Backyard Orchard News
It's raining bumble bees in our pool.
Yellow-faced bumble bees (Bombus vosnesenskii).
And honey bees (Apis mellifera), too.
While nectaring lavender, catmint, tower of jewels, sedum and other plants, some of the foragers land in our pool. Talk about no depth perception.
We fish them out and most survive. (A floating piece of styrofoam now provides them with a little protection from the untimely dips.)
For the two below, it was definitely a bad hair day.
Yellow-Faced Bumble Bee
It's not often you see a ladybug and a honey bee sharing the same plant.
The ladybug, a predator in disguise, devours aphids like a kid does M&Ms. The honey bee, all buzziness, works furiously to collect nectar or pollen for her hive.
Sometimes a lavender patch can bring them together.
Such was the case yesterday in our garden. A ladybug staked claim to a lavender spike, while a dozen honey bees glided in for a sweet sip of nectar.
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.