Posts Tagged: Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven
"Stop and smell the roses."
How many times have you heard that? It's usually from someone urging us to slow down, to savor life, and to pay attention to the pleasures.
Like fragrant roses.
Honey bees seem to be particularly fond of the butterfly rose, also known as the China rose (Rosa mutabilis), a deciduous shrub that can grow up to six feet high and spread five feet across. It's a long flowering plant, especially important to bees when they emerge from their hives after a long cold winter and begin to forage for food.
The butterfly rose, so named because its blossoms resemble butterflies, is cherished for its ever-changing flowers, which turn from yellowish/orange to pinkish/red to a coppery red.
Stop and smell the roses? Yes, but also look for the beauty in the bees.
(These photos were taken at the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden and demonstration garden on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. The garden, located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, is open to the public from dawn to dusk for free, self-guided tours. Plans call for guided tours, for a nominal charge, starting March 1. Contact Christine Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org)
A honey bee checking out a butterfly rose. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee dives between the folds. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Ah, heaven! (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Just call it going for the roses.
Or a hot spot.
In between the showers and the sunshine, the bees at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis, emerge from their hives to forage.
They buzz over to the nearby Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre garden with year-around blooms.
One bee on a rose.
Two bees on a rose.
Three bees on a rose.
Four bees on a rose.
It's not often you see four honey bees sharing the same blossom.
In his poem, "Ode to the West Wind," English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) asked: "...if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"
Yes, especially on a December day that looks and feels like spring.
The garden, a year-around food resource for bees that also functions as a demonstration garden, is open from dawn to dusk for free, self-guided tours. Come spring, plans call for guided tours in a project headed by Christine "Chris" Casey (email@example.com) of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. There will be a small fee for guided tours.
Bring your camera!
ONE: A sole honey bee visits a rose. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
TWO: Two bees visit a rose. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
THREE: Three bees visit a rose. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
FOUR: Four bees visit a rose. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Those of us addicted to photographing honey bees hate it when the cold, rainy California weather settles in.
December and January are the worst for capturing images of bees outside their hives.
However, if you plant a pollinator garden with seasonal blossoms and locate it near an apiary--Voila!
In between rain drops, when the sun bursts through the clouds, you can count on seeing honey bees going about their work.
Yesterday we noticed honey bees foraging in the azure bush germander (Teucrium fruitcans), a perennial that blooms in the winter and spring.
Mother Nature's watercolors!
Honey bee working the germander. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee extending her tongue (proboscis). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee, the acrobat. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Upside down honey bee in the germander. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
There it was.
A green caterpillar, aka larva, aka worm, occupied a blanket flower (Gaillardia) last Friday morning in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre pollinator garden on Bee Biology Road at the University of California, Davis.
Soon a honey bee from the nearby Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility landed on it. And then a Painted Lady butterfly, its wings tattered from predatory attacks, joined the duo.
Well, what WAS that green caterpillar?
We asked butterfly expert Art Shapiro, distinguished professor of entomology at UC Davis. "Well, it's a Noctuid (owlet moth family)," he said. "It may be one of the infinite variety of color forms of the tobacco budworm, Heliothis virescens, which is common right now--the fine lengthwise striations suggest that--but maybe not."
He suggested we contact his colleague, David Wagner, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut.
"I am guessing that it is either Heliothis virescens as suggested by Art or Helicoverpa zea," Wagner said, looking at the photo. "Both equally probable. The former often favors plants with glandular secretory hairs: Solanaceae, geranium, etc."
According to Wikipedia, the Noctuidae or owlet moths "are a family of robustly build moths that include more than 35,000 known species out of possibly 100,000 total, in more than 4,200 genera."
Noctuidae comprises the largest family in Lepitopdera.
Most fly at night. Many are drawn to sugar and nectar-rich flowers. Some head over to the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven.
As for Helicoverpa zea, it's a major agricultural pest. It's known by various names, depending on what it consumes. When it consumes tomatoes, it's a tomato fruitworm. Cotton? Cotton bollworm. Corn? Corn earworm. And the list goes on.
We thought that perhaps a neighboring praying mantis would take a culinary interest in the worm, but not so.
The Noctuid appeared to a landing strip for honey bees and Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui). They kept touching down and pulling up.
As Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology quipped: "If you're in the middle of the road, you're going to get hit."
Buddies? A honey bee edges toward a Noctuid caterpillar. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
If two is company, is three a crowd? Painted Lady, honey bee and Noctuid caterpillar on blanket flower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
So agreed the visitors attending the open house and recognition ceremony last Saturday, Sept. 15 at the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre pollinator garden next to the UC Davis Department of Entomology's Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility)
They toured the garden, listened to the recognition ceremony, and joined the garden tour, admiring the plants and art work by the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. They left feeling that this is indeed a very special place on earth.
The recognition ceremony paid tribute to Derek Tully, 17, of Davis, who, as his Eagle Scout project, built a state-of-the-art fence around the garden.
The fence is "fabulous," Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at UC Davis, told the gathering at the 1:30 p.m. recognition ceremony. Kimsey served as the faculty liaison for the Eagle Scout project.
Kimsey recounted how Tully, a member of Troop 111, planned and built the post-and-rail fence with the help of a 33-member volunteer crew that he organized and supervised.
Tully launched the project April 2 and completed it Sept. 7. The fence builders included his father, Larry Tully, a retired machinist from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Larry and his wife, Leslie Woodhouse, a research support supervisor at the USDA Western Human Nutrition Research Center on the UC Davis campus, serve as assistant scoutmasters of Troop 111.
Tully recruited greenhouse superintendent Garry Pearson, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, who augured the holes for the fence posts. The project required 91 fence posts, 211 2x4s, 46 2x6 railings (each 20 feet long), four yards of gravel, 18 bags of concrete, and 12 rolls of wiring at 100 feet each.
The post-and-rail fence is wire-meshed, with the wire extending underground to inhibit jackrabbits, ground squirrels and pocket gophers from turning it into their version of Mr. McGregor's garden.
Derek negotiated with area businesses to obtain discounted prices. The total cost of materials: $6300. The number of volunteer hours: 488 hours and 15 minutes. Kimsey estimated that the project saved the department $24,000 to $30,000.
In building the fence, the crew toiled in triple-digit temperatures as bees (from the adjacent Laidlaw facility) and butterflies and other insects nectared the flowers. Occasionally as the volunteers nailed boards to the fence, praying mantids and spiders engaged in their own kind of nailing--nailing bees.
If you visit the garden, located on Bee Biology Road, off Hutchison Drive/Hopkins Road, west of the central campus, you'll not only see "The Fence that Derek Built" but plants, predators and prey that form the very microcosm of this pollinator garden.
Derek Tully (right) and fellow scout Willie Hawkins work on the fence surrounding the half-acre pollinator garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Derek Tully (right) with his parents, Larry Tully and Leslie Woodhouse, assistant scoutmasters of Troop 111. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Stapling wire to the fence are (from left) Derek Tully and his girlfriend, Emily Talbot, while father and son Dave Hawkins and Willie Hawkins of Troop 111 straighten the wiring. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)