- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
She's a butterfly magnet.
When Oakland parks supervisor Tora Rocha, known as "The Monarch Queen" and "The Butterfly Whisperer," (she rears monarchs and encourages everyone to do so), visited the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at the University of California, Davis, on Thursday, butterflies seemed to float in from everywhere!
The Western Tiger Swallowtail, Painted Lady, Gulf Fritillary and even the Cabbage White fluttered around her head.
But that Western Tiger Swallowtail...that newly emerged Western Tiger Swallowtail...
Aglow in yellow and fringed with black, it headed over to the Verbena to sip some flight fuel: sweet nectar. A brisk wind threatened to dislodge its hold but it refused to budge from its buffet.
The Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven is the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's half-acre bee friendly garden on Bee Biology Road. Planted in the fall of 2009, it is located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, west of the central campus. (See history of the bee garden.)
And on Saturday, May 2 there will be a fifth anniversary celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You're invited! (Yes, it's free and open to the public.) You'll see bee observation hives and beekeeping demonstrations. You'll learn what to plant for bees. Bee scientists will show you how to observe and identify bees, and show you native bee condos, also called "bee hotels" or "bee houses."
Besides the honey bees, bumble bees, sweat bees, carpenter bees and other pollinators, there's a good chance you'll see such butterflies as the Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus) sailing over the state-of-the-art fence that Eagle Scout Derek Tully and his assistants crafted.