Here's how to join the ranks of California's estimated 11,000 backyard and small-scale beekeepers. Or, if you're already a beekeeper, here's how to improve your knowledge and skills.
Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the University of California, Davis, and her lab have announced a series of short courses for the 2018--and folks can register now and/or purchase gift certificates. (Gift certificates are especially favored during the holiday season.)
All courses will take place at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis campus, beginning Saturday, March 24, with the last one ending June 16.
The schedule and capsule information:
- Planning Ahead for Your First Hives: Saturday, March 24
- Working Your Colonies: Sunday, March 25
- Queen-Rearing Techniques Short Course: Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22 course; Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29 course
- Bee-Breeding Basics: Saturday, June 9
- Varroa Management Strategies: Saturday, June 16
Planning Ahead for Your First Hives: The short course will include lectures and hands-on exercises. This course is perfect for those who have little or no beekeeping experience and would like to obtain more knowledge and practical skills to move on to the next step of owning and caring for their own honey bee colonies.
Click here for more information
Click here to register for the March 24 class
Working Your Colonies: Get up close and personal with bees. This course is for novice beekeepers who already have a colony and/or have taken the previous course, and want to develop their beekeeping skills further. Instructors will discuss products of the hive, present a lecture on inspecting your colony, and solve problems with your colony. The afternoon will be spent entirely in the apiary with hands-on activities and demonstrations.
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Click here to register for the March 25 class
Queen-Rearing Techniques Short Course: This two-day course will include lectures, hands-on exercises and lots of group discussions. This course is perfect for those who have some beekeeping experience and would like to move on to the next step of rearing their own queens or maybe even trying their luck at bee breeding.
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Click here to register for the April 21-22 course
Click here to register for the April 28-April 29 course
Bee-Breeding Basics: This course is an excellent complement to the Queen Rearing Techniques Short Course. During this one-day course, the instructors will talk about the intricacies of honey bee genetics along with honey bee races and breeder lines. An in-depth discussion of various breeding schemes will take place.
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Click here to register for the June 9 class
Varroa Management Strategies: Current beekeeping challenges call for all beekeepers to have a solid understanding of varroa mite biology and management approaches. The instructors will dive deeper into understanding varroa biology and will devote a majority of the time to discussing pros and cons of various means to monitor, mitigate, and manage this crucial honey bee pest.
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Click here to register for the June 16 class
The Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is located at 1 Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus. It is named for former UC Davis professor Harry Hyde Laidlaw Jr., the father of honey bee genetics./span>
Congratulations to the California Master Beekeeper Program, the newly announced recipient of a $199,949 grant from the UC Agricultural and Natural Resources through its 2017 Competitive Grants Program.
California Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, based at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is the principal investigator of the grant, titled "The California Master Beekeeper Program: Development of a Continuous Train-the-Trainer Education Effort for California Beekeepers."
The California Master Beekeeping Program uses science-based information to educate stewards and ambassadors for honey bees and beekeeping.
"Honey bees are arguably the most important managed pollinator and are used as the primary pollinator for over 30 crops in California many of which are considered specialty crops such as almonds," wrote Niño in her successful grant application. "Therefore, the food security of our state and our nation depends largely on robust and healthy honey bee populations. However, in recent years, U.S. beekeepers have been reporting annual colony losses of up to 45 percent. These losses are attributed to many pathogens and pests associated with bees, as well as pesticide exposure and lack of access to plentiful and diverse forage."
Niño noted that "Development of these educational opportunities will help minimize potentially disastrous consequences, such as increased pest and pathogen transfer or spread of Africanized bees which are considered a public-health risk, due to lack of understanding of proper honey bee husbandry. To fulfill this need we established the first-ever California Master Beekeeper Program which provides California-centric, contemporary, research-based training in apiculture."
Currently, the program is overseen by an advisory committee consisting of UCCE specialists and advisers, Department of Entomology and Nematology research staff, the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center staff at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, California beekeepers, and other apiculture specialists.
This program will establish UCCE and the Department of Entomology and Nematology (chaired by Professor Steve Nadler) in partnership with the Honey and Pollination Center (directed by Amina Harris) as a center of excellence in apiculture.
That's wonderful news!
"Most importantly," as Niño wrote, "members of the program will serve as knowledgeable ambassadors that will disseminate science-based information about the importance of honey bees, preserving bee health and responsible beekeeping."
Organizers of the Consilience of Art and Science Show, a biannual display sponsored by the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program and the Pence Art Gallery, Davis, are reminding everyone that if you fuse art with science, remember this deadline: Dec. 15.
They're looking for drawings, paintings, watercolors, photographs, sculptures, textiles, video, and mixed media.
Entomologist-artist Diane Ullman, UC Davis professor of entomology and co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, says artists selected will show their work in the Pence Gallery from Jan. 26-March 2. The goals of the exhibition are three-fold: to show creative work that explores the intersection between art and science; to foster communication between the arts and sciences, and to spark new ways of viewing the world and ourselves, according to Ullman and Pence Gallery director Natalie Nelson.
The organizers encourage "creative work that transcends pure scientific illustration to explore the conceptional realm where art and science both reside." All artists and scientists, regardless of residence, can exhibit up to three works. This refers to original 2D and 3D work in any medium, related to the intersection between art and science. It encompasses photography, drawing, textiles, painting, sculpture, video and mixed media. Dimension restriction is at the discretion of the jurors.
Artists will upload their submissions online at http://www.pencegallery.org. A vital part of the submission is the artist's statement--not to exceed 100 words--which should clearly explain how the work relates to the art/science connection. The statement may be displayed with the accepted work. Work must be available for the entire run of the exhibit.
To enter, access http://www.pencegallery.org and click on "Call to Artists" to apply directly to the site. Entry fees are $35 and $40, respectively, for Pence and non-Pence members. Fees will be used for expenses and awards related to the exhibition. No hand-delivered art work will be accepted. Accepted work may be hand-delivered or shipped and insured by the artist to the Pence Gallery, 212 D St., Davis, CA 95616.
Jurors are Jiayi Young, a UC Davis assistant professor of design, and Helen Donis-Keller, Ph.D., the Michael E. Moody Professor of Biology and Art at Olin College of Engineering, Needham, Mass. The Consilience exhibit will be displayed in the Pence's Main Gallery's glass tower lit space, measuring 1000 square feet with 12-foot ceilings.
The Pence, established in 1975, is a non-profit art gallery. Its mission is to educate and inspire the community by exhibiting high caliber art by local and regional artists, according to director Natalie Nelson.
Dec. 15: Entry deadline online by 5 p.m.
Dec. 28: Notification via email
Jan. 19-20: Drop off between 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., or deadline for shipping arrival
Jan. 26-March 2: Exhibit dates
Feb. 9: Reception from 6 to 9 p.m.,with awards ceremony at 8
March 3-4: Pick up work, 12 to 4:30 p.m.
Sales are encouraged. The Pence Gallery will retain a 50 percent commission on work displayed at the exhibit. For more information on the exhibit, contact Nelson at (530)-758-3370 or email@example.com.
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane on the UC Davis campus, is the home of nearly 8 million specimens collected worldwide. It also houses the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity.
Said Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology and director of the Bohart Museum: "We have big plans for the coming year and your support or continued support will make it possible for us to:
- Continue our K-12 outreach programs
- Train undergraduate and graduate students in educational outreach
- Keep our website up-to-date
- Educate the public about insects and spiders
- Develop new training programs
- Finance collecting expedition"
Over the past year, the Bohart has added new collections of beetles and butterflies and "we have two awesome imaging systems that have made it possible for us to provide scientists and digital visitors high-quality images of insects in our collections," Kimsey said.
The Bohart Museum offers the following categories of memberships: Individual: $25; Student: $15; Student Families: $25; Family: $40; and Patron: $100.
Donors can also contribute to the exhibits, biolegacy sponsorship (get an insect named for you or a loved one), and to the museum endowment.
Memberships and gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. Checks may be made payable to the Bohart Museum Society and mailed to:
The Bohart Museum Society
Department of Entomology and Nematology
University of California
Davis, CA 95616
Or, donors may wish to pay online by accessing http://bohart.ucdavis.edu
The Bohart Museum is open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. It is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free. The museum also hosts special open houses throughout the academic year.
Special attractions are a live "petting zoo" (think Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, tarantulas and praying mandids) and a year-around gift shop filled with insect-collecting equipment, books, T-shirts, sweatshirts, jewelry, posters, and insect-themed candy.
More information on the Bohart Museum is available by contacting (530) 752-0493 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or Tabatha Yang at email@example.com.
When UC Davis emeriti professors of entomology Peter Cranston and Penny Gullan of Canberra, Australia, attended the International Conference on Natural Resources in the Tropics in late November in Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo) at Sibu and Kapit on the Rajang River, they weren't expecting to meet a UC Davis alumnus.
But they did.
They greeted mosquito expert/emeritus professor Abu Hassan Ahmad, who received his bachelor of science degree in entomology from UC Davis in spring 1977 and who then joined the School of Biological Sciences faculty at the Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang. He retired after 36 years of service, but continues to supervise mosquito research.
"He has wide experience in the Old World tropics, especially with mosquitoes in Malaysia,” Cranston noted.
When contacted by email, Professor Ahmad said: “UC Davis made me a good entomologist.” (The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology is ranked as one of the top 10 entomology departments in the world, according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.)
Ahmad especially remembers Professors Robert Washino and Robbin Thorp and Thorp's teaching assistant/graduate student Lynn Siri (now Professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology).
And they remember him.
“I do remember,” Kimsey said. “Boy, that was a long time ago.”
Said Washino: "This makes me feel old!"
The International Conference on Natural Resources in the Tropics took place at a city with a “transformed landscape of oil palm plantations (replacing a rain forest)," said Cranston, who in addition to being an emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis is an an honorary professor at Australian National University, Canberra. "Entomology was modestly represented at the meeting, although living palm weevil larvae were available in the local produce market--and soon to be available in Southern California farmers' markets?--as well as many indigenous fruits covered with mealybugs.”
The conference included a presentation on “the food of swiftlets that are the source of birds' nest soup” and then the conversation turned to entomologists. A question arose: "How many of you here are entomologists?"
One was Professor Abu Hassan Ahmad.
Over dinner, the Cranston/Gullan/Ahmad trio reminisced about UC Davis. Ahmad shared his memories of his UC Davis professors in the mid-1970s, recalling lectures by native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp and legendary mosquito expert Robert Washino, now emeritus professor and a longtime former chair of the department.
“Abu enthused about the dozen or more entomological courses he took, but knew that such a diverse range --and most of those who taught them--were no longer extant," Cranston related. “We heard also of the strength of a Davis Alumni chapter in Malaysia – the more than 70 members include two vice chancellors in agriculture-orientated national universities. Professor Ahmad has been responsible for training entomologists at undergraduate and graduate level across much of Asia and always uses a contemporary textbook from us.”
That textbook: The Insects: An Outline of Entomology.”
Cranston and Gullan, who retired from UC Davis in 2010, finished the fifth edition in 2014. It is considered the gold standard of textbooks.
Following their retirement, the couple returned home to Canberra, the capital city of Australia. "Actually we are back in the house we did not sell when we left for California,” Cranston said. "We purchased a rural place where we spend much time--natural vegetation and a small but productive vegetable patch.”
Another Davis connection at the meeting was retired professor and renowned Thysanoptera (thrips) expert Laurence Mound, who also lives in Canberra. “He encouraged the Borneans to study their thrips, in like manner to his advocacy in Davis some time ago,” Cranston related.
Mound worked as “keeper of entomology, deputy chief scientific officer,” at the Natural History Museum in London from 1981 to 1992 and then accepted a two-year research contract from the British Museum of Natural History on central American Thysanoptera. In 1994, he moved to Australia where he serves as Honorary Research Fellow, CSIRO Division of Entomology, Canberra.
Four renowned entomologists at the International Conference on Natural Resources in the Tropics with links to UC Davis! A veritable who's who of entomology: systematic entomologists Peter Cranston and Penny Gullan, mosquito expert Abu Hassan Ahmad and thrips authority Laurence Mound.