Backyard Orchard News
Let me tell you 'bout the birds and the bees
And the flowers and the trees...
The Birds and the Bees (music and lyrics by Herb Newman)
Don't know about "the birds and the flowers and the trees," but the bees were definitely there.
Lots of bees. More than 250,000. I captured this image on Tuesday, March 17 at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on the UC Davis campus.
The occasion: UC Davis bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility was teaching a three-day course on "The Art of Queen Bee Rearing."
Tuesday the beekeepers learned about the principles of queen rearing, set up cell builders, grafted queen cells, made queen cup bars, made queen candy, marked and clipped the queens, and evaluated drone maturing and queen mating status. Those were just a few of the scores of activities.
Wednesday the beekeepers heard a two-hour lecture on "Bee Nutrition and Emergent Diseases" by Extension Apiculturist Eric Mussen, a 32-year member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. The class also grafted queen cells, participated in diagnosis workshops (detection of tracheal mites and nosema) and learned about instrumental insemination.
Tomorrow (Thursday), they'll participate in an area tour of commercial queen producers.
Where's the buzz? Definitely at UC Davis.
The next time you enjoy a bowl of steamed rice, thank the
And a University of California Cooperative Extension Team.
The commission annually recognizes a “partner that exemplifies the values of our industry, and we honor them with our Circle of Life award,” said Tim Johnson, president and chief executive officer of the commission. The team received the award March 11 at the eighth annual Circle of Life presentation, held at the Sheraton Grand,
“When we look back at what has made rice the environmental commodity, we see one partner with us for over 20 years – the UC Cooperative Extension,” Johnson told the crowd. “They are there with us in our fields and at our research station. They make us be better farmers. They help us be better stewards of the resources we all share.”
The team includes three UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) specialists based at UC Davis; five UCCE farm advisors; and Daniel Dooley, vice president of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The UC Davis contingent is comprised of Larry Godfrey, Department of Entomology; James Hill, Department of Plant Sciences, and James Thompson, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. The farm advisors honored: Christopher Greer and Glenn Nader, Sutter-Yuba counties; Randall “Cass” Mutters,
Each received a framed and signed Giclée print of “Fields of Inspiration,” art work based on an original vase created by
Johnson praised their accomplishments. “They helped us create the first surface water monitoring and management program, one that has reduced the amount of rice herbicides in the Sacramento River by over 99 percent,” Johnson said. “They helped us find solutions to manage our rice straw that have led to the creation of 300,000 acres of flood ricelands to support the fall waterfowl migration. And, in the future, we will be announcing a partnership on water conservation.
The California Rice Commission, headquartered in
The rice industry is traditionally among the state's top 20 most valuable crops. Annual acreage typically exceeds 500,000, with more than four billion pounds of rice produced each year, according to
Part of winning team
It wasn't too surprising.
Reuters posted a story online today about flies spreading drug-resistant "superbugs" from chicken droppings.
Seems that researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, matched bacteria from houseflies and litter from poultry barns in the Delmarva Peninsula, a coastal region shared by Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
They published their findings in the journal Science of the Total Environment
Pesearcher Jay Graham said in a John Hopkins' press release: "Flies are well-known vectors of disease and have been implicated in the spread of various viral and bacterial infections affecting humans, including enteric fever, cholera, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis and shigellosis. Our study found similarities in the antibiotic-resistant bacteria i both the flies and poultry litter we simpled. The evidence is another example of the risks associated withthe inadequate treatment of animal wastes."
They cited a Danish study that indicated as many as 30,000 flies can fly in and out of a poultry house over a six-week period.
The take-home message: The increase in antibiotic-resistant baceria poses a major threat to public health.
UC Davis forensic entomologist and "super fly" expert Bob Kimsey told us last October that the common housefly, which breeds in manure, compost piles and dumpsters, is known to transfer at least 100 different pathogens and carry about 6.6 million bacteria on its body at a single time. It transmits both parastic and bacterial pathogens as well as viruses.
Makes you want to join the "swat team."
A honey bee exhibit at the 133rd annual Dixon May Fair featuring Cooperative Extension Apiculturist Eric Mussen has just won a top regional honor.
The exhibit, housed appropriately in the floriculture building, won second place in the Western Fairs’ Association’s non-competitive exhibit category. WFA represents fairs and festivals in 27 states and
“The honey bee exhibit was a first at the Dixon May Fair and very popular,” said Ester Armstrong, the fair’s interim chief executive officer. “Dr. Mussen drew large, interested crowds, all wanting to know about the plight of the honey bee.” A record 89,000 attended the four-day fair, the oldest running fair in
Mussen, a University of California apiculturist and member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty for the past 32 years, fielded questions from fairgoers. He also provided educational displays of bees and beekeepers.
Bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis, and research associate Kim Fondrk loaned the fair a bee observation hive, a glassed-in facility showing the queen bee, workers and drones.
Over the last two years, individual beekeepers have reported losing 30 to 100 percent of their bees due to a mysterious phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder. Honey bees pollinate one third of the American diet.
Another popular UC Davis exhibit at the fair: live insects provided by the Bohart Museum of Entomology, which houses the seventh largest insect collection in
It makes sense that one of the oldest insects should be at the state's oldest fair. . The oldest known bee, found encased in amber in Burma, is thought to be 100 million years old. The specimen is at least 35 to 45 million years older than any other known bee fossil, scientists say./o:p>/st1:address>/st1:street>/st1:city>/st1:city>/st1:address>/st1:street>/u2:p>/st1:place>/o:p>/u2:p>/st1:placename>/st1:placetype>/st1:placetype>/st1:place>/st1:placename>/st1:place>/st1:country-region>/st1:country-region>/st1:place>/st1:placetype>/st1:placetype>/st1:placename>/st1:placename>/st1:place>/st1:place>/u2:p>/o:p>/u2:p>/u2:p>/span>/o:p>/u2:p>/u2:p>/o:p>/u2:p>/u2:p>/st1:state>/st1:place>/o:p>/u2:p>/st1:place>/st1:country-region>/st1:country-region>/st1:place>/span>/o:p>
The BBC this week examined colony collapse disorder (CCD), a mysterious phenomonen characterized by bees abandoning their hives. The adult bees buzz off, leaving the brood and stored food behind. They do not return.
Many bee specialists believe it's not just one thing causing CCD--it's a combination of factors or a "perfect storm": parasites, pesticides, malnutrition, stress, diseases and global weather changes.
The blood-sucking varroa mite, a parasite of honey bees, is a contributing factor in the decline of bee health.
When the BBC interviewed Cooperative Exension Apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Entomology Department faculty about varroa mites, he said that the European or western honey bee doesn't "do a good job" of removing them. To a human, the varroa mite would be about the size of a softball "running around on you."
The varroa mite, Mussen said, is problematic because of three things:
1. It sucks the so-called bee blood, making the bee nutritionally weaker
2. It interferes with the immune system
3. The varroa can get viruses on its mouthparts so it inoculates bees with viruses as it travels from one bee to another.
Listen to Mussen talk about the varroa mite as he examines it under a microscope. Then imagine a softball-sized bloodsucker on you.
Varroa mite on drone