Earlier this year she came out with an app, "Wild Bee Gardens," the first-known conservation app for North American native bees. That app was exclusively for an iPad, but she promised an app for an iphone later.
Later is "now."
It's out. "Wild Bee Gardens" is an educational tool "showing the dazzling diversity of North America's native bees." The app pairs native bees with many of the flowers they frequent.
Ets-Hokin, a UC Berkeley zoology graduate, wants us all to work together to protect North America's premier pollinators. She seeks to inspire an appreciation for the importance and diversity of our native bees, and anticipates that people will create a habitat for native bees in their own gardens. The habitats are not fancy; in fact, native bee habitats are "a bit on the wild side," she says.
The work is impressive. It opens up the world of native bees and their floral resources through her text and some 300 photographs of native bees, primarily the work of entomologist/insect photographer Rollin Coville of the Bay Area.
Topics covered include:
- The role of native bees in our natural ecosystems
- The ecology and life cycles of native bees
- How to create a successful bee garden
- How to identify the native bee visitors that will appear in these gardens
The app covers 26 genera and links the bees to their favorite plants. Consultants included three scientists: native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis and UC Berkeley faculty members Gordon Frankie and Clare Kremen. They are acknowledged for their contributions of scientific knowledge and research. Arlo and Rebecca Armstrong of the Bay Area designed the app.
Just as we need food and shelter, so do bees. Native bees forage for pollen and nectar for their offspring. The bee scientists suggest you leave areas of undisturbed, bare ground for ground-nesting bees, and provide "bee condos" (wood blocks drilled with the proper-size holes) for leafcutting bees and mason bees.
While many folks will be out buying computers, laptops, tablets, designer clothes, houseware and the like during the holiday season, Ets-Hokin hopes they will take time to think about the native bees and provide for them.
Meanwhile, Celeste Ets-Hokin continues to spread public awareness about the plight of bees, writing about them, speaking about them, photographing them, and now she has an app for that: "Wild Bee Gardens."
The European honey bee, also known as the Western honey bee, has been in the United States for s-o-o-o long that we think it's a native.
It's not. European colonists brought the honey bee (Apis mellifera) to the Jamestown colony (Virginia) in 1622. The native Americans called it "the white man's fly." And the honey bee wasn't even introduced to California until 1853. That was in the middle of the California Gold Rush, 1848-1858, when it arrived in the San Jose area.
Our ancestors quickly became quite fond of the industrious little pollinator and honey/wax producer buzzing around them.
Today, as they did, we frequently see non-native and native bees sharing nectar resources, such as in the photos below of honey bees and yellow-faced bumble bees (Bombus vosnesenskii).
We're often asked: "Do honey bees, being an invasive species, impact the native bees?"
We put that question to Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. He's served as California's Extension apiculturist since 1976, almost 40 years.
His answer: "We do not have a definitive answer to that question. But, since honey bees have been living in what is now the U.S. for just short of 400 years, it is likely that honey bees and native bees determined, long ago, how to partition resources at any particular location so that both species survived. It is true that only honey bees can be moved into and out of a specific location overnight, and that might put a stress on local populations of native bees, but I never have heard of honey bees eliminating native bees from any particular spot."
That's the buzz on bees.
The boys won't be back in town for awhile.
But they will show up. Girls, too.
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, and his UC Berkeley-affiliated colleagues, Gordon Frankie, Rollin Coville, Sara Leon Guerrero and Jaime Pawalek, will show you where both the native male and female bees are during their June 4-8 workshop in Hastings Reserve, Carmel Valley, on "California's Native Bees: Biology, Ecology and Identification."
You'll learn how to identify California's native bees by genus and why it's critical to provide ecosystem services in not only wild habitats but in agricultural and urban settings. More than 1600 species comprise California's list of native bees. (And if you're thinking the honey bee is one of them--not! European colonists brought the honey bee to what is now the United States (Virginia) in 1622. The honey bee was introduced in California in 1853.)
If you join the workshop, you'll collect bees in the field at the UC Hastings Reserve and at a nearby diverse garden in Carmel Valley, according to the website. Then you'll also spend time in the lab viewing and keying collected specimens. Evening lectures on a variety of related topics will add to the field experiences. This workshop is an extension of the previously offered weekend bee workshop, with more focus on bee identification."
"Bee collections from the Hastings Reserve date back several decades, so knowledge of important bee-flower relationships are well known for this site. Participants will learn about bees' flower preferences, how to collect bees using several different methods, information on how to build a bee-friendly garden, bee photography techniques, and bee identification using generic keys and microscopes."
Frankie, Thorp, Coville and Barbara Ertter recently co-authored a California bee garden book, expected to be published in the fall of 2014 (Heydon). The working title is "California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists."
Of the four authors, Thorp, Frankie and Coville received their doctorates in entomology from UC Berkeley. Errter obtained a doctorate in biology from the City University of New York.
Thorp, who maintains an office at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis, taught a number of courses while on the UC Davis faculty: entomology, natural history of insects, insect classification, California insect diversity, and pollination ecology. Although he retired in 1994, he continues his research on ecology, systematics, biodiversity, conservation, and biology of bees. Thorp is also on the faculty of The Bee Course.
Frankie is a professor of insect biology at UC Berkeley who focuses his research on plant reproductive biology, pollination ecology, and solitary-bee biology. He splits his field research between California and Costa Rica.
Ertter has served as the curator of Western North American Flora, University Herbarium and Jepson Herbarium, UC Berkeley, since 1994. She focuses her research on the flora of western North America.
One thing's for sure: they'll share a wealth of information about native bees at this workshop!
If you want to learn about what bees do, and how gardeners can support healthy pollinator populations through simple gardening practice, then this is for you: Your Sustainable Backyard: Pollinator Gardening.
Sponsored by the California Center for Urban Horticulture (CCUH), it's a workshop set from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 28 on the UC Davis campus. It's for all who love gardening, says coordinator Melissa "Missy" Gable, program manager of CCUH.
"This workshop is designed both to inspire gardeners and equip them with all the necessary tools to provision pollinating insects in their own landscape," Gable says. "Without the pollination services of European honey bees and native bees, what fruits and vegetables would be accessible to us?"
The first part will include talks by entomologists, horticulturists and design experts from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Room 101 of Giedt Hall.
Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at UC Davis, and Dave Fujino, executive director of CCHU, will welcome the crowd from 8:45 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, will speak on "Bees 101: Species Diversity and Behavior" from 9 to 4:45 a.m. Then , pollination ecologist Neal Williams, assistant professor of entomology at UC Davis, will discuss "Importance of Pollinators and Conservation."
Ellen Zagory, director of horticulture at the UC Davis Arboretum will cover "Bee Plants" from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The last workshop speaker, Vicki Wojcik, associate program manager of Pollinator Partnership will zero in on "Pollinator Gardening: Design and Maintenance" from12:30 to 1:15 p.m.
Following the formal presentations, participants are invited to (1) tour the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, and (2) visit the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery, where they can see the pollinator demonstration beds and have an opportunity to buy plants at a specially held sale inside the nursery. Members of the Friends of the Arboretum will receive a 10 percent discount.
Both the haven and the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery will be open from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Thorp and Gable will be at the haven to answer questions during the self-guided tours, and Zagory will be on hand in the teaching nursery's demonstration gardens to field questions.
The registration fee of $45 registration includes parking, morning coffee/tea, scones and a gourmet boxed lunch. See registration site.
This definitely is "the place to bee."
Not all floral visitors are bees.
That's why we're glad to see the publication of Bee Basics: An Introduction to Our Native Bees.
It will introduce folks to such native bees as leafcutter bees, sweat bees and bumble bees.
It's co-authored by retired biologist Beatriz Moisset of Willow Grove, Pa., and entomologist Stephen Buchmann, international coordinator of the Pollinator Partnership, based in San Francisco. The illustrations, based on Buchmann's photos, are by Steve Buchanan of Wingsted, Conn., known for creating the U.S. Postal Service’s pollinator stamps that were issued June 29, 2007.
“From forests to farms, from cities to wildlands, there are 4000 native bee species in the United States, from the tiny Perdita minima to large carpenter bees,” they wrote.
“The honey bee, remarkable as it is, does not know how to pollinate tomato or eggplant flowers. It does very poorly compared to native bees when pollinating many native plants, such as pumpkins, cherries, blueberries, and cranberries.”
The book includes descriptions and illustrations of bees from such families as Apidae, Andrenidae, Halictidae, Megachilidae and Colletidae.
They wrote: “The members of the five most common families, Apidae, Halictidae, Andrenidae, Megachilidae and Colletidae, can be found throughout the North American continent from Canada and Alaska to warm and sunny Florida and Mexico; from forests to deserts; from remote wildernesses to gardens and backyards; even the National Mall in the heart of our nation’s capital sports a native bee fauna. Perhaps the only places where bees are absent are the high mountains.”
“There is even a hardy little bee, the arctic bumble bee, which lives within the Arctic Circle.”
The booklet also offers tips on how to attract pollinators. A great resource!
Steve Buchmann, of Tucson, Ariz., received his doctorate in entomology from the University of California, Davis with major professor Robbin Thorp. Now an adjunct faculty member in the entomology and EEB (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) departments at the University of Arizona, Buchmann is the author of 150 scientific publications and 12 bbooks, including The Forgotten Pollinators.
Beatriz Moisset, born in Argentina and a resident of the United States for more than 40 years, obtained her doctorate in biology from the University of Cordoba, Argentina. She completed her postdoctoral work at the Jackson Laboratories, Bar Harbor, Maine studying neurochemistry and behavior. A multitalented person (she's an artist, photographer, author and public speaker), she has displayed her pastels and oil paintings at many art shows and contributes her insect photography to the online resource BugGuide.Net.
“I became interested in pollinators after my retirement, combining photography and painting with field observations,” Moisset said.
The book, a USDA Forest Service and Pollinator Partnership Publication, can be ordered from the Pollinator Partnership website for a small donation.