- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
So you want to learn about native bees...
Be sure to attend Robbin Thorp's presentation on "Buzzed for Bees" on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 19 at the Rush Ranch Nature Center, Suisun.
Thorp, a native pollinator specialist and an emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, will share his knowledge about bees in a two-hour presentation from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
The event, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Rush Ranch Educational Council and the Solano Land Trust.
Thorp, a noted authority on native bees in vernal pools, the ecology of bumble bees, and honey bee pollination, will talk about the importance of native bees as crop pollinators and encourage folks to provide for them. He will display bee specimens, including bumble bees, sweat bees, and carpenter bees.
Thorp, who joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty in 1964 "officially" retired in 1994, but unofficially, he didn't. He continues to do research, write publications, and deliver lectures. He maintains his office/lab at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis.
He teaches at The Bee Course, an annual workshop held at the annual Southwestern Research Station, Portal, Ariz. It draws conservation biologists, pollination ecologists and other biologists who want to gain greater knowledge of the systematics and biology of bees.
Thorp is also co-authoring a book on urban bees and is a docent and instructor at the Solano Land Trust's Jepson Prairie Reserve.
One of his numerous research projects is monitoring the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden and demonstration garden planted south of the Laidlaw facility. Over the last several years, he has found and identified more than 75 bee species in the haven. California has some 1600 species of native bees. Globally, there are more than 20,000.
So, attend the "Buzzed for Bees" presentation and ask him how you, too, can help promote bee health. You won't find anyone more knowledgeable or more passionate about bees than Robbin Thorp.