Backyard Orchard News
The Mafia has its Good Fellas.
The Entomological Society of America (ESA) has its Fellows, too.
And they're not just "good"--they're excellent.
Every year ESA singles out up to 10 members from the 6000-member organization for the Fellow Award, paying tribute to their outstanding contributions in research, teaching, extension or administration.
This year one of the 10 selected is chemical ecologist Walter Leal, professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. He is internationally recognized for his pioneering and innovative work in insect olfaction, or how insects detect smells.
He'll receive the Fellow award on Sunday at the ESA's meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana.Leal is one of 11 UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty to receive the award since 1947:
1947: Richard M. Bohart (for whom the Bohart Museum of Entomology is named)
1990: Donald McLean
1991: Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. (for whom the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility is named)
1994: John Edman
1996: Robert Washino
2001: Bruce Eldridge
2004: William Reisen
2007: Harry Kaya
2008: Michael Parella and Frank Zalom
This year's list of ESA Fellows not only includes Leal from UC Davis, but Brian Federici and Alexander Raikhel of UC Riverside.
Three from the UC system--that's a three insect-net salute!
Want to learn how to rear high-quality queen bees?
Want to learn instrumental insemination of queen bees?
It's all about improving stock.
“Major advances in agriculture are due to stock improvement, and this also applies to honey bees,” Cobey said. "With the increasing challenges of beekeeping today, the selection of honey bee stocks that are productive, gentle and show some resistance to pests and diseases is critical to the future health of the beekeeping industry, agriculture and our food supply.”
Due to popular demand, Cobey is teaching two one-day workshops on "The Art of Queen Rearing" in the spring. The March 31 class will be geared toward sideline beekepers and the April 7th class, toward commercial beekeepers. The classes are designed to provide an understanding and appreciation of what it takes to rear high-quality queens.
Cobey will present basic biology and principles of queen rearing. Beekeepers will be involved in the various steps of the process including setting up cell builders, grafting, handling queen cells and establishing mating nucs.
One of the highlights of the "Art of Queen Rearing" workshop is the daylong tour (optional) to see large-scale commercial queen production in northern California. The students will visit several companies. The tours will take place the day after each workshop (specifically April 1 and April 8).
You won't find anyone more passionate about honey bees than Susan Cobey.
Cobey, a bee breeder-geneticist and manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis, has just received the California State Beekeepers' Association's 2009 Distinguished Service Award.
And rightfully so.
Cobey, who accepted the award at the group’s recent conference in San Diego, drew praise for improving stock; teaching advanced beekeeping courses on queen bee rearing and instrument insemination; and pushing to develop import protocol to diversify the U.S. honey bee populations.
Her courses on queen bee rearing and instrument insemination draw students from throughout the world. She'll be teaching more courses in the spring, starting March 31.In introducing the recipient--kept as a surprise--beekeeper Bob Miller of Watsonville started out with: “This person has been involved with beekeeping since earning a degree in entomology in 1976. From that point on, this person has engaged in commercial beekeeping activities, became a lab technician, and has developed a line of queen bees that show increasing levels of resistance to pests and diseases. She has traveled the world to find promising characteristics and improve that stock. She has taught many classes on queen rearing and artificial insemination with the emphasis on closed populations to enhance the particular line of queens.”
"Sue has been described to me as a casual, sweet person, with a receptive and tolerant attitude," Miller told the crowd.
He couldn't gather much personal information.
"Her friends decline to provide me with stories about her," he said.
One has only to watch her tend her bees to know what Susan Cobey is all about. "Girls, where's your mother?" she asks as she opens a hive, searching for the queen.
When she teaches her stock improvement classes (she's a world authority on instrument insemination), Cobey combines hands-on training with individual attention. "Does that answer your question?" she'll ask.
When beekeepers call her at her UC Davis office or stop by, she responds readily. No wonder that earlier this year she received the Western Apicultural Society's "Outstanding Service to Beekeeping Award" and a UC Davis "Citation for Excellence."
Her passion for honey bees not only drives her but defines her. Mix it with dedication and expertise and there you have it: the recipient of a statewide distinguished service award to the beekeeping industry.And yes, her name is pronounced "Co-bee."
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.
Even though your citrus may have been damaged it is still ok for consumption for a couple of weeks. Why not pick your extra fruit, box it up and take it to your nearest food pantry? There are many families in need of food this winter. Here is the link to Fresno Master Gardener's PAR website: http://groups.ucanr.org/mgfresno/PAR/ for a list of local food pantries.
There is also an abundance of persimmons and pomegranates this time of year. They can also be dropped off at your nearest food pantry.