Posts Tagged: UC Davis Department of Entomology
"Insects are the most successful animals that have ever existed on Earth and have been around for just over 400 million years," writes George Gavin in Insects, an American Nature Guide published by Smithmark Publishers, N.Y.
"Of the nearly one and a half million described species of all animals, just over 930,000 of them are insects," Gavin points out. "Thousands of new insect species are described every year and recent estimates from work in the world's diminishing rainforests indicate that there are maybe several million undescribed species."
Yes, insects are nearly everywhere--even at California's oldest fair. When the 134th annual Dixon May Fair opens May 7, continuing through May 10, you'll see a honey bee observation hive--with the queen bee, workers and drones--inside the floriculture building. Also in the floriculture building: Madagascar hissing cockroaches, Vietnamese walking sticks and other arthropods.
Honey bee specialists from the UC Davis Department of Entomology and insect experts from the Bohart Museum of Entomology will be there at various times to answer questions.
Elsewhere on the fairgrounds, you'll see insect photography and insect motifs on quilts, aprons, birdbaths, flower pots and other items. Interior Living Showcase superintendent Debee Lamont (who works year-around as gifts and records management specialist in University Relations, UC Davis) says insect images adorn numerous quilts at the fair. Insects include honey bees, butterflies and dragonflies.
Sorry, no quilts with Madagascar hissing cockroaches or Vietnamese walking sticks.
Dragonfly and Cat
When the half-acre Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven is implemented by the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis later this year, honey bees won't be the only ones enjoying the garden.
Expect to see butterflies, bumblebees and other insects.
Remember the project? Last December Häagen-Dazs ice cream committed $125,000 to the UC Davis Department of Entomology for the bee haven. A Sausalito team-- landscape architects Donald Sibbett and Ann F. Baker, interpretative planner Jessica Brainard and exhibit designer Chika Kurotaki--won the design competition, which drew 30 entries. One was submitted from as far away as England.
The key goals of the garden are to provide bees with a year-around food source, to raise public awareness about the plight of honey bees and to encourage visitors to plant bee-friendly gardens of their own.
We’re all eagerly looking forward to the garden, which will be dedicated in October.
Meanwhile, scientists at the Laidlaw facility plan to examine the diversity of insects already there. One insect we saw there last week was a soapberry bug on a flowering almond tree.
So bees, butterflies, bumblebees and soapberry bugs.
Lots of others./o:p>/o:p>/o:p>/span>
A sure sign of approaching spring...
As the cold weather subsides, out come the overwintering queen bumble bees. They're gathering nectar and pollen, building their nests and laying eggs.
Lynn Kimsey, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, found a young queen bumble bee (Bombus melanopygus) on campus yesterday.
The confused queen managed to fly into Briggs Hall, home of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
These particular bees, native to North America, are nicknamed "the orange-rumped bumble bees." They're basically your fuzzy-wuzzy, yellow-banded black bumble bees.
Last year UC Davis entomologist Robbin Thorp tended a nest of Bombus melanopygus on the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility grounds at UC Davis. The story behind the story: an area resident was seeking a temporary location for the bumble bees, which were nesting in his birdhouse. Thorp obliged.
The photos below:
Kimsey's queen bumble bee (which rates a solid 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 for fuzzy-wuzziness) and a bumble bee ready to take flight from the birdhouse. The bumble-bee-in-the-birdhouse photo, taken Feb. 29, 2008, received an online presence when the North Carolina State University Museum asked to borrow it to illustrate some text.
All hail the humble bumble bee...ever beautiful and ever resourceful./o:p>
Queen Bumble Bee
It's a wonderful gift.
Häagen-Dazs last December committed $125,000 to the UC Davis Department of Entomology to establish a bee friendly garden at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, and today, the winner of the design competition takes center stage.
The winner...drum roll, please...a team from Sausalito.
The four-member team created a series of interconnected gardens with such names as Honeycomb Hideout, Nectar Nook and Pollinator Patch to win the international competition, which drew 30 entries--one from as far away as
Landscape architects Donald Sibbett and Ann F. Baker, interpretative planner Jessica Brainard and exhibit designer Chika Kurotaki submitted an amazing design that will be brought to life this summer on a half-acre site on the Laidlaw facility grounds. (View the 21-page design on this page
.The key goals of the garden are to provide bees with a year-round food source, to raise public awareness about the plight of honey bees and to encourage visitors to plant bee-friendly gardens of their own.
It all started in February 2008 when Häagen-Dazs launched a national campaign to help the honey bees. They donated a total of $250,000 for honey bee research at UC Davis and Pennsylvania State University; launched an educational Web site, formed a scientific advisory committee, and created a new ice cream flavor, Vanilla Honey Bee.
And now comes the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. Or bee heaven.
“We’ll not only be providing a pollen and nectar source for the millions of bees on campus, but we will also be demonstrating the beauty and value of pollinator gardens,” said design competition coordinator Melissa “Missy” Borel, program manager for UC Davis’
“The winning design fits beautifully with the campus mission of education and outreach, and it will tremendously benefit our honeybees at Bee Biology,” said Lynn Kimsey, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology. “The garden will be a campus destination.”
And it’s a close destination for the 50-some colonies at the Laidlaw facility and for neighboring bees, native pollinators and other beneficial insects.
Worker bees live only four to six weeks during their peak season. Now they won’t have far to travel to gather nectar, pollen and propolis in an environmentally friendly garden filled with some 40 different varieties of flowering plants.
Meanwhile, honey bee research to determine what's causing the declining bee population continues unabated.
Honey bees will never know the source of their gift, but the people who support them, care for their needs and admire them will.
It's a wonderful gift.
It promises to attract a large crowd.
The UC Davis Center for Population Biology is planning a Darwin Day on Monday, Feb. 23.
If it sounds like a belated birthday party, it is and it isn't.
Darwin Day, billed as "a global celebration of science and reason," is held on or around Feb. 12, the birthday anniversary of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin, according to a specially set up Web site dedicated to him and his work.
The Davis celebration, free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m., in the Varsity Theatre, 616 Second St., Davis.
The one-hour event will include two public lectures, a birthday cake, and insect and fossil exhibits.
The event is sponsored by the Center for Population Biology and also involves the Department of Entomology, the Department of Geology, the Bohart Museum of Entomology and the
“This is a great synergy between the Center for Population Biology, the Department of Entomology, the Department of Geology, the Bohart Museum of Entomology and the
Presenting the public lectures will be evolutionary ecologist Maureen Stanton, chair and professor, Department of Evolution and Ecology, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan Eisen, who maintains a lab in the the UC Davis Genome Center and holds appointments in the Departments of Medical Microbiology and Evolution and Ecology. He also writes a blog, The Tree of Life.
Eisen’s topic is “Evolutionary Biology is a Valuable and Practical Tool.” He elaborates: "Evolution is frequently interpreted as a science of the past. However, an evolutionary perspective is a powerful and irreplaceable tool in studying and understanding the world around us. I will give examples of how information on evolution plays critical roles in subjects ranging from drug and vaccine development, forensics, conservation biology, and human medicine.”
Graduate students in the Center for Population Biology graduate students organized the free lectures.
UC Davis entomology graduate students Andrea Lucky, Sara Diamond and James Harwood will show live insects from the Bohart Museum of Entomology. The museum houses seven million insect specimens, but also includes live ones, such as Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks.
The Darwin Day event is one of more than 700 celebrations occurring globally--on or around Feb. 12.
Charles Darwin: Birthday Boy