Posts Tagged: Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility
It's all about the bees.
When A. G. Kawamura, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the newly selected State Apiary Board meet from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3 at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis, they'll talk about the troubled bee business, tour the facility, elect new officers, and listen to research presentations.
Members of the apiary board are all beekeepers. The five members represent the state's major geographical regions. They are Jackie Park-Burris of Palo Cedro, president of the California State Beekeepers' Association; Leroy Brant of Oakdale; Lyle Johnston of Madera; Steve Godlin of Visalia; and Richard Ashurst of Westmorland. They will each serve a four-year term. The UC Davis liaison is apiculturist Eric Mussen, member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty and a Cooperative Extension bee specialist since 1976.
If there's ever been an industry under attack, it's the apiary industry. The bees are subjected to stress, parasites, diseases, pesticides, malnutrition, climate change, and that mysterious phenomonen known as colony collapse disorder (CCD), in which bees abandon their hives..
Meanwhile, the United States is facing its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The new "buzz words" include mortgage meltdowns, skyrocketing fuel prices, diving stocks, and crumbling financial institutions.
But there's another "buzz" that should grab our attention: the bees.
Honey bees pollinate about one-third of the food we eat. They pollinate more than 90 fruit, vegetable and nut crops, including apples, strawberries, cherries, peaches, cantaloupe, tomatoes, cucumbers, and almonds.
As state legislators agreed when they formed the apiary board: "A healthy and vibrant apiary industry is important to the economy and welfare of the state" and the industry's "promotion and protection is in the interest of the people of the state of Califonria."
It is indeed.
Ever wonder why the stink bug stinks?
The stink bug, from the family Pentamodae, is a shield-shaped insect that tomato growers would love to ban from the face of this earth.
Some 50 species exist in California. The adults are either brown or green. Most stink bugs are plant feeders. However, the species of one subfamily prey on other insects, according to the excellent guidebook, California Insects, written by Jerry A. Powell and Charles L. Hogue and published by the University of California Press.
When a group of us from the UC Davis Department of Entomology worked the soil today at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, west of the central UC Davis campus, we encountered several lizards, lots of centipedes and ladybeetles, and several stink bugs.
So, how did the stink bug get its name? It stinks when it's disturbed. It emits a powerful odor from its thoracic glands to ward off predators.
The stink bugs we unearthed didn't stink. Guess we didn't disturb them enough!