You're in luck.
The UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center is hosting an educational honey tasting on Wednesday night, Jan. 27 in the Sensory Theater of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science on Old Davis Road. If you'd like to enroll, you need to register today (Monday, Jan. 20), To register, access this site.
The event, conducted by Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center, will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will feature California honeys. Extension apiculturist Elina Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology will talk about bees, honey and beekeeping.
Harris calls the event "a unique tasting experience, complemented with a short lecture delving into related beekeeping practices and issues." The cost is $30 (general), $25 (UC Davis affiliates), $12.50 (students).
The Honey Flavor Wheel production involved six months of research and development. “We brought together a group of 20 people--trained tasters, beekeepers and food enthusiasts--who worked together with a sensory scientist to come up with almost 100 descriptors,” Harris recently said. “This wheel will prove invaluable to those who love honey and want to celebrate its nuances.”
"Honey is honey, it's just that simple," according to the National Honey Board. "A bottle of pure honey contains the natural sweet substance produced by honey bees from the nectar of plants or secretions of living parts of plants. Nothing else." The 60,000 or so bees in a hive may "collectively travel as much as 55,000 miles and visit more than two million flowers to gather enough nectar to make just a pound of honey!"
The United States is home to more than 300 unique kinds of honey, according to the National Honey Board. Among the most popular? Clover and orange blossom.
He went from researching pest insects to targeting chronic pain in humankind.
He went from discovering a compound that alleviates pain (tested successfully on rodents, cats, dogs and horses) to forming a company EicOsis (pronounced eye-co-sis) to alleviate neuropathic and inflammatory pain in humans and companion animals.
Meet Bruce Hammock, the founder and CEO of EicOsis.
Hammock is a distinguished professor of entomology in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology who holds a joint appointment with the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.
He is on a mission, and clinical trials are on the horizon.
EicOsis has just received a $4 million federal grant to advance Hammock's compound discovery through Phase 1 clinical trials. The grant, “Development of an Oral Analgesic for Neuropathic Pain," is funded by the Blueprint for Neuroscience Research. National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The clinical trials, scheduled to begin in 2017, will target diabetic neuropathic pain, occurring in an estimated half of the world's 347 million diabetics, and 29 million Americans.
What exactly is the compound? It's "an inhibitor of the soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) enzyme,” said Hammock, whose fundamental research on the developmental biology of insects led to the discovery. “It is a key regulatory enzyme involved in the metabolism of fatty acids and treats pain by stabilizing natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory mediators.”
Many pain relievers are addictive, but not this one. Known as EC5026, the compound is “a potent, orally active and a non-narcotic analgesic that does not adversely affect the brain, gastrointestinal tract, or cardiovascular system,” said Alan Buckpitt, the company's vice president of pharmacology and emeritus professor of molecular biosciences at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
“The EicOsis technology may solve a great need in pain treatment in providing a powerful analgesic which avoids the side effects of opioids (narcotics) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),” said physician Scott Fishman, professor and chief of the Division of Pain Medicine, UC Davis Health System, who is not affiliated with the company. “The EicOsis compound holds great promise for controlling neuropathic pain in general and particularly for this difficult and common medical problem.”
A goal of the Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network is to discover, develop and generate novel compounds that will ultimately be commercialized and benefit humankind.
When you think of all the havoc that diabetes wreaks (we all have family and friends suffering from the disease and its complications--and some 86 million Americans alone are pre-diabetic), it's good to see this exciting "bench-to-bedside" research.
"It's hard to know where science leads," Hammock acknowledged, noting that his research into how caterpillars turn into butterflies led to this treatment for pain.
Hammock is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, which honors academic invention and encourages translations of inventions to benefit society. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the Entomological Society of America, and the recipient of the Bernard B. Brodie Award in Drug Metabolism, sponsored by the America Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. He directs the campuswide Superfund Research Program, National Institutes of Health Biotechnology Training Program, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Combined Analytical Laboratory.
A member of the UC Davis faculty since 1980, Hammock received his bachelor of science degree magna cum laude from Louisiana State University in entomology and chemistry, and his doctorate from UC Berkeley in entomology and toxicology, working in xenobiotic metabolism.
Meanwhile, we're all anticipating the clinical trials and what EC5026 can do.
(Note: see main news story on the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology website and links to his work.)
That's when eminent honey bee scientist Gene E. Robinson of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will speak on “Me to We: Using Honey Bees to Find the Genetic Roots of Social Life” in Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis campus.
His presentation, part of the Chancellor's Colloquium Distinguished Speakers Series, is from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Registration is underway on the Chancellor's Colloquium series website. The event is free and open to all interested persons but registration is required. (See Colloquium series website to register.)
Robinson pioneered the application of genomics to the study of social behavior and led the effort to sequence the honey bee genome.
Many of us have heard him speak, and many more have read his work. You may have heard him present a Tedx Talk, or read his piece on "The Behavior of Genes" (New York Times). Science writer Nick Zagorski profiled him in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Robinson needs no introduction; his work is legendary. He is the University Swanlund chair and directs the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) and the Bee Research Facility. He received his doctorate in entomology from Cornell University in 1986 and joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989.
He served as interim director of IGB, 2011-2012; director of the Neuroscience Program, 2001-2011; and leader of the Neural and Behavioral Plasticity Theme at the IGB, 2004-2011.
Robinson has authored or co-authored more than 275 publications, including 26 published in Science or Nature. He has been the recipient or co-recipient of more than $50 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture and private foundations; pioneered the application of genomics to the study of social behavior; led the effort to gain approval from the National Institutes of Health for sequencing the honey bee genome; and founded the Honey Bee Genome Sequencing Consortium.
In addition, Robinson serves on the National Institute of Mental Health Advisory Council and has past and current appointments on scientific advisory boards for companies with significant interests in genomics.
His honors include University Scholar and member of the Center of Advanced Study at the University of Illinois; Burroughs Wellcome Innovation Award in Functional Genomics; Founders' Memorial Award from the Entomological Society of America; Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship; Guggenheim Fellowship; NIH Pioneer Award; Honorary Doctorate from Hebrew University; Fellow, Animal Behavior Society; Fellow, Entomological Society of America; Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Robinson received his doctorate in entomology from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., in 1986. What prompted him to study entomology? You'll need to read Nick Zagorski profile of him in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
But the Linnaean Games are also a force to be reckoned with-- for those who study insect science or who want to study insect science.
The Entomological Society of America (ESA) today posted the video of the 2015 Championship Linnaean Games on YouTube. Access it at https://youtu.be/_hA05K0NET4 to see the lively competition between the University of California, Davis and the University of Florida. UC Davis won the championship for the first time in the 32-year history of the ESA's Linnaean Games.
The UC Davis championship team was comprised of Ralph Washington Jr. and members Jessica Gillung, Brendon Boudinot and Ziad Khouri. All are graduate students in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. They earlier won the Linnaean Games competition at the regional level: the Pacific Branch of ESA.
Washington is studying for his doctorate with major professors Steve Nadler and Brian Johnson, who respectively specialize in systematics and evolutionary biology of nematodes and the evolution, behavior, genetics, and health of honeybees; Boudinot with major professor Phil Ward, systematics and evolutionary biology of ants; and Jessica Gillung and Ziad Khouri with major professor Lynn Kimsey, who specializes in the biology and evolution of insects. Kimsey directs the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
Two members of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty--Extension entomologist Larry Godfrey and Extension apiculturist Elina Niño--served as the team's advisors.
Here are some of the questions that the UC Davis team correctly answered:
Toss-Up Question: What is the smallest insect that is not a parasite or parasitoid?
Answer: Beetles in the family Ptiliidae.
Bonus Question: Some species of mosquitoes lay eggs that can undergo diapause or aestivation. Give at least three cues that trigger the aquatic eggs to hatch.
Answer: Temperature, immersion in water, concentration of ions or dissolved solutes.
Toss-Up Question: Chikungunya is an emerging vector-borne disease in the Americas. Chikungunya is derived from the African Language Makonde. What means Chikungunya in Makonde?
Answer: Bending up.
Toss-Up Question: A Gilson's gland can be found in what insect order?
Toss-Up Question: Certain Chrysomelid larvae carry their feces as a defensive shield. To what subfamily do these beetles belong?
Bonus Question: The first lepidopteran sex pheromone identified was bombykol. What was the first dipteran sex pheromone identified? Give the trade or chemical name.
Answer: Muscalure, Z-9-Tricosene. It is also one of the chemicals released by bees during the waggle dance.
Toss-Up Question: What famous recessive gene was the first sex-linked mutation demonstrated in Drosophila by T.H. Morgan?
Bonus Question: Cecidomyiidae are known as the gall flies. What is unique about the species Mayetiola destructor, and what is its common name?
Answer: Mayetiola destructor is the Hessian Fly, a tremendous pest of wheat. It does not form galls.
Toss-Up Question: Nicrophorus americanus is listed under what legislative act?
Answer: The Endangered Species Act
Toss-Up Question: In what insect order would you find hemelytra?
Answer: The order Hemiptera.
Toss-Up Question: The subimago stage is characteristic of what insect order?
Answer: The order Ephemeroptera
Bonus Question: A 2006 Science article by Glenner et al. on the origin of insects summarized evidence that Hexapods are nothing more than land-dwelling crustaceans, which is to say that the former group Crustacea is paraphyletic with respect to the Hexapoda. What hierarchical name has been used to refer to this clade?
Toss-Up Question: What are the three primary conditions that define eusociality?
Answer: Cooperative brood care, overlapping generations, and reproductive division of labor
A total of 10 teams competed in the 2015 Linnaean Games:
- Eastern Branch: Virginia Tech University and University of Maryland
- North Central Branch: Michigan State University and Purdue University
- Pacific Branch: UC Davis and Washington State University
- Southeastern Branch: University of Georgia and University of Florida
- Southwestern Branch: Oklahoma State University and Texas A&M
The UC Davis Linnaean Games Team won the championship--they're the stars--but congratulations to all! It's a honor to be selected on a team and an honor to win a spot at the regionals and advance to the nationals.
The honey bee guru continues to answer a range of questions. The latest concerns the effect of marijuana growing sites on honey bees.
We thought we'd share his answer, which deals with honey bees, pollinators, Cannabis, pesticides, and what could happen to beekeepers who stumble upon a pot farm.
The question: "What is the effect, good or bad, that marijuana plants and marijuana grow sites have on the honey bee? From what I understand, these grow sites are using chemicals to control pests year round. In some cases, I hear that marijuana growers are importing chemicals from Mexico that are stronger and work better to control pest."
Mussen answered the question succinctly and openly.
"As you might guess, since marijuana is still considered an illegal plant to grow by the federal government," he replied, "it is no surprise that there are no pesticides registered for use on the 'crop.' Some states are trying hard to build a list of acceptable products, but here is the problem. So far we have registered products based on contact and oral toxicities to mammals. We have only run inhalation toxicities on a few very potent and stinky products (fumigants). You can get up to 10X the dose of a chemical, from the same amount of plant mass, if you smoke it versus eating it.
"There are quite a number of websites dedicated to pot growing. When pest control becomes the topic, most sites suggest mechanical methods or use of products allowed in organic agriculture. However, those organic pesticides have not been checked for inhalation effects, either."
"Thus, practically any pesticide that is used will be illegal. Given that, growers are apt to determine which materials work best on the pest at hand on other crops, acquire those materials, and use them. The regulators know this, and in states where marijuana currently is legal, the states are testing some of the products on the shelves to see what pesticides are in them. The samples have been found to be pretty clean, for the most part."
Mussen acknowledged that blooming hemp plants are attractive to many pollinators. "I have no idea what the pollen and nectar might do to them when the bees consume it. We can provide a pretty good idea of what will happen when pesticide products used on other crops are applied to the bloom (at agricultural rates), but since nothing is registered, there is no way of guessing what might be used. For the standard fee of just under $400, we can send a sample of the bees or pollen to the USDA AMS pesticide residue detection lab in Gastonia, N.C., and they can tell us the residues. Butthat doesn't help us much in terms of regulatory assistance.
"Pot growers probably won't care if they repel or kill visiting bees," Mussen speculated. "Pollinated blossoms become senescent too quickly, and do not produce the maximum amount of important resins if they are pollinated early in their cycle."
"Up to this time, I have not heard of beekeepers reporting damage from pesticides applied to marijuana, but it is likely to happen before long. Beekeepers are more worried about being shot if they accidentally get too close to a pot farm."