When I was teaching photography, I encouraged my students to go for the angles--from a bug's eye view to a bird's eye view. Holding a camera chest-high or at eye level renders the "same-o, same o" photos.
Yet another creative way to see the world is through a fisheye lens. With its 180-degree ultra-wide view,it grants a whole new perspective.
American physicist/inventor Robert W. Wood coined the term, "fisheye," in 1906, according to Wikipedia. He imagined "how a fish would see an ultra-wide hemispherical view from beneath the water (a phenomenon known as Snell's window)."
What does the raised bed of Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia) in the Häagen-Honey Bee Haven at the University of California, Davis, look like with a fisheye lens?
Colorful, disorted, startling, intriguing.
Meanwhile, the volunteers who tend the pollinator garden every Friday morning are adding the finishing touches for the public open house, set Saturday afternoon, Sept. 15.
It's part of the Bohart Museum of Entomology's two concurrent open houses, themed "Flower Lovers: the Bees." Both will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 15. One is at the museum itself at 1124 Academic Surge on Crocker Lane, and the other, at the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.
They are free and open to the public.
The museum will showcase bee specimens from around the world, and offer crafts activities. At the haven, plans call for a focus on honey bees, native bees, beekeeping, garden tours, and crafts activities. And a focus on the permanent art in the garden, the spectacular work of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program.
Saturday's activities at the haven also will include a recognition ceremony at 1:30 p.m. for Derek Tully, 17, of Davis. He will be honored for his Eagle Scout project, building a fence around the half-acre garden. Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis, will preside.
It's a good day to bring a camera! But then, isn't every day a good day to bring a camera?
What do you know about bees, and what would you like to learn about them?
Visit the University of California, Davis campus on Saturday, Sept. 15, and you will see (1) bee specimens from all over the world and (2) bees and other pollinators in their natural habitat.
It's all happening at two concurrent open houses from 1 to 4 p.m. The theme: “Flower Lovers: The Bees.” The open houses, free and open to the public, are being arranged by the Bohart Museum of Entomology. The venues: the Bohart Museum in Room 1124 of Academic Surge on Crocker Lane, and the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a bee friendly garden on Bee Biology Road, located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
The UC Davis officials are hoping you'll attend both, and especially the special recognition ceremony at 1:30 p.m. at the haven for 17-year-old Derek Tully, who, as his Eagle Scout project, planned, organized and built a state-of-the-art fence around the half-acre haven. Tully launched the project April 2. He and his crew of 33 volunteers finished the fence on Sept. 7. Their work is nothing short of spectacular.
Tully & crew saved the Department of Entomology some $24,000 to $30,000, according to entomologist Lynn Kimsey, faculty liaison to the haven. Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology (home of more than seven million specimens), describes the fence as "meticulous" and "beautiful."
That it is.
On Saturday, the Bohart Museum will not only feature a global display of bees, but visitors can create a variety of craft activities. Ready to greet you will be Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator; senior museum scientist Steve Heydon; and graduate student Matan Shelomi. In addition to viewing the specimens, you can hold Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and rose-haired tarantula, all members of the live “petting zoo.” They're perfect for photos, too!
At the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, the agenda will include a recognition ceremony for Derek Tully, 17, of Davis at 1:30 p.m. Tables on native bees will be staffed by Neal Williams, assistant professor of entomology and graduate student Katharina Ullmann. Staff research associate Billy Synk will showcase bee tools, bee suits, bee boxes and other beekeeping necessities. The UC Davis Entomology Club will coordinate crafts activities.
Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, a noted honey bee expert, will be at the haven to field questions about bees. Got a bee question? He'll answer it. Christine Casey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology will guide a tour of the haven from 2 to 2:30 p.m. There you'll likely see assorted bees, syrphid flies, butterflies, dragonflies, praying mantids, ladybugs, and spiders--and maybe even an assassin bug or two. The biggest bee is the six-foot long ceramic bee sculpture, the work of self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick of Davis. A native bee mural, painted bee boxes and native bee condos also grace the garden.
It promises to be a fun and educational afternoon--and a nice tribute to the work of Derek Tully.
That's what scientists at the University of California, Davis; area artists; and the general public will "bee" during the Davis Art Center's public exhibit, "Discovery Art: Cross Pollination, Sharing Art, Sharing Ideas," on Friday night, Aug. 10.
Billed as two hours of fun and education about pollinators, the event is set from 5 to 7 p.m. at 1919 F St., It will include talks and demonstrations about honey bees and native bees, interactive art projects, and scores of other activities.
For starters, Friday's event will include a honey bee pheromone exhibit by Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. Yes, the pheromone emitted by a stinging honey bee does smell like bananas!
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, will discuss native bees, including bumble bees, carpenter bees and leafcutting bees. He's one of the country's top experts on native bees.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis, will showcase bee specimens--from the world's biggest to the smallest, with lots of colorful bees in between.
Edward Thomas of the Explorit Science Center will encourage the crowd to engage in a "bee dance" on a floor mat.
Others participating will be beekeeper Derek Downey of the Davis Bee Charmers; the Bullfrog Bee Farm, which will provide "a taste of honey" and bee displays; and Julia Lau, Cristina Urrutia and Tiva Lassiter of the Davis Art Center, whose activities range from candle making to bee bundling to beeswax modeling. The Pollinator Partnership also will participate by donating bee bundle materials.
Honey recipes? The National Honey Boardwill provide recipe booklets and children's booklets to take home.
Those are just some of the activities at this cross-pollinator event.
Bees never looked so good!
How blue can it be?
We spotted a metallic blue bug, one of nature's most amazing colors, last Sunday.
It was in the Mostly Natives Nursery in Tomales, a Marin County site frequented by many University of California entomologists and staff as they work on their urban bee research and publications. They come by to check out the native plants and the insects.
This blue bug was crawling up and down a Euphorbia (genus Euphorbia, family Euphorbiaceae), an unusual plant in itself because it appears to have green blossoms.
What was this bug?
We asked Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at the UC Davis. Kimsey surrounds herself with more than seven million insect specimens, and I swear she can recite the genus and species of everyone of them.
(At least we all think so!)
So, what was this bug?
She and senior museum scientist Steve Heydon initially identified it as a juvenile harlequin bug, family Pentatomidae. Kimsey later said--and confirmed--that it's a bordered plant bug, family Largidae.
How blue can it be?
It was a reddish-orange beetle, moving a little but not a lot.
We spotted it on a sunflower bordering the Avant Garden in Benicia. The garden, located at the corner of First and East D streets, thrives with assorted tomatoes, peppers, onions, strawberries, cucumbers, eggplant, squash and ornamentals.
This little beetle, as identified by Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at UC Davis, is a meloid blister beetle.
"These are nest parasites of wasps and mostly bees," Kimsey said.
Blister beetles (Coleoptera) belong the family Meloidae. They produce a blistering agent (thus their name) known as cantharidin, that can blister the skin. Horses can die from ingesting blister-beetle contaminated feed, such as alfalfa.
Scientists estimate there are approximately 7500 known species worldwide. They vary in size, shape and color.
The adults feed on multiple plants, including garden vegetables, ornamentals, vegetables, alfalfa, soybeans and potatoes. Larvae dine on grasshopper eggs and the like. Solitary bee nests are a haven for immature stages of some blister beetle species.
UC Davis evolutionary ecologist Leslie Saul-Gershenz, a graduate student in the Neal Williams lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology, researches a solitary ground-nesting bee, Habropoda pallida and its nest parasite, a blister beetle, Meloe franciscanus, found in the Mojave National Preserve.
Saul-Gershenz says the larvae of the parasitic blister beetle produce a chemical cue or a pheromone similar to that of a female solitary bee to lure males to the larval aggregation. The larvae attach to the male bee and then transfer to the female during mating. The end result: the larvae wind up in the nest of a female bee, where they eat the nest provisions and likely the host egg.
She and her colleagues most recently published their research in the April edition of the National Park Service's Mojave National Preserve Science News. You can read about her exiting work on the Department of Entomology website and see her amazing photograph of blister-beetle larvae on a digger bee. That's something you won't forget.