Did you know that honey bees visit more than two million flowers just to make a pound of honey?
Two million visits for one pound?
That's just one of the tidbits about honey that will be mentioned Friday, Oct. 21 at the all-day “Honey!” event at the UC Davis Conference Center, 550 Alumni Center.
"How can the 60,000-some bees in a hive live in such a chaotic environment, divide up the jobs, do them well, and get everything done?" asks Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
He'll tell you at the "Honey!" event.
This one-of-a-kind event, sponsored by the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis, will take place from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Co-sponsored by the UC Davis Department of Entomology, the event will include six experts discussing honey-related topics, a honey-themed lunch, and honey and mead tasting. In addition, displays will feature a bee observation hive by Brian Fishback of Wilton and beekeeping equipment from the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.
Among the speakers will be three bee scientists from the UC Davis Department of Entomology: Extension apiculturst Eric Mussen speaking on “The Wonder of Honey Bees”; assistant professor Brian Johnson, “How Bees Cooperate to Make Honey and What They Do With It”; and emeritus professor Norm Gary, discussing “Hobby Beekeeping in Urban Environments.”
Other UC Davis speakers: Louis Grivetti, professor emeritus, Department of Nutrition, discussing “Historical Uses of Honey as Food” and Liz Applegate, professor, Department of Nutrition and director of Sports Nutrition Program, “Sweet Success—Honey for Better Health and Performance.”
The program will begin at 9 a.m. light refreshments, served until 10 a.m. Speakers, lunch, more speakers, honey tasting, and mead tasting will follow. The event ends with a refreshment reception at which Norm Gary will sign and sell his recently published book on backyard beekeeping.
Coordinating it all is Clare Hasler-Lewis, executive director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.
If you're like to attend, you'll want to make reservations now. The deadline to make reservations is Friday, Oct. 14. Recently reduced costs are $50 for the general public and for folks with connections to the beekeeping industry; $35 for UC faculty members, staff and Friends of the RMI; and $25 for students.
To reserve your space, you can contact Kim Bannister at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-5171. Payments may be made online at http://robertmondaviinstitute.ucdavis.edu/honey.
And while we're at it, let's thank the bees!
The Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road at the University of California, Davis, is awash with autumn colors, despite the persistent rains.
The half-acre bee friendly demonstration garden, like the insects that feed there, beckons and withdraws, and attracts and detracts, as plants, prey and predators come and go.
Honey bees dislike rain, but in between showers--sun breaks!--you'll see them gathering pollen and nectar to take back to their hives.
A sun break means no work break for these industrious bees.
You don't have to travel to Africa to go on safari.
You can go on a "bug" safari in your own backyard.
And you can stay as little or as long as you like without incurring such costs as air travel, hotel stays, and food expenses.
Of particular interest now in our backyard are the pink African daisies. Now that autumn has surfaced, the salvia, catmint and lavender are scaling back and it's time for the insects to favor the pink African daisies.
Yesterday we saw scores of pollinators "in the pink." They included honey bees, hover or flower flies, sweat bees, white cabbage butterflies and fiery skipper butterflies.
One honey bee was so heavily dusted with pollen that she could barely fly.
A fiery skipper skipped along, sipped some nectar, and then fluttered away.
Meanwhile, a pest, a spotted cucumber beetle, appeared. It was not on the desirable guest list, but it touched down anyway.
However, something about the proximity of the macro lens startled the uninvited guest and off it flew.
Final Score: Pollinators, 5. Pests, 0.
No, not the one below, a banded-winged grasshopper (family Acrididae and subfamily Oedipodinae) that we spotted west of the UC Davis campus--and identified by Steve Heydon, senior museum scientist at the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
These particular locusts will be something you've never seen before--and will probably always remember.
Sculptor Cyrus Tilton will display his work in a solo exhibition titled The Cycle that runs Oct. 4-29 in the Vessel Gallery, 471 25th St., Oakland. He's created a kinetic locust swarm and two 11-foot sculptures of mating locusts.
Morphologically correct, too.
Tilton will unveil his work at a press preview party on Saturday, Oct. 1. Until then, it's a surprise, but the photo below (of the work in progress) gives you a glimpse of what's to come.
Who is Tilton? He's an Oakland-based artist and the art director of the Scientific Art Studio in Richmond. His work includes a bas-relief of Barry Bonds' 500th home run. A 1998 graduate of the Art Institute of Seattle, Tilton was born in Palmer, Alaska in 1977 and spent his early years in a one-room cabin near Anchorage. His parents, he recalls, embodied the "back-to-nature movement" of the 1960s.
The Cycle "explores the parallels between locust swarms and humanity's habits of mass consumption and overpopulation, throiugh sculpture and site-specific installation," says Vessel Gallery director Lonnie Lee.
Of his work, Tilton says: "I am making a huge generalization but a lot of people I know work in offices and behind computers. I am not judging them because people have to make a living. But are we becoming more like insects? When I drive by an apartment building, I can’t help but see it as a hive. Seems like compartments for individuals to live in. We are connecting to one another in ways that look to me like we’re worker bees or worker ants, feeding the queen ant. Are we more insect-like in our behavior? And is that bad? Or maybe we are closer to insect hierarchies than we like to think.”
Lee describes Tilton's work as "a fine example of an artist who taps into the collective subconscious of humanity. The Cycle reveals the self-defeating and contradictory behaviors of society. Most will be moved to discomfort and reflection. Hopefully the audience will experience both an internal shift and a change of behavior. I urge everyone to see this show, as being enveloped by a giant locust swarm just might open pathways to our salvation.”
Fifty percent of the net sales of "Individuals" (the site-specific kinetic installation) will benefit the Alameda Food Bank.
Admission to show, which can be viewed Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Oct. 4-29, is free. A reception is set Friday, Oct 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. In addition, Tilton will talk about his work from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, discussing his processes, thoughts, and approach toward creating this body of work.
"Are we insect-like in our behavior?"
"Are we like worker bees or worker ants?"
The Cycle should prod us to ponder those questions.
A gold rush of sorts.
When the female Valley carpenter bees forage among the passion flowers (Passiflora), they turn from solid black to a mixture of gold and black.
The pollen on their head, thorax and abdomen stands out like magical gold dust, as if sprinkled by the Good Fairy.
On a recent photo expedition in west Vacaville, we watched Gulf Fritillary butterflies (Agraulis vanilla) colonize a passionflower vine (Passiflora incaranata). Meanwhile, these huge Valley carpenter bees buzzed in and out of the purple-centered white flowers.
A golden opportunity, to be sure.