Backyard Orchard News
If you built it (a field of dreams), they will come.
And if you bring flowers, that's all the bettter.
Melissa "Missy" Borel, program manager of the California Center for Urban Horticulture, UC Davis, and a strong proponent of bee friendly plants, brought salvia, lavender (Otto Quast Spanish lavender) and some stalked bulbine (Bulbine frutescens) to a television interview today at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.
Darsha Philips and camerman Andrew Faulk of Fox 40, Sacramento were there to interview her along with Lynn Kimsey, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology; and Cooperative Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen, a 32-year member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty..
Missy Borel placed the three potted plants atop a hive while waiting for the interview. It didn't take long for the honey bees to find the unexpected treat! They lavished the lavender, salivated over the salvia, and stalked the stalked bulbine.
Meanwhile, concern about the declining honey bee population continues. A third of the food we eat is pollinated by bees. Bee nutrition has never been so important. The bees are seeking nectar, pollen and water to bring back to their hives.
Want to select bee friendly plants for your garden? Missy Borel compiled this list during the Haagen-Daz Honey Bee Haven Design Competition. (See pages 7, 8 and 9 of the PDF). See more information on the winning design on the UC Davis Entomology Web site. The new garden will be located next to all the hives at the Laidlaw facility.
When the half-acre bee haven is completed, the bees won't have far to go to gather nectar and pollen all year around. Look for the dedication sometime in October.
The Bee Man
Bee on Lavender
Bee Friendly Plants
She looked like a ballerina, with her long, thin antennae; slender, delicate body; and translucent, finely veined wings.
She dropped down on a stem in a UC Davis flower bed. Her eyes glowed a metallic gold. Perhaps she was about to feed on pollen, honeydew or an aphid. Maybe she was just investigating a site to lay her eggs.
Whatever, she graced a plant for only a moment and then was gone.
Lacewings lay their eggs on plant stems so that the emerging larvae can devour aphids, mites, thrips, soft scales and other soft-bodied prey. Dinner's ready! In fact, lacewing larvae eat so many aphids they’re called “aphid lions.” They also eat each other.
The green lacewing (Chrysopa spp.) is both a beauty and a beast. As an adult, it’s a thing of beauty. In the larva stage, it acts like a beast, complete with fierce-looking sicklelike mandibles. It's a beneficial beast, though. Gardeners welcome its voracious appetite and cheer when they see macro images of a lacewing larva lunging forward, impaling an aphid, and then sucking the juices.
Take that, you aphid!/h4>/h4>/o:p>/h4>/o:p>/h4>/o:p>/h4>/o:p>/h4>
It's not spring until you see honey bees, carpenter bees and butterflies on Tidy Tips.
That would be Layia platyglossa, a wildflower native to southern California. Its common name is "Tidy Tips" or "Coastal Tidy Tips." It's a daisylike flower with yellow petals tipped in white, thus the name. It's a member of the aster family.
A flower bed in the center of the UC Davis campus (near the Science LaboratoriesBuilding) boasts an intermingling of the yellow-and-white Tidy Tips and sky-blue Desert Blue Bells (Phacelia campanularia).
Insects think so, too. On any given day you'll see honey bees, carpenter bees, butterflies and lacewings holding family reunions.
Painted Lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui)
They’re big, bold and beleaguered.
And now, they’re big, bold and finely detailed.
Courtney Lambert, an undergraduate student in entomology at the
Lynn Kimsey, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology and director of the
“Courtney is an incredible artist,” said Fran Keller, who designed the shirt, along with other shirts and posters available at the Bohart.
One of the largest beetles in the
Lambert’s illustration shows the male and female on a limb.
Keller remembers collecting the beetles in
Business owners spray them with pesticides at night and hose the dead insects into the sewers, she said. “They are pests for just a brief time.”
“And unfortunately, they are also poached, and illegal collecting has made this and other monsoon emerging beetles, Chrysina sp. for example, rarer every season. It is important for collectors to know the status of an insect before they collect it, and to make sure they have valid collecting permits issued by the state they’re collecting in. Hopefully, we can educate with this beetle T-shirt."
American physician-entomologist George Henry Horn (1840) 1897) first described the species in 1870. It has a blue and gray body with spots on the hardened forewings. It’s also nicknamed Grant’s Hercules Beetle, honoring Ullysses S. Grant (1822-1885), the American Civil War general who went on to become the 18th president of the United States.
Funds generated from these beetle T-shirts will help provide continuing undergraduate support and training at the
The shirts are available in olive and brown with natural ink; black with white ink, and natural color with black ink. A coupon on the Bohart Web site offers 20 percent off with orders over $15 until April 15
Founded in 1946, the
Western Hercules Beetles
The painted ladies are back.
No, not the Victorian and Edwardian homes painted in three colors. No, not women wearing excessive amounts of makeup and pounding the sidewalk with their stiletto heels.
These are BUTTERFLIES.
"Another Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) migration is occurring in north-central
Why hints of overwintering and breeding? Because the insects "were in good condition and did not appear to have migrated long distances," Shapiro says. "They also did not show the usual color-and-pattern signs of having been generated in the desert, but they were not produced locally in the Davis-Sacramento region and were seemingly confined to the west side of the Valley."
Shapiro reports that the first wave from the desert showed up in mid-March. "We received reports of significant numbers migrating through the Sierra at
We saw them last weekend passing through parts of Solano and Yolo counties. They were moving fast and flying low.
"These butterflies are powered by yellow fat carried over from the caterpillar stage and fly like 'bats out of hell' from the Southeast to the Northwest a few feet off the ground, not stopping for food or sex until their fat reserves become depleted," Shaparo. He spotted a few feeding and one female was laying eggs.
Shapiro is updating the migration on the home page of his Web site. It's a must-read. You can learn more about Painted Ladies inside his Web site. See also pages 48-51 and 195-200 of his Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions (
Got a migration report or a video to offer him for his Web site? You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, those Painted Ladies are absolutely gorgeous. We've heard far too much about ballistic bailouts, burgeoning bonuses and mortage meltdowns--and not enough about the Painted Ladies.
Bring 'em on!/st1:placename>/st1:placetype>/st1:place>/st1:placetype>/st1:placename>/o:p>/st1:personname>/st1:state>/st1:place>/em>/o:smarttagtype>/o:smarttagtype>/o:smarttagtype>/o:smarttagtype>/o:smarttagtype>/o:p>/o:smarttagtype>