has so far been denied. The stamp is especially important at a time when honey bees are threatened by colony collapse disorder, and people all over the country, even in urban areas, are helping out by embracing beekeeping."
To be included in the petition, folks can send an email to LLL200@scifri.org and include their zip code (to show the breadth of the nationwide support).
Or better yet, write to:
Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee
c/o Stamp Development
U.S. Postal Service
1735 North Lynn St., Suite 5013
Arlington, VA 22209-6432
It's a honey of a cause.
Elizabeth Frost is at wick's end.
When she's not tending the bees at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis or tending her own bees at home, she loves to make candles.
That would be candles crafted from beeswax, a natural substance that bees produce from their abdominal glands. Bees use the wax as "building blocks" to build combs to rear their young and store honey and pollen.
Candlemakers love the fine quality of beeswax, a product also desired in the cosmetic, health care, food and music industries. It's used for everything from sealing cheese to glazing fruit, candy and baked goods to polishing shoes and furniture. Your father or his friends probably used it to wax their moustaches. You use beeswax when you apply lip balm or chew gum.
Elizabeth makes candles.
"It's really fun," she said.Elizabeth or "Liz," a beekeeper at the Laidlaw facility since January of 2008, works closely with bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, manager of the Laidlaw facility. Her responsibilities include maintaining the apiaries and lab facilities, and aiding Cobey in her queen rearing and instrumental insemination classes.
Liz, who holds a bachelor of arts degree in English and Italian from UC Davis, with a minor in entomology, said she's always loved candles. "Growing up we would visit the Hurd Beeswax Candles in the Wine Country (St. Helena)."
Her favorite molds include bee hives, pine cones, eggs, pillars and tapers. The eggs? "You can add feet to them and make them very creative," she said.
Liz entered the beekeeping world in August 2008 and the candle-making world about a year ago.
If she should light the proverbial candle at both ends, the odds it will be made of beeswax.
Youngsters like to joke about what a honey bee says when she returns to the hive: "Honey, I'm home!"
Honey...what is it?
The National Honey Board defines honey as "the substance made when the nectar and sweet deposits from plants are gathered, modified and stored in the honeycomb by honey bees. The definition of honey stipulates a pure product that does not allow for the addition of any other substance. This includes, but is not limited to, water or other sweeteners."
Honey ranges in color from nearly white to light amber to nearly black. The nectar source determines the color.
At the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis, jars of multicolored honey grace the windowsill of the conference room. As the sun sets, the colors are dazzling.
Below, bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, manager of the Laidlaw facility, and beekeeper-junior specialist Elizabeth Frost show four jars of honey.