Posts Tagged: Honey bee
Happy Turkey Day!
The last Thursday of November is Thanksgiving Day, but it really should be Honey Bee Day.
Without the bees, we’d have no Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving as we know it. They are our unstung heroes. They pollinate more than 90 agricultural crops in California. One third of the American diet is pollinated by bees.
So, as we sit around the dining room table giving thanks, we should also consider the insect that makes it all happen.
The honey bee.
Happy Honey Bee Day!
Bee and Nectarine Blossom
In football lingo, a curl is a spin on a football, which makes it swerve when it's kicked.
Honey bees can also "curl."
I took this photo today of a lone bee curled on purple sage. The worker bee was gathering nectar in the summerlike weather.
"That's the same position a bee has to get in to sting you," observed UC Davis apiculturist Eric Mussen. "She can't lie flat to sting. She curls up and stings."
Like a comma.
A death "sentence" for her; a little pain for the victim.
It's a sad photo.
The antenna of a honey bee pokes out of an abandoned hive. Victim of colony collapse disorder (CCD)? Perhaps.
Everytime I look at the bent antenna, I think of a plea for help. Help me! Help me! Please help me! This bee should have been nectaring flowers or gathering pollen.
This hive once belonged to entomologists Robert and Lynn Kimsey of UC Davis. She's the director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and chairs the Department of Entomology. He's the sole forensic entomologist in the department.
CCD was one of the topics at the eighth annual international conference of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC), held Oct. 22-24 in Washington, D.C.
The participants--farmers, scientists, and environmental advocates--agreed that we need to find ways to increase public awareness of pollinators. Pollinator Partnership chair Robert Lang described the loss of pollinators as "a potential health crisis for the planet."
Scores of beekeepers have witnessed a crisis in an individual bee hive.
Like the one below.
(Like to help with the honey bee research at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis? Access this site.)
The red-pigmented white pitcher plant we purchased at the UC Davis Arboretum Plant Faire looks like a flamboyant coral reef. Like a hat askew, its ruffled “lid” hangs over the trumpet-shaped “pitcher.” The pitcher is actually a long, hollow tubular leaf.
But looks are deceiving.
Sarracenia leucophylla is a carnivorous plant. It draws insects and then devours them. In the few weeks we’ve had it, it’s gobbled blow flies, snagged tachinid (parasitic) flies, and horrors, it ate two of our beloved honey bees.
I do not think I like this plant.
Our bee friendly garden is no longer friendly. There’s war in our garden of peace. We have a weapon of mass destruction right in our own backyard. And you think Dracula is scary on Halloween!
Ernesto Sandoval, curator of the
“Ah, yes, the horrors of indiscriminate insectivity!” he says. “The Sarracenia, especially S. leucophylla are really good indicators of the relative abundance of insects and unfortunately, even honey bees are convinced to visit the flower-mimicking leaves.”
Sandoval says Sarracenia grow up and down the east coast of North America from
"The well-known Venus Fly Trap is native to
Meanwhile, I think I heard the plant burb.
Trapped Tachinid Fly
Pull up a lawn chair and watch the honey bees.
They're buzzing around the Russian sage, gathering nectar. So focused are they that they don't seeem to mind the photographer sharing their space. So dedicated. So committed. So industrious.
Wait, a honey bee is wearing a new hat. Wait, another is playing peek-a-bee.
It's a great time to be in the garden.
My new hat