If you, or your family and friends have palms in your landscape, be sure to check out the ANR blog post about the South American Palm Weevil and watch the entertaining, and informational video. For all of you foodies out there, be sure to watch until the end - YUMMY!
- Author: Stephanie Parreira
- Editor: Tammy Majcherek
Pollinator Week, June 19–25, 2017: Bee Knowledgeable!
—Stephanie Parreira, UC Statewide IPM Program
Bees are the most important pollinators of California agriculture—helping us grow field crops, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Honey bees receive most of the credit for crop pollination, but many other kinds of bees play an important role as well. There are 1600 species of bees in California! Take time during Pollinator Week to learn about the different kinds of bees and what you can do to help them flourish.
Bees other than honey bees contribute significantly to crop pollination. For example, alfalfa pollination by alfalfa leafcutter bees is worth $7 billion per year in the United States. Other bees can also boost the result of honey bee pollination—in almond orchards, honey bees are more effective when orchard mason bees are present. The more bee species, the merrier the harvest!
While growers often rent honey bee colonies to pollinate their crops, some wild bees pollinate certain crops even better than honey bees do. For instance, bumble bees are more effective pollinators of tomato because they do something honey bees do not: they shake pollen out of flowers with a technique known as buzz pollination. Likewise, native squash bees are better pollinators of cucurbits—unlike honey bees, they start work earlier in the day, and males even sleep in flowers overnight.
How can I help honey bees and other bees?
When it comes to land management and pest management practices, some bees need more accommodations than others. That's why it is important to know what bees are present in your area and important to your crop, and plan for their needs. Use this bee monitoring guide from the University of California to identify the bees present on your farm.
You can help all kinds of bees by using integrated pest management (IPM). This means using nonchemical pest management methods (cultural, mechanical and biological control), monitoring for pests to determine whether a pesticide is needed, and choosing pesticides that are less toxic to bees whenever possible. Check out the UC IPM Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings to learn about the risks different pesticides pose to honey bees and other bees, and follow the Best Management Practices To Protect Bees From Pesticides.
Bees also need plenty of food to stay healthy and abundant. Plant flowers that provide nectar and pollen throughout the year. See the planting resources below to find out which plants provide year-round food for specific types of bees.
Enjoy your “beesearch!”
Bee Habitat Resources
- Habitat for Bees and Beneficials
- Managing Wild Bees for Crop Pollination
- Native Bee Nest Locations in Agricultural Landscapes
- Farming for Bees: Guidelines for Providing Native Bee Habitat on Farms
- Hedgerow Planting for Pollinators: Central Valley, Central Coast, Southern California
- Conservation Cover for Pollinators: Central Valley, Central Coast, Southern California
- The Integrated Crop Pollination Project: Tools for Growers
- Insect Pollinated Crops, Insect Pollinators and U.S. Agriculture: Trend Analysis of Aggregate Data for the Period 1992–2009.
- Native bees are a rich natural resource in urban California gardens. (PDF)
- Honey bees are more effective at pollinating almonds when other species of bees are present.
Getting ready to plant a vegetable garden? Before you start take a look at the following sites that offer free bed designs along with other helpful tips and tools.
FREE Garden Designs:
Begin the new planting season right. Below are some must have items that will help the spring planting get off to a good start:
Gloves - Protect your hands from whatever's out there.
Pruners - Cleaned and sharpened, ergonomic designs makes the cut
Tool Bag - Whether a bag, or bucket, make sure everything you need is close at hand
Tub Trug - Tote anything from water to weeds
Closed toes shoes – Comfortable, functional footwear such as clogs & boots to keep feet dry and pain free.
Fertilizer - Don't let your plants go hungry – feed ‘em right with a slow release fertilizer if needed.
Composter - Turn your fruit/vegetable scraps and landscape waste into a wonderful amendment for your soil.
Soils - A good soil mix is necessary for successful seed starting and propagation
List above adapted from Gardeners Supply Company(Feb. 15, 2017)
Do irrigation problems make you run for the hills? Interested in learning simple fixes before they turn into a major issue?
Join the UCCE Master Gardeners this coming Saturday, April 1st, for a workshop on ‘Irrigation Basics'.
This class will teach you about irrigation valves, irrigation clocks, sprayheads, and general maintenance.
Participants will leave with a better knowledge about the delivery, conservation, and best water practices of landscape irrigation .
Workshop includes lecture and a hands on lab putting a mock system together from start to finish.
Time: 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Each class is limited to the first 24 registrants.
Cancellation Policy: No refunds one week prior to workshop.
For more information about this and other upcoming workshops click here or go to http://mgorange.ucanr.edu/projects/events/?editon=1
Questions, contact us at: email@example.com