- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Allen-Diaz, vice president for UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), has agreed to participate in a stunt with thousands of buzzing honey bees clustered on either a UC ANR T-shirt or on a UC ANR banner in a project coordinated by the world-renowned bee wrangler Norm Gary, UC Davis emeritus professor of entomology.
Allen-Diaz holds several other titles: director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, director of Cooperative Extension, and professor and Russell Rustici Chair in Rangeland Management at UC Berkeley. But next spring, she will become “The Bee Lady” or “The Bee-liever,” surrounded by thousands of buzzing honey bees.
And, if the UC ANR administrator raises $5,000, she’s promised to eat insect larvae to promote awareness of alternative protein sources. (To donate, see http://promises.promiseforeducation.org/vpanr)
Allen-Diaz has never intentionally been near a cluster of bees. “I have to say that most of the bee interactions that I’ve had in the past have been stepping on them barefoot on the lawn as a child in Edmonds, Wash.; jumping off a rock wall into a bee hive as a child – 11 stings on my neck and face; and trying to control meat-eating wasps (protecting her families’ hands, faces and legs) at our Oregon home,” she said.
Norm Gary said he will set up the project sometime in the spring, when the weather warms and the bees begin their annual population build-up.
Gary, who turns 80 in November, retired in 1994 from UC Davis after a 32-year academic career. He also retired this year as a bee wrangler and as a 66-year beekeeper, but “I’m coming out of retirement to help with this cause,” he said.
“Bees are not inclined to sting if they are well-fed, happy and content and are ‘under the influence’ of powerful synthetic queen bee odors — pheromones — which tend to pacify them,” Gary said.
While at UC Davis, he formulated a pheromone solution that is very effective in controlling bee behavior. Bees, attracted to pheromones, cluster on the drops of pheromones, whether it be a sign, a t-shirt or a plastic flower.
“Bees wrangled by this procedure have no inclination to sting,” he said. “Stinging behavior occurs naturally near the hive in defense of the entire colony not for the defense of the individual bee, because bees that sting die within hours. Using this approach I have had as many as a million bees clustered on six people simultaneously.”
“Most people fear bees,” Gary acknowledged. “They think bees ‘want’ to sting them. Wrong! They sting only when the nest or colony is attacked or disturbed or when they are trapped in a physical situation where they are crushed.”
Gary holds a Guinness Book of World Records for most bees (109) in his mouth; he trained the bees to fly into his mouth to collect food from a small sponge saturated with his patented artificial nectar. He kept the bees inside his closed mouth for 10 seconds.
The retired bee scientist is the author of the popular book, “Honey Bee Hobbyist: The Care and Keeping of Bees,” now in its second printing. During his academic career, he published more 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and four book chapters.
Gary, who received his doctorate in apiculture from Cornell University in 1959, is known internationally for his bee research. He was the first to document reproductive behavior of honey bees on film and the first to discover queen bee sex attractant pheromones. He invented a magnetic retrieval capture/recapture system for studying the foraging activities of bees, documenting the distribution and flight range in the field. His other studies revolved around honey bee pollination of agricultural crops, stinging and defensive behavior, and the effects of pesticides on foraging activities, among dozens of others.
A professional jazz and Dixieland musician, Gary is also known for playing the “B-Flat clarinet” while covered from head to toe with bees. He continues to play professionally in the Sacramento area—minus the bees.
“I’m looking forward to the big buzz next spring,” he said. “I promise it will be un-bee-lievable.”
- Posted By: Sandra Willard
- Written by: Kathy Keatley Garvey, (530) 754-6894, email@example.com
“[Our project] will help to protect this important pollinator by providing land managers with crucial information on its nesting requirements, to help reduce the impacts from land development and high-impact recreational use,” she said. “Our work will focus on species from the bee species-rich Mojave Desert ecosystem to the coastal dunes in Oregon.”
Saul-Gershenz researches a species of digger bee, Habropoda pallida, a solitary ground-nesting bee, and its nest parasite, a blister beetle, Meloe franciscanus.
The researchers also will study the mechanisms that "mediate the interaction between digger bees and a wide-ranging nest parasite known to parasitize multiple pollinator species," Saul-Gershenz said. "Such information could help to mitigate potential impacts on important pollinators."
- Posted By: Brenda Dawson
- Written by: Kathy Keatley Garvey, (530) 754-6894, firstname.lastname@example.org
October 18, 2011
DAVIS — Show me the honey!
The Honey! event on Friday, Oct. 21 in the UC Davis Conference Center will include talks by UC Davis bee scientists, a honey-themed lunch, honey tasting, a best-honey contest, and a reception featuring The Honeybee Trio of Vacaville.
The event, set from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., is a public celebration of bees and honey. Open to everyone, it is sponsored by Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and co-sponsored by the UC Davis Department of Entomology. The site is located across from the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Event coordinator Clare Hasler-Lewis, executive director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science (RMI), said the five UC Davis or former UC Davis faculty will speak.
Morning speakers are Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Department of Entomology who will discuss “The Wonder of Honey Bees”; assistant professor/bee biologist Brian Johnson, who will speak on “How Bees Cooperate to Make Honey and What they Do With It When We Don't” and emeritus professor/bee scientist Norman Gary, an author and professional bee wrangler, whose topic is “Hobby Beekeeping in Urban Environments.”
Afternoon speakers are Louis Grivetti, professor emeritus, Department of Nutrition, discussing “Historical Uses of Honey as Food” and Liz Applegate, professor, Department of Nutrition and director of Sports Nutrition Program, “Sweet Success—Honey for Better Health and Performance.”
Mussen will coordinate the honey sampling and honey judging. Attendees will judge different varieties of honey, such as clover, fireweed, orange blossom, eucalyptus, tupelo, safflower and buckwheat. Further details will be announced on the RMI website at http://robertmondaviinstitute.ucdavis.edu/honey.
The popular Honeybee Trio of Vacaville (Karli Bosler, 16; Natalie Angst, 16, and Sarah McElwain,15, all students at Will C. Wood High School, Vacaville) will entertain with such songs as “Sugartime.” (See rehearsal on YouTube.) Their repertoire includes classics from the 1930s and beyond in three part-harmony.
Norm Gary will sign and sell his newly published book, “Honey Bee Hobbyist: The Care and Keeping of Bees.” On display will be bee observation hives by Brian Fishback, of Wilton, past president of the Sacramento Area Beekeepers’ Association and a volunteer at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
In addition, beekeeping equipment will be displayed from the Laidlaw facility, and bee and book products by Rev Honey (Ron Fessenden, M.D.)
Recently reduced prices are: industry members and the public: $50; UC faculty, staff and Friends of the RMI: $35, and UC students, $15. For those attending the reception only, the cost is $10 general admission and $5 for students. Reservations may be made online at http://robertmondaviinstitute.ucdavis.edu/honey or with Kim Bannister at email@example.com or (530) 752-5171./span>/span>