Posts Tagged: Bombus californicus
We're almost midway through National Pollinator Week!
It's a week that we should celebrate every day.
Last weekend we spotted a newcomer to our backyard bee garden: a bumble bee species, Bombus fervidus, formerly known as Bombus californicus, as identified by native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, and bumble bee enthusiast Gary Zamzow of Davis.
The female was heading toward a purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, and then touched down in a "Queen-of-the-Mountain" moment.
This bumble bee species is commonly known as "the yellow bumble bee," according to the co-authors of the newly published Bumble Bees of North America: an Identification Guide, authored by Paul Williams, Robbin Thorp, Leif Richardson and Sheila Colla (Princeton University Press).
It's widely spread across the continent. "Evidence from DNA barcodes supports a close relationship between individuals with the darker color pattern in the west (named californicus) and individuals with the lighter color patterns in the east (named fervidus)," they wrote.
Who knew? DNA./span>/span>
A female bumble bee, Bombus fervidus, heads for a purple coneflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Bombus fervidus atop the purple coneflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Every once in a while you see it.
And it's a real treat--especially when it's a bee garden that's synonomous with treat.
We tracked the black-faced bumble bee (Bombus californicus) in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly demonstration garden at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis.
Her nectaring preferrence left no doubt: grey musk sage (Salvia "Pozo Blue"). She serendipitously posed by the identification label.
Another bumble bee species common to the garden is the yellow-faced bumble bee (Bombus vosnesenskii).
But only Bombus californicus posed.
The garden, located on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus, is open from dawn to dusk. There's no admission. It's a joy to walk the paths featuring vegetables, fruits, nuts (almonds) and ornamentals.
Just don't forget to bring your camera.
Bombus californicus might pose for you.
Black-faced bumble bee "posing" on grey musk sage. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of black-faced bumble bee nectaring on grey musk sage. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
If you stuff your turkey with sage, chances are it's Salvia officinalis.
Not the turkey, the sage.
And if you visit the Storer Garden at the UC Davis Arboretum, you'll see bumble bees stuffing themselves with nectar from the purple flowers of Salvia officinalis, cultivar Berggarten, also known as Berggarten sage.
Scores of Bombus californicus nectared the flowers last weekend, seemingly proving that this is indeed a culinary sage favored by people AND bumble bees.
Salvia officinalis (salvia is Latin for "to heal") shows up in both medicinal and culinary history. In fact, Wikipedia says our ancestors used it to ward off evil and snakebites, to increase women's fertility, "and more."
The "and more" means just that. Think of every ailment known to humankind. Now fast forward to modern times. Some researchers are using it to treat mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease and depression.
On the culinary side, Julia Child favored it as a flavorful herb.
Bombus californicus probably knows something that Julia Child did.
Bumble Bee Tongue