Posts Tagged: Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven
Mellow yellow! The butterflies are back!
We spotted a bright yellow butterfly nectaring a bush germander on Feb. 7 in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, University of California, Davis.
He said it "counts as the first Valley record in 2011."
The orange sulphur butterfly, also known as "the alfalfa butterfly," often reaches "very high densities in alfalfa fields in midsummer to autumn," Shapiro says. When the alfalfa is cut, it "may emigrate en masse, even flooding into cities. This is also our most variable butterfly, seasonally and individually."
Its presence on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus, probably had something to do with the unseasonable warm weather--or that enticing-- oh, so enticing--bee friendly garden.
It's friendly to other pollinators, too!
Like orange sulphur butterflies...
Shapiro's the professor who sponsors the "beer for butterfly" competition; for 40 years he has issued a call for the first cabbage white butterfly of the year in Yolo, Solano or Sacramento. (He usually wins; he collected the first one of 2011 in Suisun City, Solano County, on Jan. 31.)
Perhaps Professor Shapiro should sponsor a "wine for a butterfly" contest: the first orange sulphur butterfly of the year photographed in the garden receives a....drum roll...bottle of wine. Or, maybe the first to find a yellow-faced bumble bee in the haven could receive...ahem...a jar of honey. And Kool-Aid for the first cuckoo bee!
No matter, it's a treat to find such a glorious butterfly--and so early in the year.
Orange Sulphur Butterfly
Sharing Air Space
Bring on the asters.
When you visit the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis, you'll see Donna Billick's six-foot-long bee sculpture, Miss Bee Haven, "nectaring" a ceramic purple dome aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae).
Appropriately enough, planted next to the sculpture are the aster's cousins: purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea). They're all from the same aster family (Asteraceae).
Ah, the aster family...When the purple coneflowers bloomed last summer and fall, they drew scores of honey bees, bumble bees, sweat bees and carpenter bees in a blazing show of diversity.
Diversity is part of the half-acre Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven's reason for being. It's intended to provide the Laidlaw honey bees with a year-around food source, raise public awareness about the plight of honey bees and other pollinators, encourage visitors to plant bee-friendly gardens of their own, and serve as a research site.
Want to visit what the pollinators are visiting? The haven, located on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus, is open year-around, dawn to dusk, for self-guided tours. Admission is free.
There you can bee-hold Miss Bee Haven and the seasonal blooms.
Now, bring on the asters!
Metallic Green Sweat Bee
Honey Bee and Bumble Bee
Tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 2) marks the 125th annual Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, Pa., and you know what that means.
That's when a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his burrow and predicts the weather.
If he sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter. No shadow? An early spring.
What's probably going to happen: Our buddy the pudgy Punxsutawney will pop out of his burrow only to encounter a...snowstorm. A bone-chilling, teeth-chattering snowstorm.
Maybe we ought to skip the groundhog mascot altogether and determine the weather by a honey bee at the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis.
If a bee--we'll call her Harriet the Honey Bee--exits her hive and forages in the cape mallow (Anisodontea hypomandarum), spring is just around the corner. If she declines to leave the hive, then it's below 50 degrees and too cold for her to fly and too early for us to think about spring anyway.
There are no groundhogs in Davis, but if you separate the two words, "ground" and "hog," we have both. We have ground squirrels burrowing around the bee facility grounds, and we have hogs in the nearby UC Davis Hog Barn. In a way, our porcine pals are "ground" hogs because pigs don't fly despite what anyone says.
For the rules...if Harriet the Honey Bee exits the hive, visits the cape mallow and rolls in the pollen, we'll have an early spring.
If Harriet the Honey Bee exits the hive and stings a ground squirrel, well, ouch! They should be more like flying squirrels. Or flying pigs, which don't exist. Weather forecast: Dismal.
If Harriet the Honey Bee exits the hive and goes hamward bound, resulting in a hog going into four-squeal drive, that's not good. We may have to forget about weather predictions for awhile.
One thing we know for sure. Ol' pudgy Punxsutawney will exit his burrow tomorrow in snowy Punxsutawney. Our streamlined Harriet the Honey Bee will exit her hive in sunny Davis.
Folks in Pennsylvania are crazy about Punxsutawney, but frankly, we're just wild about Harriet.
Honey Bee on Cape Mallow
Let Me In
One of the spectacular plants blooming in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, the half-acre bee friendly garden at the University of California, Davis, is the cape mallow (Anisodontea hypomandarum), a native of South Africa.
The paperylike pink blossoms attract a good number of bees--no, a great number of bees. That's because of two reasons: (1) the haven is located right next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road and its 60 colonies, and (2) bees love--absolutely love--cape mallow.
The haven is designed to serve several purposes: to be a year-around food source for the Laidlaw bees and other pollinators; to raise public awareness about the plight of honey bees; to provide an educational experience for visitors who can learn what to plant in their own gardens; and to serve as a research garden.
Special attractions at the haven--it's open year-around and admission is free--are the six-foot-long ceramic bee sculpture, the work of Davis artist Donna Billick; the two bee hive columns that grace the entrance to the garden, and the ceramic bench tiles showcasing bees and flowers. The bee hive columns and tiles are the work of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, founded and directed by Billick and UC Davis entomologist Diane Ullman.
If you go--and you should--check out the cape mallow. The flowers are so drop-dead gorgeous that surely they must be replicated somewhere on an an exotic silk dress or shirt.
With honey bees foraging on them.
Lovin' the Mallow
Wallowing in Mallow
What's a fly doing there?
Just soaking up the sun.
A fly that landed on one of the two colorfully painted beehive columns that grace the entrance to the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at the University of California, Davis, seemed like part of the scene.
The haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden planted next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, draws many a visitor--and many an insect. It is open year around.
We spotted this fly next to a painting of a honey bee in flight.
It knows a good spot when it sees one.
Between the Branches