Posts Tagged: California Agriculture Day
The California State Beekeepers' Association (CSBA) and the Sacramento Area Beekeepers' Association (SABA) staffed a beekeeping booth from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and filled it with honey straws, Häagen-Dazs premier ice cream and bee-related pamphlets from Project Apis m. A bee observation hive, brought by Bill Cervenka Apiaries of Half Moon Bay, fronted the booth.
The bees buzzed all right, but the people--the general public lining for the ice cream donated by Häagen-Dazs--seemed to create the biggest buzz. They made a literal beeline for the strawberry and vanilla ice cream. Häagen-Dazs supports the University of California, Davis, through its bee garden and bee research (some 50 percent of its flavors require the pollination of bees).
By 11:35, the honey was all gone. "It vanished, just like our bees," quipped Bill Lewis, CSBA president.
Staffing the booth with him were Carlen Jupe, CSBA treasurer; Marti Ikehara of SABA, and Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Among those stopping to chat with the beekeepers were California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross and Barbara Allen-Diaz, vice president of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR). The California Department of Food and Agriculture sponsors the annual event, this year focusing on "Celebration, Innovation and Education."
Their bees pollinate almonds, oranges, avocados and alfalfa.
For Lewis, his interest in bees began at age 14 when he took up beekeeping in the Boy Scout program and earned his beekeeping badge. That was in Wisconsin, north of Milwaukee, where he maintained several bee hives in his backyard. "I 'abandoned' them when I went off to college," he said.
After earning his master's degree in mechanical engineering at Purdue University, he settled in California to work in the aerospace industry. Ten years later he began a 10-year period of working at a horse-boarding stable. "Horses don't much like bees," he commented. "It bothers the horses when they have to share the same water bowl."
How did he get back into beekeeping? "The bees found me," Lewis said. He began keeping bees in 1991, first as a hobby, and then as a business. "I'm a first-generation beekeeper."
"Our food supply is so dependent on bees," Lewis said. As visitors flowed by, some asked him what they could do to help the bees. Plant bee friendly flowers, buy local honey, try not to use pesticides in your garden, and generally, provide a friendly place for bees.
His favorite variety of honey is black sage "but we're not getting to get much of it this year due to the lack of rain." His second favorite: orange blossom.
He also has almond honey, which he and Mussen describe as "bitter." And, Lewis said, it gets more bitter with time."/span>
Barbara Allen-Diaz, vice president of UC ANR, "talks bees" with Bill Lewis, president of the California State Beekeepers' Association. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Say "Honey!" From left are Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of UC Davis; Barbara Allen-Diaz, vice president of UC ANR; Bill Lewis, president of the California State Beekeepers' Association; and Marti Ikehara of the Sacramento Area Beekeepers' Association. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
California grown! From left are CSBA treasurer Carlen Jupe, Sacramento, CSBA member Bill Cervenka of Bill Cervenka Apiaries, Half Moon Bay; CSBA president Bill Lewis of Lake View Terrace; California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross; Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of UC Davis; and SABA member Marti Ikehara of Sacramento. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
In actuality, those fragile white petals fluttering to the ground in the Central Valley are a different kind of snow, but the kind that doesn't make you shiver or shovel.
The University of California, Davis, campus is now seeing the last of its dwindling almond blooms. Over on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus, steady rains are driving the bees 'n blooms away.
So we took one last look for the buds that first began unfolding in mid-February. The almond trees are leafing out as if to welcome spring. In a couple more weeks, spring officially arrives (March 20).
Meanwhile, the California State Beekeepers' Association is busy planning its display at the California Agriculture Day, a farm-to-fork celebration always held near the beginning of spring on the State Capitol grounds. This year it's March 19. It's when the rural folk meet the city folk. Youths learn that chocolate milk doesn't come from chocolate cows, honey doesn't come from sticks, and beef doesn't originate on a bun at a fast food restaurant.
It's good to see the governor and the state legislators mingle with the farmers, the ranchers, the growers, the 4-H'ers and the FFA'ers.
For one day, the State Capitol lawn virtually turns into the land of milk and honey: the dairy industry hands out cartons of milk and the state beekeepers, sticks of honey.
Best of all, it's good to see a tractor on the steps of the capitol building. That's exactly where it belongs.
Honey bee foraging on an almond blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Pollen-packing honey bee dives in head first. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Land around an almond tree on Bee Biology Road is being prepared for UC Davis pollination ecology plots. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
"I'm a ladybug. Please, take me home. I want to live in your garden.
I like to eat aphids. Aphids are tiny green insects that are harmful to plants."
"Just like the Grange, I'm a friend to the farmer and you."
Those visiting the California State Grange booth at the California Agriculture Day on Tuesday, March 23 on the state capitol grounds received that welcoming note, two ladybugs, and information about them.
It was an excellent idea--giving away ladybugs, aka ladybird beetles (Hippodamia convergens). These brightly colored beetles with the familiar black spots eat aphids, moth eggs, mites, scales thrips, leafhoppers, mealybugs and other small insects.
We took home two ladybugs and released them on a rose bush in our patio.
They went right to work.
It reminded us of the two ladybugs we received last year from the UC Davis Department of Entomology at the annual UC Davis Picnic Day. They also found a home in our garden.
This year's Picnic Day, the 96th annual, is set April 17. Look for entomological events at Briggs Hall on Kleiber Drive, and at the Bohart Museum of Entomology at 1124 Academic Surge, California Drive.
The Picnic Day theme? "Carpe Davis: Seizing opportunities."
Including the opportunity to take home a couple of ladybugs.
Bugs and kisses.
When the annual California Agriculture Day took place yesterday on the state capitol grounds, thousands of visitors buzzed the booths learning more about the food they eat and the agriculturists that provide it.
But that wasn't the only buzz.
The California State Beekeepers' Association (CSBA) booth included a bee observation hive, a glassed-in hive where visitors could watch colony activity.
Brian Fishback of Wilton, president of the Sacramento Area Beekeepers’ Association, pointed out the queen, worker bees (sterile females) and the drones (males) to the visitors, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and California Secretary of Agriculture A. G. Kawamura.
"Look," Fishback told a group of young children. "There's a boy bee. See him? And look, there's a bee ready to enter the world."
"One-third of the food you eat is pollinated by bees," he said.
The beekeepers' booth was staffed with bee experts, including UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty members Lynn Kimsey and Eric Mussen. Kimsey, a former beekeeper, directs the Bohart Museum of Entomology and is a professor and vice chair of the Department of Entomology. Mussen, an Extension apiculturist or bee specialist, is active in national and state honey bee organizations. He currently serves as the CSBA parliamentarian.
Roger Everett of Porterville, president of CSBA, was there, along with CSBA secretary-treasurer Carlen Jupe. So was Jackie Park-Burris of Palo Cedro, chair of the California State Apiary Board and past president of the California State Beekeepers’ Association. Mike and Donna Tolmachoff of Madera represented the Central Valley Beekeepers’ Association; in fact, Mike serves as the president this year.
They handed out free honey bee sticks, "I Love Honey" stickers, recipe booklets, and bee fact sheets, and answered questions about bees. Crystal Hubbard of Häagen-Dazs distributed free ice cream. Some 40 percent of the ice cream brand’s flavors depend on honey bee pollination. Häagen-Dazs strongly supports honey bees. Their financial support includes bee research at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.
So, how busy was the beekeepers' booth? They handed out 2600 honey bee sticks and 1500 individual servings of Häagen-Dazs.
Meanwhile, the bees in the observation hive just kept working, too.
California Agriculture Day
Bee Observation Hive