It's a matter of A, B, C.
"A" is for Argentina. "B" is for bees. And "C" is for Cobey.
Bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey of the University of California, Davis and Washington State University will deliver the keynote address at the beekeeping technology symposium on Production of Live Material at the 42nd annual Apimondia International Beekeeping Congress, set Sept. 21-25 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In addition, Cobey and fellow bee researcher Walter “Steve” Sheppard, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology at Washington State University, Pullman, will present a poster, “Collaborative Stock Enhancement Project to Increase Genetic Diversity of U.S. Honey Bee Populations.”
The poster session is on Sept. 22; her talk on Sept. 23.
Cobey’s research focuses on identifying, selecting and enhancing honey bee stocks that show increasing levels of resistance to pests and diseases. Cobey developed the New World Carniolan stock, a dark, winter hardy race of honey bees, in the early 1980s by back-crossing stocks collected from throughout the United States and Canada to create a more pure strain. Stock imported from the German Carnica Association has recently been added to enhance this breeding program. In collaborations with Steve Sheppard, they are importing honey bee germplasm to increase genetic diversity in the U.S. honey bee gene pool. In addition, stock from the Republic of Georgia has been imported to re-establish the subspecies Apis mellifera caucasica, another dark race of bee that is not currently recognizable in the U.S.
A critical aspect of this program is the technology transfer of beekeeping skills. Cobey teaches queen bee rearing and queen bee inseminations classes every spring at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
Cobey, who has taught the specialized classes since the early 1980s, draws researchers and beekeepers from throughout the world, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rico, England, Egypt, France, Spain India, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Korea, Kuwait, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and Venezuela, Columbia.
By invitation, she’s also taught several classes in the host countries of Argentina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica Egypt, Jamaica, Mexico, Turkey and South Africa.
It's spring now in Argentina. Time for the spring build-up for the bees. Then in early October, Cobey will head to Santiago, Chile to teach bee breeding techniques and instrumental insemination of queen bees.
Spreading the technology. Saving the bees. Enhancing genetic diversity. That's what it's all about.
Will the real honey bee stand up?
Not all bees are honey bees and not all floral visitors that look like bees are bees. Sometimes they're flies.
A recent trip to the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road at the University of California, Davis yielded a variety of floral visitors.
They all took a'liking to the 8-foot-tall Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia), as orange as a Halloween pumpkin.
The floral visitors?
One was a drone fly (Ristalis tenax).
One was a sunflower bee (Svastra obliqua expurgata).
And one was a honey bee (Apis mellifera).
Scores of editors have mistaken drone flies and sunflower bees for honey bees and published photos that make entomologists cringe.
Entomologist/insect photographer Alex Wild of the University of Illinois (he received his doctorate in entomology at UC Davis with major professor Phil Ward), wrote an eye-opening piece on his Scientific American blog about mistaken insect identities. You'll want to read this--and then take a look at his amazing Myrmecos site.
And if you want to learn about insect photography from a master, be sure to attend his seminar from 12:10 to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 26 in 122 Briggs Hall, UC Davis. His topic: "How to Take Better Insect Photographs."
And maybe he'll mention that Bees of the World book cover. The image is a fly.
It all begins at the Bohart.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis, that is.
Officials at the museum, located at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, have just announced the complete list of weekend openings for the 2011-2012 academic year. They'll all be held on either a Saturday or Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.
And they're all free.
The first of the 10-series weekend openings, set Saturday, Sept. 24, will focus on “Catch, Collect and Curate: Entomology 101.”
“There will be collecting devices set-up outside and inside, so people can see how they are used,” said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. “People will have the chance to practice pinning common insects--dead ones!--that we will provide until supplies run out. “
Visitors will have a opportunity to access the Bohart computers to see the video clips on “How to Make an Insect Collection,” the work of UC Davis professor James Carey’s entomology class last spring. The entire series, totaling 11 clips ranging in length from 32 seconds to 77 seconds, can be viewed in just less than 10 minutes. (See news story with link to video clips)
So, on Sept. 24 at the Bohart Museum, high school and college students in science courses can learn how to create an insect collection, something required of them later this year.
The time to begin is now, Yang says.
Also, 4-H'ers enrolled in entomology projects will want to know how to do this, too. The session is open to all.
The special weekend openings complement the regularly scheduled weekday hours of the Bohart Museum. During the year, visitors can tour the Bohart between 9 a.m. and noon and 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday (except on holidays).
The Bohart Museum, home of more than seven million insect specimens (plus a live "petting zoo" of Madagascar hissing cockoaches and walking sticks and other critters), is a great resource.
Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, directs the Bohart Museum. She and the other scientists in the Bohart Museum make the study of insects not only educational but fun.
Here's what's on tap from Sept. 24 through June 3.
The target: the dengue mosquito.
The occasion: A UC Davis Department of Entomology seminar.
Wong, now a postdoctoral fellow with the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga., will discuss her research on "Oviposition Site Selection by Aedes aegypti and its Implications for Dengue Control” from 12:10 to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 28 in Briggs Hall.
Her dissertation research, completed in Iquitos, Peru, focused on the egg-laying behavior of Aedes aegypti, the principal mosquito vector of dengue viruses.
A former resident of San Luis Obispo, Wong received her bachelor’s degree in molecular and cell biology from UC Berkeley in 2001 and her master’s degree in epidemiology from UC Davis in 2006.
Next up in the fall seminar series: On Wednesday, Oct. 5 Judith Becerra, associate research professor, University of Arizona, Tucson, will speak on “Coevolution between Bursera and its Herbivores.”
Then on Wednesday, Oct. 12, the speaker is Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at UC Davis. She will discuss "The International Cooperative Biodiversity Group Program (ICBG) Rain Forest Expedition to Sulawesi Rainforest.” Kimsey's discovery of a new "warrior wasp" species recently made international news.
Assistant professors Louie Yang and Johanna Chiu have compiled an excellent schedule of speakers. Most will be webcast. See the complete list.
The skipper wasn't skipping.
In fact, it wasn't doing much of anything.
The fiery skipper butterfly (Hylephila phyleus), tangled in a spider web, struggled furiously to free itself.
Not going to happen. The sticky substance stuck to her like super glue.
It's a scene you don't often see. This time, however, before the resident spider on the catmint could grab its prey, I released the skipper.
Sorry, spider. Gotta protect the pollinators.