Backyard Orchard News
What the world needs now is "love, sweet love" and...more ladybugs.
Ladybeetles are our friends. They gobble up aphids and other pests in our garden, and then look around for more. They have insatiable appetites.
Last Friday morning, as volunteers worked in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, the half-acre bee friendly garden at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis, the artichoke plants stirred.
Two ladybugs were in the midst of making more ladybugs.
Yes! We need more ladybugs.
During the grand opening celebration of the haven on Sept. 11, we spotted a web-weaving spider eating a ladybug.
One ladybug gone.
But many more to come.
Volunteers interesting in tending the plants--and maybe spotting a few ladybugs, as well as honey bees, butterflies, dragonflies, sweat bees, praying mantids and a variety of other insects in the garden--can show up at the haven on Fridays at 8:30 a.m.
Melissa "Missy" Borel, program manager of the California Center for Urban Horticulture, UC Davis, and one of the key persons involved in the development of the garden, is coordinating the volunteers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-6642.
And oh, if you like to capture images of plant and animal life inside the garden, don't forget your camera.
Beneath a Leaf
Females can become highly cannibalistic in the presence of other females.
Doctoral candidate Yao Hua Law (right), who studies with major professor Jay Rosenheim, UC Davis Department of Entomology, will speak on "My Neighbors Drive Me Cannibalistic: Mechanisms of Density-Dependent Cannibalistic Behavior and its Effects on Population Dynamics" at a seminar from 12:10 to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 6 in 122 Briggs Hall.
The lecture, which will be his exit seminar, will focus on the egg cannibalism behavior expressed in the generalist predator, Geocoris pallens.
It's also known as the "big-eyed bug."
G. pallens females are weakly cannibalistic when alone, but become highly cannibalistic in the presence of other females, he said. "I will discuss the possible mechanisms of this behavior, as well as the implications of this behavior for the arthropod community that G. pallens interact with," said Law, who will be introduced by Rosenheim.
Law’s lecture will be webcast live (http://uc-d.na4.acrobat.com/ucsn1/) and then archived on the UC Davis Department of Entomology website. The seminars are chaired by assistant professors Neal Williams and Louie Yang.
The fall seminars began Sept. 29 and will continue through Dec. 3. Most are held from 12:10 to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays. See schedule.
Yao Hua Law
Sivakoff (right), a doctoral candidate in the UC Davis Department of Entomology, won a 2010 Robert and Peggy van den Bosch Memorial Scholarship for her work on the regional movement of the pest.
The lygus bug (Lygus hesperus) is a serious pest of such crops as alfalfa, strawberries and cotton.
Her research? "Understanding the Relative Dispersal Ability of Lygus hesperus and Its Predators Using a Novel Large-Scale Mark-Capture Technique."
“In California’s Central Valley, Lygus hesperus is under poor biological control despite a suite of known predators,” said Sivakoff, who studies with major professor Jay Rosenheim. “One possible explanation for this poor performance in the field is a discrepancy in the dispersal ability of the pest and its predators. To examine this directly, we performed a large-scale mark-capture experiment where we marked L. hesperus and its predators in an alfalfa field using protein markers.”
Following the marking procedure, the grower harvested the alfalfa field, and this prompted a dispersal event. At several times following the harvest, Sivakoff and colleagues sampled surrounding cotton fields for L. hesperus and its predators, including big-eyed bugs (Geocoris spp.), damsel bugs (Nabis spp.), green lacewings (Chrysopa and Chrysoperla spp.), and convergent lady beetles (Hippodamia convergens).Another UC Davis entomology doctoral candidate, Alex Van Dam (left) received a Robert and Peggy van den Bosch Memorial Scholarship for his research on a scale insect.
His project: “Investigating Host-associated Lineage Splitting within Dactylopius Using Molecular Phylogenetics.”
Van Dam studies with major professor Bernie May of the UC Davis Department of Animal Science.
Sivakoff and Van Dam were among eight University of California doctoral candidates sharing a total of $95,000 as recipients of the scholarships.
The recipients are all involved in biological control, said coordinators Kent Daane and Nicholas Mills, co-directors of the Center for Biological Control, UC Berkeley. Eligible to apply for the annual scholarships are doctoral candidates from UC Davis, UC Berkeley and UC Riverside. Selection is by a panel of biocontrol faculty representing the three schools.
The other recipients of 2010 van den Bosch scholarships:
Albie Miles, UC Berkeley, for "Evaluating the Influence of Floral Resource Provisioning on Biological Control of Leafhoppers and Mealybugs in California Vineyards." Major professor: Miguel Altieri.
Steve Bayes, UC Berkeley, for "Determining the Population Structure of Navel Orangeworm (Amyelois transitella): an Invasive Agricultural Pest in California." Major professor: Steve Welter.
Jason Mottern, UC Riverside, for his work on molecular relationships within the parasitic wasp family, Aphelinidae. Major professor: John Heraty.
Jamie Gonzalez, UC Riverside, "Genetic Effects of Prolonged Mass Rearing on Trichogramma pretiosum Fitness: Inbreeding Depression and Selection for Adaptation the Mass Rearing Conditions." Major professor: Richard Stouthamer.
Casey D. Butler, UC Riverside, "Assessment of the Potential for Biological Control for Management of Bactericera cockerelli (Hemiptera: Triozidae)." Major professor: John Trumble.
Jennifer Henke, UC Riverside, for his work dealing with t secondary impacts on fish. Major professor: William Walton.
Congratulations to them all!
Skippers and sedum. Sedum and skippers.
A perfect match. The flower, sedum (family Crassulaceae), and the fiery skipper butterfly (Hylephila phyleus, family Hesperlidae) make a stunning autumn photo.
When late afternoon sun strikes its fighter-jet wings, it glows brilliantly. Move closer and you'll see the skipper sipping nectaring. Move a little more closer and...it's gone.
It does keeps its distance.
Butterfly expert Art Shapiro, professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis, provides comprehensive information on fiery skippers and other butterflies on his website, Art's Butterfly World.
He calls the fiery skipper "California's most urban butterfly, almost limited to places where people mow lawns. Its range extends to Argentina and Chile and it belongs to a large genus which is otherwise entirely Andean. Its North American range may be quite recent. Here in California, the oldest Bay Area record is only from 1937."
Only 1937? A newcomer, but what a beauty.
You gotta love the Joe-Pye Weed.
It's a shady character and a late bloomer. That is, it loves the shade and blooms in the late summer and early fall.
Better yet, bees and butterflies love it.
Once you hear the distinctive name, Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) you'll never forget it.
We're told that Joe Pye was a Native American Indian herbalist who used the perennial to treat an outbreak of typhus among the colonists of Massachusetts Bay. The grateful colonists immortalized him by naming the plant for him.
Sometimes it's called "Queen of the Meadow." Sometimes it's called "gravel root." And sometimes "snakeroot."
No matter what you call this four-foot-high plant, the name that really sticks is "Joe-Pye Weed."
Insects can get Pye in their eye.
Bee on Joe-Pye Weed