Backyard Orchard News
The garden is lookin' good.
That would be the half-acre Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a bee friendly garden planted last fall next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis. It's part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and was planted under the tenure of entomologist-professor Lynn Kimsey, then chair of the department. (She doubles as director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology.)
Melissa "Missy" Borel, program manager for the California Center for Urban Horticulture and coordinator of the design competition (won by a Sausalito team), and UC Davis plant sciences student Alyssa Andersen, launched a volunteer program to keep the garden weed-free.
On any given day, you'll see volunteers tending the garden--pulling weeds, planting replacements, and eyeing any ground squirrel/gopher damage.
Jackie Cheng, a junior majoring in environmental policy analysis and planning at UC Davis, is one of the volunteers. She recently worked in a patch of seaside daisies (Erigeron glaucus), a bee and butterfly favorite.
The seaside daisy, a perennial, boasts lavender daisylike flowers that make spectacular photos.
Get ready. The grand opening celebration of the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11. Plans are under way to make this a momentous event and a year-around campus destination.
Bee on Seaside Daisies
View from an Almond Tree
Honey bee research at the University of California, Davis, recently received a $900 boost, thanks to artists with a honey of heart—a honey of a heart for the plight of honey bees.
Artists showing their work at the “Bees at The Bee” art show in Sacramento donated a total of $900 from gross sales of $1560 to honey bee research at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis.
“The art work was peered at, pored over, perused, examined, appreciated, loved and admired by hundreds of eyes on Saturday,” said Sacramento artist and art show coordinator Laurelin Gilmore who thought of the bee-themed show as a way to help honey bee research and boost awareness of the declining bee population ravaged by colony collapse disorder (CCD).
“We were applauded and congratulated on every aspect of this little event, and I for one am bursting with pride for having been any part of it.”
The event, sponsored by the Sacramento Bee, drew hundreds of visitors to The Bee’s open courtyard.
“This was a marvelous event, altogether educational and entertaining, greatly benefiting honey bees and our bee research program at UC Davis,” said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at UC Davis.
“Laurelin did a terrific job planning the event, with the support the Sacramento Bee, to support the bees.”
Gilmore invited artists from within a 12-county area to submit their work. Some 60 artists submitted a variety of work, including acrylic paintings, watercolors, pen and ink drawings, metal and paper sculptures, photographs, fused glass plates, pendants, a fleece blanket, crocheted multimedia, collages, monoprint-woodcut, neckpiece, individually painted CDs, and a scrimshaw engraving on a mammoth ivory.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale went to UC Davis honey bee research. Artists grossed $1560, of which $900 “is going directly to the UC Davis bee research,” Gilmore said.
Gilmore praised the artists for their “willingness and eagerness to participate in making my little idea grow so tall.”
“The plight of the honey bees is filtered through each artist in a different way, and the results run the gamut from funny to beautiful to profound,” she said.
The “Bees at The Bee” also included live music, refreshments, and educational information about bees. Scoopy, The Bee’s mascot, handed out chocolate bees.
Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen, member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty, displayed a bee observation hive and answered questions about bees, including CCD, the mysterious malady in which adult bees abandon the hive, leaving behind the queen bee, brood and food stores.
Mussen also handed out free samples of Honey Lovers, a new line of candy (fruit chews) by Gimbal’s Fine Candies, San Francisco. Gimbal’s is donating 5 percent of the proceeds from the sale of its Honey Lovers for UC Davis research. Other handouts were from Burt’s Bees, Häagen-Dazs and the Partners for Sustainable Pollination.
Overall, this was a down-to-earth grassroots effort to help the bees, and it blossomed into not only an outstanding art show, but a generous donation to UC Davis for honey bee research.
A tip of the bee veil to Laurelin Gilmore, Pam Dinsmore and the Sacramento Bee for making it all possible.
It's good to see so much interest in bees.
When folks think of bees, they usually think "honey bees." However, our European or western honey bee (Apis mellifera) is one of a total of seven species of honey bees found throughout the world.
Worldwide, there are some 20,000 described species of bees.
University of California scientists Robbin Thorp, Gordon Frankie and Ellen Zagory will be discussing a few of them in their "Buzz About Bees" program on Saturday, June 5 at the Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen, Calif.
Thorp is a native pollinator specialist and emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis who continues to do research. Frankie is a professor and research entomologist at the UC Berkeley Division of Insect Biology. Zagory is director of horticulture, UC Davis Arboretum.
The registration deadline for this session, a science discussion about the "plight of Sonoma County's pollnators," closed May 28 but Thorp and Frankie continue to call attention to the plight of the pollinators. They talk about bumble bees, cuckoo bees, blue orchard bees, sweat bees and the like. Some bees are defined by what they do: leafcutters, masons and miners.
And Zagory is an expert on plants, especially ornamental plants. One has only to walk through the UC Davis Arboretum--or ask her to identify a plant--to confirm that!
We hope the "buzz about bees" continues to draw widespread interest.
Honey Bee on Lavender
Yellow-Faced Bumble Bee
When you see a honey bee trapped in a spider web, it's usually dead and about to be consumed.
Not this time.
Today a foraging bee, minding her own "beesiness," was nectaring among the catmint blossoms in our garden when she ran smack dab into a sticky web placed there by a cunning spider.
Tangled in the web and unable to free herself, the honey bee buzzed frantically. It didn't work. She remained trapped, waiting for the spider to return.
Not this time.
Carefully, I lifted the "damsel in distress" from her predatory prison and placed her on a catmint blossom. A sip of nectar for nourishment and off she went.
Sorry, spider. This is a bee friendly garden.
Those yellow-faced bumble bees know how to put on a happy face.
The males and females frequent our bee friendly garden to sip the sweet nectar of lavender, catmint and rock purslane. The females collect both nectar and pollen for their brood.
I think we have a nest of them beneath the catmint.
Plant it, and they will come.
The yellow-faced bumble bee (Bombus vosnesenskii), as its name implies, has a yellow face, a mostly black thorax and abdomen, and a yellow band near the tip of its abdomen.
The ones below are males, according to native pollinator specialist and noted bumble bee expert Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis. Although officially "retired" (not!), he continues to do research on bumble bees and other pollinators.
Thorp also monitors the half-acre Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis for bee species.
It's a treat to see the bumble bees there.
It's a treat to see them anywhere.
You gotta love those bumble bees.
Bumble Bee and Honey Bee
Sip of Nectar
From the Back
Put on a Happy Face