Backyard Orchard News
When the Entomological Society of America's 56th annual meeting takes place Nov. 16-19 in Reno, UC Davis entomologists will be out in force.
And they'll be highly honored.
Entomology professors Michael Parrella and Frank Zalom will be inducted as Fellows, which means they are among the top insect scientists in the world. The 5700-member ESA, formed in 1889, is a non-profit organization that includes representatives from educational institutions, government, health agencies, and private industry.
As Lynn Kimsey, chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology said: “These are highly prestigious awards, granted only to 10 or fewer entomologists every year. Michael Parrella and Frank Zalom are carrying on our department’s tradition of excellence and commitment."
Eight other UC Davis entomologists have received the honor since 1947.Richard M. Bohart (1917-2007), for whom the Bohart Museum of Entomology is named, was the first UC Davis entomologist to be selected an ESA Fellow (1947). Seven others followed: Donald McLean, 1990; Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. (1907-2003), 1991; John Edman, 1994; Robert Washino, 1996; Bruce Eldridge, 2001; William Reisen, 2003 and Harry Kaya, 2007.
Parrella is the associate dean of the Division of Agricultural Sciences, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. Zalom is a former director of the UC Integrated Pest Management Program and the former vice chair of the department. Zalom also was nominated for ESA president recently by the ESA's Pacific Branch.
You can read about their many accomplishments here.
Both entomologists will be honored by their peers on Sunday night, Nov. 16 at the ESA's plenary session in the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.
Zalom also will be honored as part of the UC's seven-member Almond Pest Management Alliance IPM Team that will receive the Entomological Foundation’s 2008 Award for Excellence in IPM. Other members are Carolyn Pickel, UC Cooperative Extension, Sutter-Yuba counties; Walter Bentley, UC Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier; UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors Mario Viveros, Kern County, Roger Duncan, Stanislaus County, and Joe Connell, Butte County; and scientist Barat Bisrabi, Dow AgroSciences. Both Pickel and Bentley are UC IPM advisors.
Another high honor at the same plenary session: UC Davis chemical ecologist Walter Leal will receive the ESA's coveted Recognition Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology for his innovative and creative research involving insect communication. His lab recently discovered the mode of action for the mosquito repellent, DEET.
Among other UC Davis folks to be honored during the conference:
Mosquito researcher Chris Barker, who received his doctorate earlier this year, is the winner of the John Henry Comstock Graduate Student Award from the Pacific Branch of the ESA.
Noted entomologists Maurine and Catherine Tauber, retired from Cornell and now affiliated with UC Davis, will be honored for their diverse entomological accomplishments at a special symposium. Lester E. Ehler, emeritus professor, will speak on their life's work. In addition, other faculty and graduate students will deliver presentations at the conference.
Congratulations to all! Very well deserved!
They are among the reasons why the Chronicle of Higher Education selected UC Davis the No. 1 entomology department in the country (November 2007).
You may not know it, but you've eaten insects.
Oh, yes, you have.
The other day I meandered over to the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis campus, and a sign told me that.
There it was--plain as day (as if a day can be plain). "In your lunch, you probably eat more insects than you realize," the sign read. It went on to quote the Food and Drug Administration, that veritable institution that protects our eating habits--or tries to.
If you eat 100 grams of chocolate, you will also eat 80 insect fragments.
If you eat 100 grams of ground cinnamon, that means 800 insect fragments.
And 100 grams of macaroni? That would be 100 insect fragments.
Are you fond of mushrooms? Eat 100 grams of mushrooms and you'll also be eating 20 maggots. Bon Appétit!
So you like pizza? In every 100 grams of pizza sauce there are 30 fly eggs or two maggots.
Insects are everywhere.
They're probably even on the sign.
(Note: The Bohart Museum of Entomology, directed by Lynn Kimsey, is at 1124 Academic Surge. It houses more than 7 million specimens and is the seventh largest insect museum in North America.)
Pros and Cons of Eating Insects
It's Tuesday, Nov. 11, Veterans' Day. I walked into our bee friendly garden hoping to find a honey bee.
One buzzed erratically over the purple sage and rock purslane and disappeared.
The rest are nestled in a hive somewhere, trying to ward off the cold.
Which got me to thinking--where's that fuzzy wuzzy newborn bee photo? Oh, here it is.
See all the yellow hair on the thorax? When this bee grows old, the thorax will be smooth and almost devoid of hair.
This baby bee photo I shot last summer at the Harry Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis. Worker bees live only four to six weeks in the busy season, so by now, she's probably gone to the Big Bee Heaven in the Sky.
But isn't this baby bee adorable? You can hold a day-old bee without getting stung. Day-old bees don't have stingers, says UC Davis bee apiculturist Eric Mussen.
Better yet--hold a drone, a male bee. No stinger. Ever.
Chances are if you walked up to a group of people and asked "Have you seen a Megachile today?" they'd stare at you blankly.
What's a Megachile? It's a native bee, also known as a leafcutter bee.
When most people think about bees, they think about honey bees, which are native to Europe.
They don't think of the some 4000 bee species native to the United States. Of that number, about 1600 species are found in California.
Enter Jaime Pawelek of UC Berkeley's Department of Organisms and the Environment, a researcher who works in professor Gordon Frankie's lab. She discussed “Native California Bees: Looking for Cheap Urban Real Estate” at the Nov. 6 meeting of the Northern California Entomology Society meeting in Concord.
The "real estate," as Frankie related earlier in an e-mail, "refers mostly to the flowers that people use in their gardens."
Pawelek, who received her bachelor of science degree in conservation and resource studies from UC Berkeley, showed slides of numerous native bees, including a metallic green bee (Agapostemon texanus), long-horned bees (Melissodes sp), yellow-faced bee (Hylaeus sp.), leafcutting bee (Megachile sp.), and a yellow-faced bumble bee (Bombus spp.), not to mention the sweat, squash and orchid bees.
Most native bees (in fact, more than 70 percent) nest in the ground, Pawelek said. And, most native bees are solitary nesters. Some native bees are as tiny as a grain of rice.
Native bees are adept at pollinating specific crops, including blueberries, tomatoes and alfalfa, Pawelek said.
What should concern us: the decline in the diversity and abundance of native bees. "Causes for the decline may include," she said, "pesticide use, habitat destruction and fragmentation, and global climate change."
Although past studies have focused on agricultural or wildland habits, urban areas can also serve as habitat of native bees. In fact, initial research by the Gordon Frankie lab found 82 bee species in Berkeley alone, and of that number, 78 were native bee species.
In 2003, the Frankie lab set up the Oxford Tract Experimental Garden in Berkeley with a main goal of monitoring the diversity and abundance of bee species visiting an urban garden, Pawelek said.
In 2003 they planted some 16 species, including sunflowers, cosmos and sage. In 2005, the garden contained 40 plant species. Today it's swelled to more than 130 plant species.
To date, the researchers have collected a total of 37 bee species in the experimental garden alone. Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor, UC Davis, identifies them. "He's our bee taxonomist," Pawelek said.
In monitoring the bee-plant associations--now a primary component of their research--they found that native bees forage at native plants more often than non-native plant species, and certain plant families are highly attractive to bees. These include Asteracae (aster family), Lamiaceae (mint family) and Polygonaceae (knotweed family).
Their research takes them to urban diversity sites throughout California. Some sites are community gardens, residential gardens and neighborhood parks. Others: cemeteries and weedy lots.
Information collected at each site includes bee abundance and diversity, bee species identification, bee-plant associations, seasonality of bees and plant resources.
If you want to plant a bee friendly garden, here are some tips. It's important to offer diversity--include at least 20 plant species, Pawelek said. Cluster flowers of the same species in the same patch. Be sure to leave bare dirt for nesting purposes (unlike gardeners, bees don't like mulch). Also, provide wood blocks for cavity nesters. To make a "bee condo," drill holes of various sizes in untreated wood.
You may also want to consider what California Academy of Sciences did: a roof-top garden. The academy maintains a "green roof" using many native California bee plants.
If you'd like to design an urban bee garden or just want to know more about native bees and what flowers to plant, check out Frankie's comprehensive and exceedingly well done Web site.
Better yet, bookmark it! It's a winner!/span>
Most entomologists I know maintain a keen sense of humor.
They have to, or the insects (or the people concerned about them) will drive them buggy!
At the Northern California Entomology Society meeting in
He talked about the release of several parasitoids, including Trichogramma sp., an egg parasitoid; Meteorus trachynotus, a larval parasitoid; and Enytus eureka, a larval parasitoid.
These are the critters that can kill the light brown apple moth. The pest, known as LBAM or the "eat-everything moth," loves the Califonria climate.
Roltsch talked about biocontrol test sites in the
Roltsch, a CDFA senior environmental research scientist who received his doctorate in entomology from
And now LBAM.
LBAM lays about 60 eggs at a time, sometimes up to 100. It’s a native of
Its hosts include crops (grape vines, pome, stone fruit and citrus), shrubs (coral pea, tea tree, broom and Asteracae, the sunflower family) and weeds (capeweed, plantain and dock).
Roltsch talked about how much LBAM loves the Australian tea tree (Leptospermum laevigatium); manzanita, bottle brush, and other plants.
But wait, he didn't say anything about my favorite plant, the New Zealand tea tree, Leptospermum scoparium keatleyi. A sea captain named Edward John "Ted" Keatley (probably one of my relatives) discovered the cultivar in the early 1900s in
I'm sure LBAM loves that plant, too, just as it loves everything else. It's not a picky eater.
During the question and answer period, a Contra Costa County resident asked Roltsch: “How did LBAM know to settle in three counties that do not allow aerial spraying:
That question drew one of the biggest laughs of the day.
Ol' LBAM is a clever cuss. It not only eats everything but it's trained in survival skills.
I do know this: Capt. Keatley had nothing to do with transporting LBAM here.