But you will. It's a photograph titled "Painted Wings" by Regan Van Tuyl, 13 of Dixon.
UC Davis distinguished professor Art Shapiro identified it as the ventral side of a Sara Orange-Tip (See https://butterfly.ucdavis.edu/butterfly/anthocharis/sara-sara)
“The Sara Orange-Tip is common in foothill and lower montane habitats (Coast Range/Bay Area and Sierran West slope) but is hardly ever encountered in the Central Valley,” Shapiro writes on his website, Art's Butterfly World. “It ‘flies a bea' along roadsides and streamsides in foothill woodland and montane coniferous forest, and along the bases of cliffs in canyons. It often flies in and out of dappled light and shade but is less shade-tolerant than the Gray-Veined White. In the Sierra Nevada it is rarely seen above 5000' (except at Donner Pass, where it is seen nearly every year at the West end), replaced upslope by the Stella Orange-Tip with a ‘no-man's land' around 5000' where both may be seen but neither seems to breed. In the Klamath-Trinity-Siskiyou Mountains in N.W. California, where there is no Stella, Sara goes up to 9000'--suggesting that one entity somehow excludes the other in the Sierra Nevada.”
We can't tell you awards entries won because the fair isn't open yet. On the first day of the fair, Thursday, June 15 (free admission), the hours are 4 to to 10 p.m.
The theme? "Celebrate Solano."
But if you like insects—and you should—you'll not only "Celebrate Solano" but "Celebrate Insects." You'll see a few bees and butterflies (including a morpho) in McCormack Hall, home of junior exhibits. McCormack Hall's superintendent is Sharon Payne of Roseville, (formerly of Vallejo), a past president of the Solano County 4-H Leaders' Council and a veteran 4-H leader (14 years). Her daughter, Julianna Payne Brown of Benicia, also a 4-H veteran, serves as the assistant superintendent of McCormack Hall.
In Fine Arts (senior division), check out the acrylic oil painting of Caitlin Douglas of Vallejo. It's entered under "Open Art, Plants and Animals." A portion of her painting depicts a honey bee foraging on clover. It is titled, appropriately, "Clover Honey." See more on the Solano County Fair website.
Heading the Solano County Fair Board of Directors is Valerie Williams of Vacaville, who retired last year after a 25-year career as the Solano County 4-H Program Representative, with UC Cooperative Extension.
Did we mention that this month is National Pollinators Month?
- Author: Denise Godbout-Avant
Pollinators that hang around our gardens include bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, beetles, and flies. While all these pollinators are important, bees make up about 50% of pollinators.
Native Bees Prominent Role
When you see bees in your garden, you likely see many European honeybees (Apis mellifera), who are crucially important to the Central Valley's agriculture since Honeybees pollinate 90% of the almond crop. But Honeybees are not the only bees in search of nectar in farmers' fields and our gardens. There over 4,000 species of native bees in the United States, with about 1,600 in California.
Native bees play an important role in pollinating our plants since they are 200 times more efficient at pollination than Honeybees. Studies in the Central Valley have shown three dozen or so native bee species provide sufficient pollination services for a single farm. For example, pollinating an acre of apples requires 60,000-120,000 Honeybees; the same area can be pollinated by 250-750 Mason bees (Megachile).
Social Characteristics and Nesting Habits
Most bees are solitary in nature, generally producing honey only for their own consumption and/or for their young. Nesting habits vary from social hives/colonies to solitary nesting in the ground or woody material.
- Social vs. Solitary bees:
o Solitary bees make up 99% of all bees in North America, with social bees making up less than 1%. Only Honeybees and Bumblebees are social, living in colonies, with all other bees being solitary. Most Honeybees are domesticated, living in hives. Bumblebees live in the wild, in colonies which are generally underground. Honeybee hives will have a population of 10,000-50,000 bees, while Bumblebees will have only 50-400 in their colonies.
- Ground nesting bees make up 70% of bees:
o Mining bees and Digger bees (Adrena): As their names indicate, these bees have a ground-nesting lifestyle. From the outside, the tunnels look like holes with a ring of loose soil around them and can be mistaken for small ant hills or earthworm mounds. Mining bees are active only in the spring for 4-8 weeks during which the females dig tunnels to lay their eggs and raise their young. Both bees are extremely docile, rarely stinging.
- Stem and wood nesting bees make up 30% of bees:
o Leafcutter bees (Megachilidae) use a “wrapper” of leaves, resin, and sand to build their nests in natural or artificial cavities. If you see some leaves in your garden with their distinctive circular “cut out,” you will know you have some in your area. They are about the same size as honeybees, but their bodies are black and furry while Honeybees are dark brown to black and yellow striped.
o Mason beesconstruct their nests from mud, preferring hollow stems or holes made by wood-boring insects. Some people hang bee “houses” with hollow tubes to attract these bees to nest in their yard.
Generalist vs. Specialist Bees
Some bees are generalists, getting their nectar from a wide variety of flowers. These include the Bumblebee and the Mason bee.
Other bees are specialists, feeding only from very specific flowers, such as the Squash bee (two genera: Peponapis and Xenoglossa) or the Sunflower bee (Megachile) with their common names indicating which type of flowers they favor.
Other Native Bees
Other bees you may see in your garden:
- Carpenter bees (Apidae): Females are shiny black and can sting, but only if provoked. Males are golden and can't sting. Their name derives from their nesting behavior; nearly all species burrow into hard plant material such as dead wood or bamboo. Occasionally they may nest in unpainted wood siding of buildings.
- Sweat bees (Halictidae): Sweat bees' common name is due to their tendency to land on and lick the sweat from people's skin! One of the coolest looking bees in this group is the green sweat bee, which has a shiny, iridescent exoskeleton. Most of these bees nest in the ground, though some nest in wood. Some species are cleptoparasites, meaning they will lay their eggs on food in another species' nest and after hatching, the larva kills the host's larva!
- Long-horned bees (Melissodes): With medium to large bodies, this non-aggressive group gets their names from the long antennae of the males, which females lack. Females have a solitary nest in the ground whereas males sleep outside, often spending the night in groups on the surface of a flower.
Bees are in Trouble
Some ways you can help:
- Plant a garden full of flowering plants to attract bees and other pollinators. Make sure you have something blooming during each of the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Whenever possible, plant native plants since native bees and plants evolved together.
- If you use a pesticide, choose one that is less toxic such as a horticultural soap or oil and spray in early morning or evening when pollinators are unlikely to be present. (https://ipm.ucanr.edu/GENERAL/pesticides_urban.html)
- Provide spaces for nesting bees, with bee houses and bare patches of soil, along with a source of water.
By providing a bee-friendly garden, you can help the vital native bee pollinators thrive.
Denise Godbout-Avant has been a UCCE Master Gardener with Stanislaus County since 2020/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
That's the theme of the 146th annual Dixon May Fair, the 36th District Agricultural Association.
It's been a long, cold winter and we're ready for that! So are the exhibitors and fairgoers.
When the fair opens Thursday, May 11 and continues through Sunday, May 14 at 655 S. First St., Dixon, you'll see bees, butterflies and blossoms--and much more--exhibited in Today's Youth Building (Denverton Hall) and in the Floriculture Building.
Denverton Hall superintendent Bernadette "Bernie" Jacquot of Gridley, former exhibits supervisor at the Butte County Fair, has served more than 30 years in the fair industry.
A few of the insect-related exhibits in the Today's Youth Showcase (since this is a Bug Squad blog):
- A crocheted bumble bee, the work of Faith Ford, 14, of Vacaville
- A wall hanging of a butterfly by Elizabeth Martinez, 14, of Elk Grove
- A photo of a lady beetle, aka ladybug, by Isabelle Johnson-Lopez, 11, of Fairfield
- Butterfly art hanging (diamond art) by Regan Van Tuyl, 13 of Dixon
- A photo of a butterfly titled "Painted Wings" by Regan VanTuyl, 13 of Dixon (identified by UC Davis distinguished professor Art Shapiro as the ventral side of a Sara Orange-Tip (See https://butterfly.ucdavis.edu/butterfly/anthocharis/sara-sara)
- A "bee happy" tote bag, the work of Jessie Means, 15, of Vacaville
On one wall, Connelly has created what looks like a Matilija poppy plant, complete with a six-sectioned white ceramic platter for the petals, centered with a cluster of yellow ribbons. In another area, her honey bee with widespread yellow wings is heading for a purple flower, already occupied by a golden bee.
Key information about the fair:
Thursday, May 11: 4 to 10 p.m. (Ticket sales and buildings close at 9 p.m.) No re-entry after 9 p.m.
Friday, May 12: Noon to 11 p.m. (Ticket sales and buildings close at 10 p.m.) No re-entry after 10 p.m.
Saturday, May 13: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Ticket sales and buildings close at 10 p.m.) No re-entry after 10 p.m.
Sunday, May 14: Noon to 10 p.m. (Ticket sales and buildings close at 9 p.m.) No re-entry after 9 p.m.
THRIFTY THURSDAY, May 11: $5 admission for everyone 5 years of age and older
KIDS' DAY FRIDAY, May 12: Children 12 and under free fair admission all day
Adult 13 and Over: $15
Children 5 to 12 years of age: $10
Children 4 & Under: Free fair admission
Senior Citizen Discount: 65 and over, $10
Military Discount, with an active duty card, $10
Parking: $5 per vehicle
Access the fair website for information on musical entertainment, special shows, and rules. The Dixon Fair May chief executive officer is Patricia "Pat" Conklin, a veteran fair manager with 40-plus years of management experience in the fair industry (deputy CEO of the Solano County Fair, CEO of Butte County Fair, CEO of Sonoma-Marin Fairs and then CEO of the Dixon May Fair, beginning in 2012.) She was inducted into the Western Fairs' Association Hall of Fame in 2022.
Pat grew up in Dixon and, as a member of both the 4-H and FFA programs, showed livestock in the same fair that she manages today./span>
Want to learn about ants? Check. Bees? Check. Caterpillars? Check. And more? Check.
The spring seminars begin Wednesday, April 5 and will continue on Wednesdays through June 7. All in-person seminars will be in Room 122 of Briggs Hall, starting at 4:10 p.m. The seminars also will be virtual. The Zoom link:
Here's what's on tap:
Wednesday, April 5
Professor, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Title: “Lessons About Thermal Ecology from Rainforest Ants”
Wednesday, April 12
Research entomologist, USDA-ARS
Title: “Chemical Biomarkers and the Physiological Underpinning of Honey Bee Health Decline”
Wednesday, April 19
Wednesday, April 26 (Zoom only)
Founder and director of The Caterpillar Lab
Title: “Using Native Caterpillars, Their Ecological Connections, and Novel Outreach Tools to Showcase the Importance of Biodiversity”
Wednesday, May 3
Senior research fellow and professor emeritus of mathematical sciences
Stellenbosch University, Western Cape, South Africa
Title: “Tsetse, Trypanosomiasis and Climate Change: What Can We Learn from Field Data Collected in the Zambezi Valley of Zimbabwe?”
Wednesday, May 10
Professor of biology, Indiana University, Bloomington
Title: “Friends with Benefits: Protective Microbial Symbioses in the Honey Bee”
Wednesday, May 17 (Zoom only)
Molecular biologist USDA-ARS
Title: “Beech Leaf Disease: an Emergent Threat to Beech Forest Ecosystems in North America”
Wednesday, May 24
Assistant professor, School of Biological Sciences, UC Irvine
Title: “Cellular Mechanisms of Dendrite Regeneration after Neuron Injury”
Wednesday, May 31
Wednesday, June 7
Doctoral candidate, Phil Ward lab, UC Davis
Exit seminar: “Phylogenetics and Biogeography of the Pyramid Ants”
For more information, including any technical issues with Zoom, Meineke may be reached at email@example.com.
Regular Haven visitors notice that we frequently change our planting. It's one of the joys of gardening -- there are always new plants to try and experiment with. At the Haven, research on new plants and methods for bee gardens is essential to our educational mission.
Previous posts have reported on our work with bee plant preferences, with an emphasis on low-water plants. Our colleagues at UC Cooperative Extension in Southern California have done similar work for that part of the state. Previous blog posts have covered research with mulch, plant color, and water; all are important components of a healthy bee garden.
But all this is for naught if it isn't put into practice. So our current work is to create tools for the California horticulture industry to educate employees and customers about bee garden best practices based on this research. The first step in this work is development of an efficient sampling method so growers, landscapers, and public gardens can easily assess the bee-attractiveness of new plants as they come on the market. This will allow these plants to be marketed correctly, and will also help growers to target bee-friendly pest management.
In our attractiveness studies the Southern CA team used timed counts, while the Northern CA team used a snapshot count method (1). This technique consists of 20 second quick counts of every plant that is repeated three times in succession rather than a single 3-minute timed count. The snapshot count is faster to complete and more readily worked into the day of an otherwise busy nursery employee.
The purpose of this study was to calculate the relative net precision (RNP) of each bee counting method at a wholesale nursery (Fallbrook, CA) and a public garden site (Encinitas, CA) in San Diego County. RNP is calculated as shown below and is a way to assess sampling efficiency by balancing precision and sampling cost (2).
RNP = [1/(cost x Rv)] x 100, where Rv = (SE/mean) x 100
Plants in full bloom were sampled weekly for at least 4 weeks using both methods. Bees were counted as honey bees or other bees as this distinction is easy for an untrained observer; only honey bee data is reported here. At both locations, we saw a larger absolute number of bees with the snapshot method, but the trend of most attractive to least attractive was the same for both methods (Figures 1 and 2). We are most interested in this trend rather than the absolute number, which is expected to vary between locations. Additionally, regression analysis shows that the two counting methods are strongly correlated (Figure 3).
Finally, we saw differences between the RNP values calculated for the two sampling methods, with higher RNP for the snapshot method at both locations (Table 1). Higher RNP means greater sampling efficiency (2).
A second year of study will begin in April at additional sites to confirm these findings. We look forward to providing the California green industry with a useful tool for supporting pollinator gardens.
1. Garbuzov and Ratnieks. 2014. Functional Ecology 28: 364-374.
2. Buntin pp 99-115 in Handbook of Sampling Methods for Arthropods in Agriculture. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 1994.