Backyard Orchard News
If you’re a first-year graduate student in entomology, you spend much of your time buried in books or conferring with your major professor.
Emily Bzdyk, who is pursuing her doctorate in entomology at UC Davis, does that, too--and more.
She's heavily involved in art.
Two of her art works will be shown at the “Bees at The Bee” art show from 3 to 8 p.m., Saturday, May 8 in the Sacramento Bee’s open courtyard, 2100 Q St. The event, sponsored by The Bee, features bee-themed art from talented artists within a 12-county area.
Art show coordinator Laurelin Gilmore of Sacramento said a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the art will benefit honey bee research at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.
In other words, the artists are donating to UC Davis honey bee research.
Emily Bzdyk, a native of Long Island, N.Y. who grew up in Round Hill, Va., said she's always loved insects. “I raised caterpillars and other bugs as a kid.”
In high school, she helped monitor aquatic stream health, and led a team.Then it was on to St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a public honors college, where she majored in biology and minored in studio art and environmental studies. Her senior thesis? A Guide to Native Plants of Historic St. Mary's City, which she also illustrated.
Emily, now working on her doctorate of entomology at UC Davis, is researching “the revision and biological life history of Litomegachile, a subgenus of leafcutter bees found all across the United States."
She works closely with her major professor, Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, and with three other entomologists who form her guidance committee: Tom Zavortink, Robbin Thorp, and Neal Williams.
And art? Emily has pursued art all her life. She photographs insects (and other subjects), creates earrings, sculpts, paints and draws.
”I enjoy any artmaking process--really.”
At St. Mary’s College of Maryland, she honed her skills by enrolling in a scientific illustration course, and interned at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., where she completed a drawing of a beetle, for a new species description, for Alexander Konstantinov.
Last month she finished creating the illustrations for a beginning beekeeping book written by retired UC Davis apiculturist-professor Norman Gary. It will be published later this year.
The May 8 bee art show is Emily Bzdyk's next project. She contributed a framed 8x10 pen-and-ink drawing of a leafcutter bee, Megachile centuncularis, and a framed 8x10 photo, titled "Yellow Bee Face," of a male Valley carpenter bee.
Emily also will offer her bee earrings (below) at the art show--and maybe other items.
A salute to Sacramento Bee and artist Laurelin Gilmore for making this all happen--a benefit for the bees.
The female silkworm moth releases a sex pheromone, bombykol, that's very enticing to the male. He can detect it from miles away.
Now researchers in the UC Davis Department of Entomology have discovered that the fruit fly has a native odorant receptor that detects the silkworm moth’s sex pheromone, and that it’s “amazingly more sensitive” than the moth’s odorant receptor.
Their work could open research doors for insect-inspired biosensors.Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).
Their research follows on the heels of another study they published in PNAS in 2006 with the Deborah Kimbrell genetics lab in the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences. Bottom line: they found that genetically engineered fruit flies responded to the silkworm moth scent of a female.
Now Leal and Syed have identified the odorant receptor in the male fruit fly that detects the sex pheromone.Ecologist and evolutionary biologist Fred Gould of North Carolina State University, not affiliated with the research, says the work of the UC Davis researchers "provides important guidance and tools for other researchers who want to explore the pheromone communication systems of other species, or who want to further dissect the mechanisms within the specialized hairs of silkworms that enable this high sensitivity.”
What we have here with the silkworm moths and fruit flies is definitely not a "failure to communicate."
Scent of a Female
Bees at The Bee.
Some 60 creative artists will be showing and selling their bee-themed work on Saturday, May 8 at the "Bees at The Bee" art show in the Sacramento Bee's outdoor courtyard, 2100 Q. St.
The event, free and open to the public, will take place from 3 to 8 p.m. It's part of The Bee's annual Second Saturday event.
Art show coordinator Laurelin Gilmore said you'll see 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.
Lots of other activities are planned, including live music, refreshments and educational displays, including a bee observation hive form UC Davis.
Artists will donate part of the proceeds from the sale of their work to honey bee research at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis.
One item you'll see is a fused glass plate by scientist-artist Olga Barmina, a staff research associate at the UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology. The colorful plate features exquisite flowers--and of course, the beleaguered honey bee, amid hexagonal cells of the hive.
Barmina, who teaches at the UC Davis Crafts Center, was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and is a graduate of St. Petersburg State University (degree in biochemistry). “I’ve always been interested in the arts, and I was drawing, painting and sculpting for as long as I can remember myself. I began taking classes in ceramics and oil painting when I was 12. As time passed, I found myself doing less painting, and more and more ceramics – in retrospect, the three-dimensional art had a greater appeal."During her five years at St. Petersburg State University, she had no time for art. Later when she accepted a job at St. Louis University, she took an evening jewelry class and “realized that I found my true medium - metal." Throughout the years, she has improved her skills at fabrication, casting, chain making, stone setting, enameling, and other techniques.
Here's a scientist who enjoys a rewarding career in science and finds pure joy in art.
And in calling attention to the plight of the honey bee.
That's one of the topics at the next meeting of the Northern California Entomology Society, to be held from 9:15 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday, May 6 in the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.
It promises to be lively.
Matter of fact, the meetings are almost always lively. Entomologists have a keen sense of humor.
Take, for instance, "The Good, the Bad, the Bugly: Controlling Pests in Home Gardens." Baldo Villegas of the California Department of Food and Agriculture will be presenting that talk at 11:15.
Two UC Davis entomologists, James R. Carey (photo above) and Robbin Thorp (photo below), will speak--Carey on the medfly and Thorp on native pollinators.
Carey, a professor of entomology who specializes in insect biodemography and invasion biology, will present his talk on “Insect Invasion Biology: Overview of the General Principles and Case Study of the Medfly in California” at 9:45 a.m.
Thorp, an emeritus professor of entomology who continues his research at his Laidlaw facility office, will discuss "Native Bees as Pollinators” at 10:30 a.m.
Other speakers are
--Ralph Fonseca of the Contra Costa County Department of Agriculture, will speak at 1:15 p.m. on “Personal Protective Equipment, Including UC Exemptions.”
--Humberto Izquierdo of the Napa County Department of Agriculture, will give a talk on “European Grapevine Moth Update” at 2 p.m.
A catered lunch will be served at noon. Or, attendees can bring their own lunch. There's still time to attend and/or order lunch if you contact the society's secretary-treasurer, Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-0472.
The Northern California Entomology Society seeks new members; you don't have to be an entomologist to join. The group meets three times a year: the first Thursday in February, usually in Sacramento; the first Thursday in May, at UC Davis; and the first Thursday in November in the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District conference room, Concord.
The president is agricultural biologist Matthew Slattengren of the Contra Costa County Department of Agriculture.
And oh, yes, membership dues are only $10 a year.
That's the "good" part of the "The Good, The Bad and the Bugly."
These bees are carpenters.
These bees are art.
Professor Jeffrey Granett, who retired from the UC Davis Department of Entomology in January 2007, now spends must of his time working on his art.
He created a hanging piece for "The Bees at The Bee" art show, to be held from 3 to 8 p.m., Saturday, May 8 at the Sacramento Bee's open courtyard, 2100 Q St. The art show, organized by Sacramento artist Laurelin Gilmore, is a benefit for the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.
It's open to the public, it's free, and it's the place to "bee" on May 8.
Artists, invited from a 12-county area to participate in the show, will donate a portion of their sales to the Laidlaw facility for honey bee research.
And what did our retired entomologist submit for the show? Think carpenter bee. Think "tattooed" carpenter bee. His work is titled "Carpenter Bee With Tattoo."
Granett, who taught arthropod pest management at UC Davis and researched agricultural entomology, says he has no professional experiences with carpenter bees “but I enjoyed seeing them turning my backyard fence to sawdust.”
“The insect-art is a carpenter bee, probably male but I'm not sure,” Granett said. “It has tattoos on its femurs and tibias and should be hung as if it were hovering over a flower. It is cut from a linocut printed on Somerset paper with ink washes for the coloring. Although I tried to make the insect somewhat realistic morphologically, it clearly has some anthropomorphic characteristics for the viewer to figure out.”
Granett, who received his bachelor of science degree in agricultural research from Rutgers University and his master’s degree and doctorate in entomology from Michigan State University, remains an entomologist at heart, but his interests now include docenting at the Crocker Art Museum and "learning from my grandson."
And creating multi-media art, "Carpenter Bee with a Tattoo."