That was a popular refrain at the 103rd annual UC Davis Picnic Day, held Saturday, April 22.
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology showed thousands of folks the honey at its Briggs Hall exhibit, "Honey Tasting." The line stretched out the door and into the lobby as eager folks--from pre-schoolers to senior citizens--waited for samples and an opportunity to talk to the scientists.
The crowd liked the meadowfoam honey the best, followed by citrus.
It was a team effort. Student scientists left their labs to staff the honey tasting table. Okay, they made a "bee line" there. In between handing out toothpicks coated with honey, they conversed with the public, answering questions about honey, bees, and beekeeping. One participant asked "What's good about honey?" Other questions included "How are the bees?" and "How can I become a beekeeper?"
It wasn't just about the honey. Scores of other insect-related events also took place at Briggs Hall (maggot art, cockroach races, and displays featuring ants, mosquitoes and bees, in addition to forensic, aquatic, and forest entomology.
Chairing the department's Picnic Day Committee was graduate student Brendon Boudinot (Phil Ward lab), an ant specialist seeking his doctorate in entomology.
Now for the good news: two of the department's exhibits were up for special awards--honey tasting at Briggs Hall, and the multiple displays at the Bohart Museum.
The results were announced today. The honey tasting exhibit, coordinated by Extension apiculturist Elina Niño, won the popular vote in its category, "Hungry Fix."
How sweet it is!
Fittingly, the theme of this year's UC Davis Picnic Day was "Growing Together." The annual event, drawing in surrounding communities, is really one gigantic open house, and a time to "come and experience the richness of diversity and achievement" of the university in "the areas of research, teaching service and campus life," organizers said.
Here's who won the special exhibit awards, as announced by exhibits coordinator Helen Xiu:
Best in Show:
- Harry Potter and the "Try"-Physics Tournament
Fun with Crafts:
- DNA and Bioluminescence
Arts and Humanities:
- The Joy of Writing: The University Writing Program Creates Fun with Words!
- Honey Tasting
Secrets of Nature
- Explore the Tree of Life
Congratulations to all! They were all special!
Speaking of special, mark your calendars to learn more about bees, honey and beekeeping:
- The inaugural California Honey Festival, coordinated by Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, will take place Saturday, May 6 in downtown Woodland. It's billed as a fun-filled day of honey, mead, music, beekeeping talks, kids' activities and more. Free and open to the public, it promises to be both fun and educational.
- The third annual UC Davis Bee Symposium: Keeping Bees Healthy is Sunday, May 7. It's sponsored by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. This is a "must" if you're keeping bees or want to do so--or if you just want to learn more about bees. Keynote speaker is noted apiculturist Steve Sheppard of Washington State University, Pullman, Wash. Registration is underway.
- The Western Apicultural Society (WAS), launched at UC Davis 40 years ago, will return to its roots for a conference Sept. 5-8. President of WAS (this is his sixth term) is co-founder Eric Mussen of UC Davis, Extension apiculturist emeritus. The organization is specifically designed to meet the educational needs of beekeepers in the United States but is open to anyone throughout the world. Registration will soon be underway. Check the website for more information.
They are, you know, everywhere.
However, when the 103rd annual UC Davis Picnic Day takes place Saturday, April 22, you'll find them primarily at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's exhibits at Briggs Hall and at the Bohart Museum of Entomology,
"Show Me the Honey" and "Show Me the Bugs."
Two of the department's exhibits are in the running for special awards at the campuswide Picnic Day. One is “Honey Tasting” at Briggs Hall, and the other is “Bigger, Better, Buglier: Impressive Science” at the Bohart Museum.
“Honey Tasting" will feature a selection of varietal honeys in a display that's the work of Extension apiculturist Elina Niño and colleagues at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Facility.
"We will have the crowd favorites: coffee blossom, sweet meadowfoam, as well as some classics such as orange blossom and blackberry blossom and the 'love-it-or-hate-it' buckwheat honey," Niño said. "This year we will also be featuring our own 2016 crop of UC Davis honey from the apiculture program." The exhibit is one of six competing for awards in the category, "Hunger Fix.”
Overall, the UC Davis Picnic Day Committee selected 30 special exhibits to compete in five categories: "Best in Show," "Fun with Crafts," "Arts and Humanities," "Hunger Fix" and "Secrets of Nature," said UC Davis Picnic Day exhibits director Helen Xie.
The way it works: Picnic Day attendees vote for their favorite exhibits. Winning exhibits will be featured on social media pages such as Picnic Day website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts after Picnic Day. They will also be featured next year, in preparation for Picnic Day 2018.
The poll will open beginning at 8 a.m. and close at 10 p.m. the same day.. All are welcome to vote at: https://orgsync.com/51524/forms/258052.
Last year the Department of Entomology and Nematology won two special awards. By popular vote, "Little Swimmers and Fly Tyers (Briggs Hall)," won the category, "Hidden Treasures," and "Real Insects and Mimics" (Bohart Museum) won the category "Family Friendly."
This year's Briggs Hall activities will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Bohart Museum of Entomology will swing open its doors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Graduate student Brendon Boudinot is chairing the department's Picnic Day Committee. (See list of activities at Briggs Hall in previous Bug Squad blog.)
Boudinot's special favorite at the UC Davis Picnic Day? Ants. He's studying for his doctorate with ant specialist Phil Ward and is helping with the ant exhibit at Briggs Hall.
It wouldn't be a picnic without ants.
There's still room in several of the courses to be taught this spring by the E.L. Niño Bee Lab at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Research Facility, University of California, Davis.
Extension apiculturist Elina Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and her staff will teach the courses. Registration is now underway, and gift certificates are also available.
See list at http://elninobeelab.ucdavis.edu/courses.html.
Capsule information on the courses:
- Planning Ahead for Your First Hives; Two Separate Courses Offered (25 spots per session).
Saturday, March 11, 9 to 5 p.m.
Saturday, March 18, 9 to 5 p.m.
Participants can sign up for one of two short courses: the first on Saturday, March 11 and the second on Saturday, March 18. The cost is $95. The all-day course will include lectures and hands-on exercises. "This course is perfect for those who have little or no beekeeping experience and would like to obtain more knowledge and practical skills to move on to the next step of owning and caring for their own honey bee colonies," Niño said.
- Working Your Colonies; Two Separate Courses Offered (25 spots per session)
Sunday, March 12, 9 to 5 p.m.
Sunday, March 19, 9 to 5 p.m.
Two separate short courses will be offered: the first on Sunday, March 12, and the second on Sunday, March 19. The cost is $150. The all-day courses are for novice beekeepers who already have a colony or have taken the previous course and want to develop their beekeeping skills further. Participants will learn how to inspect their colony and how to troubleshoot, as well as glean information on products of the hive. The afternoon will be spent entirely in the apiary with hands-on activities and demonstrations.
- Varroa Management Strategies; Two Separate Courses Offered (25 spots per session)
Saturday, May 13, 9 to 5 p.m.
Saturday, May 27, 9 to 5 p.m.
Two separate courses will be offered: the first on Saturday, May 13, and the second on Saturday, May 27. The cost is $175. Course description: Current beekeeping challenges call for all beekeepers to have a solid understanding of varroa mite biology and management approaches. Participants will dive deeper into understanding varroa biology and discussing pros and cons of ways to monitor, mitigate and manage this pest.
- Bee Breeding; One-Day Course (25 spots)
Sunday, June 11, 9 to 5 p.m.
This is a one-day course, to be held Sunday, June 11. The cost is $75. Course description: This course complements the queen-rearing techniques course. Participants will learn the intricacies of honey bee genetics along with honey bee races and breeder lines. "We will also have an in-depth discussion of various breeding schemes," Niño said.
To register, access this website, http://elninobeelab.ucdavis.edu/courses.html. For more information, contact Bernardo Niño at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530)-380-BUZZ (2899). The Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/
- You want to do your part to help the declining bee population.
- You want to learn about the honey bees that pollinate the food you eat, including fruits, vegetables and nuts (especially almonds!).
- You'd love some honey for your table and some wax to make candles.
- You want to learn about the queen bee, drones and worker bees--what they do and how to care for them.
- You want to join your fellow beekeeping friends.
But where do you start?
You're in luck.
The E. L. Nino lab at the University of California, Davis, is offering two back-to-back short courses: the first on Saturday, Aug. 27 on “Planning Ahead for Your First Hives” and the second on Sunday, Aug. 28 on “Working Your Colonies.”
Each will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, located on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.
Participants may register for one or both courses, according to Extension apiculturist Elina Niño, who is coordinating and teaching the courses with Bernardo Niño and colleagues at the Laidlaw facility. The short courses will be limited to 25 people.
Here's some information about each:
Planning Ahead for Your First Hive
The course, “Planning Ahead for Your First Hives,” taught by Elina Niño, Bernardo Niño, Charley Nye and Tricia Bohls, will provide lectures and hands-on exercises. The course is described as “perfect for those who have little or no beekeeping experience and would like to obtain more knowledge and practical skills before moving on to the next step of owning and caring for their own honey bee colonies.”
Lecture modules will cover honey bee biology, beekeeping equipment, how to start your colony, and maladies of the hive. Practical modules will zero in on how to build a hive, install a package, inspect a hive and monitor for varroa mites.
Participants will have the opportunity to learn about and practice many aspects of what is necessary to get the colony started and keep it healthy and thriving. At the end of the course, participants "will be knowledgeable about installing honey bee packages, monitoring their own colonies and taking on possible challenges with maintaining a healthy colony."
The $95 registration fee covers the cost of course materials (including a hive tool), lunch and refreshments.
Working Your Colonies
For the short course, “Working Your Colonies,” instructors are Elina Niño and Bernardo Niño. The course, to include lectures and hands-on exercises, is described as “perfect or those who already have beekeeping experience and would like to obtain more knowledge and practical to move on to the next step of managing and working their own honey bee colonies.”
Lecture modules will include advanced honey bee biology, honey bee integrated pest management and products of the hive. Practical modules will cover queen wrangling, honey extraction, combining colonies, splitting colonies and monitoring for varroa mites. The $150 registration fee covers the cost of course materials, lunch, and refreshments.
For each course, participants are asked to bring a bee suit or veil if they have one (the lab has a limited number). Lodging is not provided. For more information on registering for the short courses, contact Bernardo Niño at email@example.com or (530) 380-BUZZ (2899). Want to access up-to-date information? See lab's Facebook page.
The summer edition includes Bernardo Niño's article, "Educational Apiary at UC Davis Is A-Buzz."
"After much preparation and planning, we finally established an educational apiary here at the UC Davis Bee Facility," he wrote. "The main goal of this apiary is to provide beekeepers of all levels with an opportunity to experience a variety of hive types. We have been teaching beekeeping courses for awhile now and we always get asked about hives other than Langstroth. So we have finally made the first step towards providing a comprehensive demonstration of the different ways to keep honey bees. If you were to come by the apiary right now, you would get a chance to see a Kenyan Top Bar hive, Warré hive, Langstroth hive, and even a Langstroth hive modified with Flow™ Hive frames. Next season we are excited to add the Hungarian Rotating hive, as well as plastic and polystyrene hives." Bernardo Niño also offers a quick review of what these hives are.
Other articles feature:
Africanized Bee Testing. UC Davis does not test honey bee samples to determine if they are Africanized. But Elina Niño lists some facilities that do.
Do Bees Have a Personality? "I have been asked, jokingly, of course, if I call the bees in a colony by their names. I would laugh and maybe even say a few names like 'Bee-anca' and 'Bee-atrix.' Doctoral candidate Cameron Jasper provides information.
A Few Notes About 'Our Colonies.' This year we partnered with a local beekeeper to complete the second year of our project of evaluating various biomiticides for Varroa management.
Let's Talk About American Foulbrood. Over the past few months, I heard from several beekeepers that they've been finding American Foulbrood (AFB) in their hives.
Is Honey 'Bee Vomit'? Extension apiculturist (emeritus) Eric Mussen is a guest columnist. The answer? "In a word, 'No.' Honey is neither bee vomit nor bee barf."
Kids' Corner: Bees Recognize Human Faces. Do you have a hard time remembering names of people you meet? I do, too--I'm MUCH better at remembering faces. And guess what--bees can do it, too.
To stay-up-to-date with the most current news from the E. L. Niño lab, access the lab's Facebook page. You'll learn about upcoming beekeeping courses, as well as the Master Beekeeper course.
The Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility is located on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.