Backyard Orchard News
Just call it "The Battle Over the Tithonia."
A female monarch butterfly--gender identified by butterfly expert Art Shapiro, professor of evolution and ecology at the University of California, Davis and Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology--fluttered into our bee garden early this morning and dropped down on a Mexican sunflower (Tithonia).
Her landing was perfect. The monarch (Danaus plexippus), a species that Sharpio rightfully says "requires no description"--claimed her flower as several male long-horned sunflower bees, Melissodes agilis, began targeting her.
Talk about a friendly "welcoming party." Not!
Those Melissodes agilis aren't called "agile" Melissodes agilis for nothing.
The monarch zipped over to another Tithonia, only to be trailed by the Melissodes dive bombers.
After foraging on her third flower and failing to evade the tactical squad, the monarch apparently figured it just wasn't worth her efforts.
Off she went, escorted out of the bee garden by the bomb squad.
A male sunflower bee, Melissodes agilis, targets a monarch. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Watch your backside! (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Head to head: a monarch and a Melissodes square off. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Larry Schwankl, UC Cooperative Extension irrigation specialist in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis, based at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier, retired at the end of June after 28 years of service to UC Cooperative Extension.
Schwankl's research emphasis was in drip, sprinkler, and flood irrigation. He worked on irrigation system maintenance and chemigation, irrigation scheduling using soil moisture monitoring and evapotranspiration techniques.
For information about academic positions now under recruitment, see the employment opportunities page of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources website, http://ucanr.edu/Jobs/Jobs_990/.
For 100 years, the University of California Cooperative Extension researchers and educators have been drawing on local expertise to conduct agricultural, environmental, economic, youth development and nutrition research that helps California thrive. UC Cooperative Extension is part of the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Learn more at ucanr.edu.
Larry Schwakl, UC Cooperative Extension irrigation specialist, retired at the end of June 2014.
On July 1, University of California President Janet Napolitano presented the university's plans for a comprehensive food initiative to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture in Sacramento.
“This initiative grows out of a commitment made by all 10 UC campus chancellors and myself,” Napolitano said. “It is a commitment to work collectively to put a greater emphasis on what UC can do as a public research university, in one of the most robust agricultural regions in the world, to take on one of the world's most pressing issues.”
The food initiative will build on UC's tradition of innovative agricultural research to support farmers and ranchers. Future efforts will build on work already begun by UC's 10 campuses and its Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) to address internal and external issues with a variety of approaches.
UC President Janet Napolitano presents the UC Global Food Initiative to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture in Sacramento.
UC's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources offers many publications to help people help themselves. If you are interested in exploring the possibility of providing agritourism or nature tourism, the publication, Agritourism and Nature Tourism in California - Second Edition, by Holly George and Ellie Rilla may interest you. It is 151 pages and costs $25.
UC offers a publication on agritourism and nature tourism. To order, follow the link in this blog:
Even though the typical San Joaquin Valley farm is focused exclusively on food production, local growers can profit from increasing interest in agritourism, reported Helen Tracey-Noren in the Fresno Bee. The concept was touted at a recent forum in Fresno where CDFA secretary Karen Ross and the CEO of Visit California, Caroline Beteta, spoke about the agritourism trend.
"It's about, 'here's what farmers and ranchers are doing as your neighbors,' their environmental stewardship," said Ross. "It's about the pride of what we produce here, and it's about this wonderful lifestyle and supporting the economy at the same time."
Penny Leff, the agritourism coordinator with the UC small farm program, also participated in the event. She said that from 2007 to 2012, agritourism has picked up in California.
"Most families don't have anyone on the farm anymore to go visit," Leff said. "Farmers are interested in educating the public in what's going on, what goes into making the food. They really want to share with the public and make them understand."
The story gave the example of Debbie and Jim Van Haun, a Sanger couple who opened Sequoia View Bed and Breakfast about 15 years ago, and fixed up an adjoining vineyard in 2003. They said that during the summer season, the area could use more businesses to handle all the tourists.
Offering dinner in a winery barn is a form of agritouism.