Talk about a bee celebration!
Folks with a passion for honey bees and native bees can head over to Mill Valley on Saturday, June 18 for "The Celebration of the Bees."
To be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at 221 Hillside Gardens, Mill Valley, it's a community gathering to benefit the beekeeping projects of SuperOrganism, the Marin Pollen Project, and the Marin Survivor Stock Queen Bee Project.
The "bee-in" will include a presentation on native bees by native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis; a talk on honey bees by master beekeeper and writer Mea McNeil of San Anselmo; demonstration and learning stations presented by the Marin Beekeepers’ Association; honey tasting featuring local varieties of honey; mead (honey wine) tasting; and live Celtic music. Hors d’oeuvres will be served.
Thorp will discuss the diversity of native bees, such as bumble bees, carpenter bees and leafcutting bees, and how residents can provide habitat for them. He does research on the role of native bees in crop pollination, the role of urban gardens as bee habitat, and declines in native bumble bee populations.
Since 2002, Thorp has served as an instructor in The Bee Course, offered annually through the American Museum of Natural History, New York at its Southwest Research Station, Portal, Ariz.
It's good to see a bee celebration that includes both honey bees and native bees.
Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased from the Savory Thymes website. Jerry Draper is taking reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org. Although children will be admitted free, reservations are required, he said.
Mid-June should be a great time to celebrate the bees--if the weather agrees to "bee" nice.
The crane fly is as long-legged and slender as a runway model, but as gangly as a teenager.
The insect, from the family Tipulidae, is sometimes called daddy long-legs (not!) or a skeeter eater (not!).
They don't eat mosquitoes and they don't bite. The adults sip nectar. Sometimes when you head out to the garden in the early morning, you'll find them resting on a plant--probably been there all night.
This one (below) was clutching salvia and waiting for a little warmth from the morning sun.
You never hear anyone say "He's as cute as an earwig."
Or, he's as cute as a "lygus bug."
No. It's "Cute as a June bug," which could be any number of bugs, including the fig beetle (Cotinus mutabilis).
Over at the Bohart Museum of Entomology on the UC Davis campus, you'll see plenty of June bugs at a special open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, June 5. The theme is "June Bugs," and it follows on the heels of "Moth-er's Day," spotlighting moths. Admission is free.
The Bohart Museum, located at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, houses more than seven million insect specimens, plus a "living petting zoo" of Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks.
The museum also has a gift shop which includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, posters, jewelry and insect candy and the like.
A popular item is a toddler-sized t-shirt with praying mantids all over it, says museum director Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis.
That's sure to get folks interested in entomology--or at least talking about bugs!
When you encounter a "Golden Girl" in your backyard, there's one thing to do: grab the camera.
The "Golden Girl," in this case, is an Italian honey bee (Apis mellifera liguistica), the most common honey bee in the United States.
Make that the world.
"Package producers prefer Italian bees because they can start the rearing process early and raise lots of bees to sell," writes beekeeper-editor-author Kim Flottum in his book, The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden.
Flottum, editor of Bee Culture magazine, goes on to say that commercial beekeepers especially like this trait when it comes to their bees pollinating early-season crops like almonds.
Then, too, Italian honey bees "produce and store lots of honey when there is ample forage and good flying weather," he writes.
There's still another good reason why beekeepers prefer the Italians: "they are not markedly protective of their hive," Flottum says. "Italians are quiet on the comb when you remove and examine frames; they do not swarm excessively, and they do not produce great amounts of propolis."
As for photographers preferring the Italians, these "Golden Girls" just stand out more so than the Carniolans and Caucasians, two other popular races.
Unlike airplane pilots, honey bees don't file a flight plan.
They know where they're going because their sisters tell them with their waggle dances.
Pollen. Nectar. Propolis. All good.
Bees seem to really like the pollen on rock purslane (Calandrinia grandiflora). It's red, but they can't see red; red appears to them as black.
Gardeners who grow rock purslane (Calandrinia grandiflora) in their yards are accustomed to seeing bees gathering red pollen.
Beekeepers? When they open their hives and see all the different colors of pollen--including yellow, orange, pink, purple, white and red--do they know where the red might have come from?
Interestingly, last year a beekeeper in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., reported seeing red--red honey. Finally, she realized her bees had been sipping maraschino cherry juice from vats at a nearby maraschino cherry company and bringing red "nectar" back to the hives.
It didn't taste like honey. That's because it wasn't.
The New York Times noted: "A fellow beekeeper sent samples of the red substance that the bees were producing to an apiculturalist who works for New York State, and that expert, acting as a kind of forensic foodie, found the samples riddled with Red Dye No. 40, the same dye used in the maraschino cherry juice."
Bee can't see red but a lot of other folks did.