Our yard is filled with such bee friendly plants as salvia, lavender, catmint and rock purslane.
Lately, however, the honey bees have taken a liking to the sugar-water mixture from our hummingbird feeder. Manufacturers' bee guards are meant to deter them but frankly, we rather like attracting both the hummers and the buzzers.
"The bees are hungry," said bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey of the University of California, Davis and Washington State University.
We like watching the honey bees gather at the "red fountain" as the sun sets. They buzz excitedly around the feeder, sip what they think is a nectar of the gods, and head back to their hive. Soon more of their sisters arrive to partake.
So, will the honey bees make red honey from the sugar-water mixture in the hummingbird feeder? No. The honeycomb will be tinted red, but it's not honey, said Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. It's syrup. Sugar syrup.
If you head over to the 137th annual Dixon May Fair, the state's oldest continuous fair, you'll see a flurry of butterflies. The fair, located at 655 S. First St., Dixon, opened Thursday, May 10 and continues through Sunday, May 13.
Colorful specimens and butterfly posters from the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis, grace the Floriculture Building. Over in the Fine Arts and Photography Building and Today's Youth Building, scores of artists--young and young at heart--are displaying images or paintings of butterflies. In the Interior Living Showcase Building, a butterfly necklace sparkles.
The Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Facility at UC Davis is showcasing a bee observation hive in the Floriculture Building, along with beekeeping equipment, a smoker, and informational posters. Also in the Floriculture Building, you'll see painted bee boxes, decorated with honey bees, from the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program.
Ethel Calvello of Dixon, a retired teacher who painted the 26-foot-by-4-foot wall mural in the Wine Pavilion (complete with a bumble bee!), also created a ethereal butterfly painting exhibited in the Photography and Fine Arts Building. You can almost hear the wings fluttering.
HB returns to the hive only to notice a sister doing the waggle dance to communicate (erroneously) what a good foraging site this lavender patch is, and "Let's go!"
HB head-butts her dancing sister to warn of the danger. The dancing stops. A "stop signal" just occurred.
That's the short version of what biologist James Nieh of UC San Diego will discuss when he speaks on “The Role of Negative Signaling in a Superorganism: the Honey Bee Stop Signal" next Wednesday, May 16 on the University of California, Davis campus.
The seminar, sponsored by the UC Davis Department of Entomology, is from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall, Kleiber Hall Drive.
Nieh, who joined the UC San Diego faculty in 2000, is a professor in the Section of Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution. He will be introduced by fellow bee researcher Brian Johnson, assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology. Plans call for the seminar to be webcast and then posted on UCTV within a two-week period.
The UC San Diego biologist published his discovery of the stop signal in the Feb. 23, 2010 edition of the journal Current Biology. He found that bees “head butt” to stop the waggle dancers from trying to recruit others to forage at a dangerous location. (See Biologist Discovers 'Stop' Signal in Honey Bee Communication.)
Nieh researches bee communication and cognition, focusing on many types of social bees, including honey bees, bumble bees, and stingless bees. Currently, his lab is interested in exploring the evolution of bee language, how bees communicate and recruit nestmates to food, and in how pesticides and disease affect bee behavior, navigation, and communication.
Born in Taiwan, Nieh grew up in Southern California and received his bachelor's degree from Harvard in 1991 and his Ph.D from Cornell University in 1997. He subsequently received two fellowships: a National Science Foundation-NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship to study at the University of Würzburg in Germany; and the prestigious Harvard Junior Fellowship.
When TED extends an invite, that's a high honor.
Scientists-artists Diane Ullman and Donna Billick, co-founders and co-directors of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, have been invited to speak at the second annual TEDx program hosted at the University of California, Davis.
The theme of the daylong program, set from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 19 in Room 1100 of Social Sciences and Humanities Building, is “The Power of Perspective."
Ullman and Billick are among some 14 speakers invited to discuss their research, discoveries or perspectives, which are meant to inform, enlighten and inspire. Each will speak for 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes of fame! (Yes, it's all sold out but it will be livestreamed.)
The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program "is a pioneering program in the use of an art-science fusion paradigm in undergraduate education and community outreach," Ullman explains.
You can see the program's amazing work around campus, including the exquisitely beautiful Nature's Gallery, a mosaic mural on Garrod Drive, and the earthy bee art in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road.
Billick, a self-described rock artist whose work is exhibited in many countries of the world, will speak at 3:30 p.m. on "You See. Manifesting the Nature of Education." In addition to being the co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, Billick is the director of Billick Rock Art, based in Davis, and the director of Todos Artes in Baja.
Ullman, professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and the associate dean for undergraduate academic programs in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, will speak at 3:45 p.m. on “Journey into the Art/Science Borderland: Transformations in Teaching and Learning.”
So, what is TED? It's an acronym that stands for “Technology, Entertainment and Design.” It's basically a global set of conferences providing “riveting talks by remarkable people," according to its website. Launched in 1984 in Monterey, Calif., TED shares and showcases the talks globally.
TEDx, created in the spirit of TED's mission's "ideas worth spreading,” is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. These opportunities are intended to spark deep conversations and connections. Indeed, this is participation at its best.
TEDx sponsors charge an attendance/participation fee for the daylong programs (the UC Davis event will include lunch and demonstrations), but the webcasts may be viewed on the internet for free.
When Ullman and Billick present their programs fusing art with science, their work will gain a scope never before imagined.
That's good for science. That's good for art. And that's good for the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program and the UC Davis campus as a whole.
What's Mother's Day without moths?
Moth specimens and a fun caterpillar craft activity will highlight a pre-“Moth’er's Day” open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 12 at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, University of California, Davis campus. The event is free and open to the public.
You can learn about moths and make "caterpillars" from colorful “scrunched-up paper” and chopsticks, says Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
Might make a good Mother's Day gift, yes?
Entomologist and museum associate Jeff Smith will show visitors a “behind-the-scenes” look at the Bohart’s moth collection.
The Bohart Museum also features a year-around live “petting zoo” with such permanent residents as walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and a rose-haired tarantula. You can photograph them cradling in your hand or crawling up your arm.
In addition, the gift shop will be open so visitors can buy Mom such gifts as insect-themed jewelry, candy, T-shirts, sweatshirts, coffee mugs, and posters, as well as insect nets. (Aren't those items on every Mom's list?)
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses a global collection of more than seven million insect specimens, the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and is also the home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) of UC Davis founded the museum in 1946. He was Kimsey's major professor.
It's good to see the Bohart Museum opening its doors on special weekends. Those who can't make it to the museum during the weekday can usually do so on the weekends. The Bohart’s regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. It is closed on Fridays and on major holidays.
More information is available on the Bohart website or by contacting Tabatha Yang at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-0493.
Happy Moth'er's Day!