- Author: Ben Faber
Two years ago we set out to study the impact of native bees on avocado fruit set. We applied for several grants unsuccessfully and turned to growers to see if there was interest. We raised $6,000 to start the project and have established 4 sites in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. in the meantime have gotten a Sustainable Agricultural Research and Extension grant. This grant does not start until October 2014. We need bridging funds to continue this study. Below is the original request from growers for funds. If you would help contribute it will keep this study going until the larger grant comes through. Thank you.
Dr. Gordon Frankie at UC Berkeley is teaming with Dr. Ben Faber from the Ventura County UCCE Extension to jointly work on a pollination study for avocados. Dr. Frankie is studying how to increase native bee pollinators in avocado orchards. To do this, we plan on surveying the native bees that are in the area, identify the plants that they are foraging on and then plant those species in orchards to lure indigenous bees + pollinators in to the orchards. These plants will also be monitored for their attractiveness to beneficial insects which could control avocado thrips, persea mite along with other pests. We will need some startup money to cover the costs of native plants plus travel for Dr. Frankie and his assistant to be able to come down to monitor the project. They are ready and willing to come do this important study. We have applied for UC grants and will apply to CA Avocado Commission and CDFA Specialty Crops for money, but we will not see that money until summer 2014 at the earliest. We need your help. It would help to plant the natives before the winter rains. They need the rain to bloom; so the sooner you can help, the sooner we can plant. We are trying to cobble together donations of about $3,000. Thank you in advance. Any contributions are tax deductible and can be made to: UC Berkeley Foundation (with a notation at the bottom of the check: Gordon Frankie Bee Lab) and sent to Dept of Environmental Sciences, UC Berkeley, 130 Mulford Hall #3114, Berkeley, CA 94720.