If you're around the UC Davis campus on Friday, Feb. 5, be sure to wear red.
Faculty, staff and students--and everyone else interested--will take over Hutchison Field, UC Davis campus, on Friday for the third annual UC Davis Wears Red Day.
It's meant to promote heart health, but we like to promote bee health, too. (After all, this is a blog about bugs.) That's why we're including a pollen-packing honey bee heading toward lavender. The pollen is red--but not from the lavender. It's from the nearby rock purslane.
Check out what UC Davis Dateline editor Dave Jones wrote about Red Day.
The event begins at 10 a.m. with CPR training and a walk-through the MEGA heart exhibit. That's until 2 p.m. Then the Battle Heart Disease Fair (including Zumba) will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
At high noon, everyone will gather to form a huge heart. "We've done this twice before, both times in the rain. Friday's forecast is precipitation-free!" Jones said. "So put on your UC Davis Wears Red Day T-shirt and join in! (Shirts are available at all UC Davis Stores; $2 from every purchase goes to the UC Davis Women's Cardiovascular Medicine Program.)
While folks are forming the heart, the California Aggie Marching Band-uh will make it fun! It's also a great time to take selfies. Be still, my heart.
Want to attend? Let UC Davis know on its Facebook event page.
You can also tweet about it using the hashtag: #UCDavisWearsRed.
And you can Follow Dateline UC Davis on Twitter.
As an aside, I'm not sure if any red pollen-packing honey bees will be there, but take heart, they'll be somewhere!
It was a bee. One little bee.
What are the odds of a honey bee landing on the window of a UC Davis vehicle parked outside the California Bee Breeders' Association meeting on a cool January day--Wednesday, Jan. 20--at the Ord Bend Community Center, Glenn County?
Inside, it was a gathering of bee breeders talking about industry issues. Outside, it was a gathering of clouds, as the sun struggled to cast shadows where it could. The clouds would darken tomorrow, but it would not rain today.
There were no pollinators in sight.
Except for this one little bee, which landed on the windshield. Was it looking for those scarce floral resources? Or soaking in the warmth of the sun? Or waiting to be photographed?
Surely it will be involved in the almond pollination season which begins around Feb. 14.
"There are now 890,000 bearing acres of almonds!" bee breeder Jackie Park-Burris of Jackie Park-Burris Queens, Palo Cedro, and a past chairman of the California Sate Apiary Board, told us last week. "They're needing approximately 1,780,000 hives! That is probably close to 85 percent of the commercial hives in the U.S. It is definitely 100 percent of the quality commercial hives in the United States."
"Beekeepers are very thankful for the job," she added. "The pollen from the almonds is one of the healthiest pollens my bees get all year, they love it!The largest pollinating event in the world happens in California during the almond bloom. It is a $5.8 billion crop for growers and the economy of California."
And it all starts with the bees. One. Little. Bee.
But when the temperature hits a sunny 55, look for them.
It's winter in the UC Davis Arboretum, 11 weeks until spring.
Last Saturday we spotted a few bees foraging in the bush mallow and rosemary. Hello, strangers!
There were more bicyclists than bees. There were more birds than bees. Indeed, on some days there are more otters than bees.
If you're interested in volunteering at the 100-acre UC Davis Arboretum, and becoming a part of the gardening or land stewardship teams, the deadline to submit your application is Friday, Jan. 15. Volunteerism is a way of giving back, learning new skills, and meeting new people. Check out the Arboretum volunteer recruitment website or if you have questions, contact Roxanne Loe at (530) 752-4880 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gardening volunteers work in teams on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday mornings to help maintain and beautify Arboretum and Public Garden landscapes, according to the Arboretum officials. Each team focuses on a different area; volunteers work in collaboration with horticultural staff. The training dates are Thursdays, Jan. 28-March 3, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The land stewardship teams work on the Putah Creek Riparian Reserve and campus naturalized lands with staff on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday mornings. Projects include light construction, trail repair, native plant care, weed control, and a variety of equipment and power tool operation. Training dates are Jan. 26, 27 or 28, from 9 a.m. to12 p.m.
Meanwhile, as the season changes, expect more bees than bicyclists, more bees than birds, and definitely more bees than otters.
And don't forget the human-equivalent of worker bees. The Arboretum staff and volunteers make it all happen.
The 4-H Youth Development Program is an incredible opportunity for youths to learn new skills, make new friends, and become involved in leadership activities and community service projects. It's all about "Making the Best Better" and "Learn by Doing."
One of the scores of projects 4-H'ers can enroll in is entomology. That would include beekeeping!
But you don't have to be a beekeeper or be enrolled in an entomology project to enter the statewide bee essay contest. You just have to be a 4-H'er.
"Every year The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees, Inc. runs a contest for the 4-Hers and this year is no exception," wrote Extension Apiculturist Elina Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology in her current newsletter. "California 4-H members have participated in this national contest organized by Dr. Eric Mussen (Extension apiculturist for 38 years before his retirement in June of 2014) on the state level. Last year Dr. Mussen passed the torch onto me, but I was a little disappointed that I received no essays from the California 4-H members. So let's see if we can get your creativity buzzing."
This year's essay theme is "Bees and Pollination: How Important Is It?" Niño urges California 4-H'ers to "put your pens to paper (or fingers on your keyboard) and start telling everyone else just how important bees and pollination are to our own wellbeing." Or maybe well-bee-ing.
The deadline to submit the essays (750 and 1000 words) to Niño is Feb. 15, right after Valentine's Day. Her email is an easy one to remember, especially when El Niño is visiting us. It's email@example.com.
The contest details are at http://preservationofhoneybees.org/essays#rules-overview-2. Essays from previous years are also posted.
"And if you need more motivation, every state's winner receives a book about bees and beekeeping," Niño says, "and the national winners receive a nice sum of money that they can put in their piggy banks. "
Yes. Each state winner goes on to compete at the national level. The national champion wins $750, while the second and third place winners will receive $500 and $250, respectively. Plus, there's another incentive: the national-winning essays will be published in the American Beekeeping Federation's newsletter.
"Pollination and Protecting Pollinators" is a 51-minute documentary by Washington State University (WSU) Cooperative Extension that explores how valuable honey bees are, why they're crucial, and what we need to do to protect them.
County Director Timothy Lawrence of Island County, WSU Extension, served as the co-executive producer of the documentary, as well as the writer and the primary narrator.
The Whidbey News-Times, in its May 23, 2010 edition, described Lawrence as an expert on honey bee health:
"Tim Lawrence has the credentials of an old-school extension services director, with a master's degree in rural sociology, a doctorate in environmental sciences and 20 years of experience working with extension programs in three states."
Some background: Tim and his wife, noted WSU bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, were formerly based at the University of California, Davis, where Cobey served as the manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. Together they operated a commercial queen production business, Vaca Valley Apiaries, in Vacaville, Solano County.
But back to the documentary.
You'll learn about pollen, nectar and how pollen is transferred. You'll learn why honey bees are considered the best of all the pollinators but why honey bees are not the "best pollinators for some crops" and why.
You'll learn about almond pollination, along with many of the other crops that require bee pollination, including apples, cherries, plums, blueberries and cranberries. No bees? No almonds. No bees? No cranberries.
You'll learn who developed the Langstroth Hive and why it's important. Hint: the Rev. Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth (1810-1895) discovered "bee space." You'll learn what "bee space" is.
You'll learn what Moses Quinby of New York did. Hint: Quinby (1810-1875) is considered the first commercial beekeeper in the United States. You'll learn how many hives he maintained in the Mohawk Valley region of New York.
You'll learn why Lawrence says "we won't starve if bees disappear."
And finally, you'll learn what you can do to help the bees.
"Do your part and we can all do this together," Lawrence says. Good advice. And timely advice as we begin the new year.
You can watch the video at https://vimeo.com/146957716.