The link: https://youtube.com/@artofthebee
Just call it "the fascinating world of bees!"
The content is from his book, The Art of the Bee: Shaping the Environment from Landscapes to Societies, (Oxford University Press, 2020).
"The impact of bees on our planet is immeasurable," he says. "Bees are responsible for the evolution of the vast array of brightly-coloured flowers and for engineering the niches of multitudes of plants, animals, and microbes. They've painted our landscapes with flowers through their pollination activities and have evolved the most complex societies to build and exploit the environment. The biology of the honey bee is one that reflects their role in transforming environments with their anatomical adaptations and a complex language that together function to harvest floral resources. A social system that includes a division of labor builds, defends, and provisions nests containing tens of thousands of individuals, only one of whom reproduces."
"This YouTube channel series presents fundamental biology, not in organizational layers, but wrapped around interesting themes and concepts, and in ways designed to explore and understand each concept," explained Page, who retired in 2019. "It examines the co-evolution of bees and flowering plants, bees as engineers of the environment, the evolution of sociality, the honey bee as a superorganism and how it evolves, and the mating behavior of the queen."
The content is divided into six segments:
Episode 1: “Darwin's Abominable Mystery”
Episode 2: “Floral Adaptations”
Episode 3: “Adaptations of Bees”
Episode 4: “Dance Language”
Episode 5: “Navigation”
Episode 6: “Time Scales of Change”
Episode 1: “Environmental Engineering”
Episode 2: “Niche Construction”
Episode 3: “Nest Defense in Niche Construction”
The Social Contract:
Episode 1: “Political Philosophy of Bees Social Contract”
Episode 2: “Complex Social Structures”
Episode 3: “Power and Will of Social Insects”
Episode 4: “Evolution of Altruism in Bees”
Episode 5: “Public Health and Bees”
Episode 6: “Honey Bee Public Works, Welfare Immigration”
Episode 1: “What Is a Superorganism?”
Episode 2: “Reproduction, Protection and Nutrition”
Episode 3: “Biogenic Law and Baers Law”
Episode 4: “Germ Plasm Theory”
Episode 5: “A Metaphor or an Entity”
How to Make a Superorganism:
Episode 1: “The Spirit of the Hive”
Episode 2: “Division of Labor”
Episode 3: “Colony Level Selection”
Episode 4: “Phenotypic Architecture”
Episode 5: “Phenotypic and Genetic Architectures”
Episode 6: “Bee Development”
Song of the Queen:
Episode 1: “Natural History and Castes”
Episode 2: “The Song Begins: Making a New Queen”
Episode 3: “Conditions that Stimulate Queen Rearing”
Episode 4: “Where Do Queens Mate?”
Episode 5: “How Do Queens Mate? How Many Times?”
Episode 6: “Polyandry and Sperm Use”
Page joined Arizona State University in 2004, after retiring as Professor Emeritus and Chair Emeritus, UC Davis Department of Entomology, to be founding director of the School of Life Sciences. He served as provost of Arizona State University (2013- 2015) and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (2011-2013). His research on honey bee behavior and genetics appears in his publications Queen Rearing and Bee Breeding (1997, with Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. , his major professor at UC Davis and "the father of honey bee genetics"); The Spirit of the Hive, Harvard University Press (2013); and The Art of the Bee, Oxford University Press (2020). His 230-plus research papers have been cited more than 20,000 times.
Much of his research occurred at UC Davis. For 24 years, from 1989 to 2015, Page maintained a honey bee-breeding program, managed by bee breeder-geneticist Kim Fondrk. Their contributions include discovering a link between social behavior and maternal traits in bees. Their work was featured in a cover story in the journal Nature. In all, Nature featured his work on four covers from work mostly done at UC Davis.
Page's UC Davis honors include:
- Thomas and Nina Leigh Distinguished Alumni Award (2018) from UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
- UC Davis Distinguished Emeritus Professor (2019), one awarded annually, UC Davis Emeriti Association
- Exceptional Emeriti Faculty Award (2022), UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
He most recently won the 2023 C. W. Woodworth Award, the highest honor that the Pacific Branch of ESA offers. “Dr. Page is a pioneering researcher in the field of evolutionary genetics and social behavior of honey bees, and a highly respected and quoted author, teacher and former administrator,” wrote nominator Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. Page is the 12th UC Davis recipient of the award, first presented in 1969. Laidlaw won the award in 1981. (See news story)
The annual California Honey Festival, free and open to the public, will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 6 in downtown Woodland. It's about celebrating the importance of bees; the festival's mission is "to promote honey and honey bees and their products." Last year's event drew some 40,000 people.
Honey bees pollinate more than 30 California crops, including almonds, a $5 billion industry (no bees, no pollination, no almonds). Indeed, California produces more than a third of our country's vegetables and three-quarters of our fruits and nuts. However, colony losses are alarming due to pesticides, pests, predators and pathogens.
The event, launched in 2017, is both educational and entertaining. You can taste honey, check out bee observation hives, watch cooking demonstrations and kids' shows, taste mead and other alcoholic drinks (if you're of age) and learn about bees from beekeepers and bee scientists. Vendors, offering various products and food, will line the streets.
Co-founder of the California Honey Festival, with the city of Woodland, is Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, Robert Mondavi Institute. At her annual booth, she explains what the honey flavor wheel is and invites the crowd to sample honey varietals.
An integral part of the festival is the UC Davis-based California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP), founded and directed by Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department Entomology and Nematology faculty. Since 2016, the CAMBP team has provided a program of learning, teaching, research, and public service, delivering comprehensive, science-based information about honey bees and honey bee health. They've donated donated 32,000 hours of volunteer time and served 186,630 individuals in education, outreach and beekeeping mentorship since 2016. Read more about their classes and their work on their website.
Here's a photographic glimpse of previous California Honey Festivals:
Nothing is better than this!
Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollinator Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute, is actually the "queen bee" of this organization but she's also a worker bee. She's scheduled two mead workshops in February, and a series of three honey exploration classes--exploring honey in California, United States and the world--in February, March and April.
2023 Mead Making Bootcamp/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
The Paleolithic rock art depicts a person smoking a beehive. Also quite visible: the honeycomb and the bees. "The keeping of bees" dates back to 10,000 years ago when humans began maintaining colonies of wild bees in such artificial hives as hollow logs, wooden boxes, pottery vessels, or woven straw baskets (skeps), according to Wikipedia.
Mussen never talked much about the rock art or where he got it, but a quick TinEye reverse image search indicates the original apparently belongs to the International Bee Research Association (IBRA), which "promotes the value of bees by providing information on bee science and beekeeping worldwide."
The same image of the rock art appears in Eva Crane's book, "The Rock Art of Honey Hunters," published by IBRA in 2011. Then behavioral ecologist and nutrititional anthroplogist Alyssa Crittenden of the University of Nevada published "The Importance of Honey Consumption in Human Evolution" in December 2011 in the journal Food and Foodways, and used the same image (see ResearchGate).
The Crittenden abstract: "It has been suggested that honey may have been an important food source for early members of the genus Homo, yet the importance of meat and savanna plant foods continue to be stressed as the most relevant foods in dietary reconstructions. Here, the importance of honey and bee larvae in hominin diets is explored. Ethnographic reports, examples of Paleolithic rock art, and evidence from non-human primates are used to show that early hominins likely targeted beehives using the Oldowan tool kit. The consumption of honey and bee larvae likely provided significant amounts of energy, supplementing meat and plant foods. The ability to find and exploit beehives using stone tools may have been an innovation that allowed early Homo to nutritionally out-compete other species and may have provided critical energy to fuel the enlarging hominin brain."
The Smithsonian magazine's piece on "Humans, the Honey Hunters: Energy-Rich Honey May Have Helped Hominids Evolve Big Brains," published Dec. 19, 2011, also includes the illustration. Author Erin Wayman wrote that Crittenden considers honey a super food. "It's very energy dense, about 80 to 95 percent sugar, and it's a good source of the glucose needed to nurture brain development," Wayman wrote. "Wild honey also contains traces of bee larvae, adding fat, protein, vitamins and minerals. And on top of that, it's easy to digest. The nutritional benefits of honey are clear, but there is no concrete evidence in the fossil record of hominids eating honey; honey consumption doesn't leave behind the kind of scraps that can fossilize the way that hunting and butchering does. So Crittenden relies on some indirect clues to bolster her argument." (See more here.)
Eric considered "starthistle honey" his favorite honey varietal. If he were still with us, he'd be attending The HIVE's big anniversary party on Saturday, Nov. 12. It will take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 1221 Harter Ave., Woodland.
HIVE Public Celebration. "We're celebrating 43 years in business as Z Specialty Food and the completion of our first year in our new home, The HIVE," Amina Harris, the Queen Bee of Z Specialty Food, wrote us in a Nov. 1 email. "This celebratory event includes a full schedule of interactive activities. Guests will learn how to taste honey and mead (honey wine), participate in tours of our production facility and pollinator gardens and relax in the courtyard while listening to live music from Royal Jelly Jive, The Gold Souls and Nathan Ignacio. For more information, visit our website: here."
Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, worked closely with Mussen. She wrote this about him in her tribute: "When I first came to California in the early 1980s, I was working with my husband establishing and growing a varietal honey company. One of the first people I met at UC Davis was Eric Mussen, the state apiculturist. Eric was someone who had a lot of answers to a lot of questions! Ever the educator, Eric was well versed in all of the issues of the bee world and readily shared his knowledge with any and everyone who asked. His answers were always down to earth and understandable, with his wry Midwestern sense of humor running underneath. You'd ask a question – and you always got an answer!"
Amina's husband, Ishai Zeldner, who died in 2018 at age 71, founded Z Specialty Food. Like Amina, Ishai was close friends with Eric Mussen.
And just like Eric, Ishai favored the honey varietal, starthistle./span>
Never be late for dinner or it might be all gone.
Take the case of the Mexican sunflowers, Tithonia rotundifola, that we planted last April for the monarchs. Monarchs seem to favor Tithonia more than any other nectar source in our pollinator garden. Second choice: the butterfly bush, Buddleia davidii.
May, June, July, and August came and went. The invited (and expected) guests were a "no show." Didn't they make reservations? Or did they forget?
The Tithonia drew honey bees, long-horned bees, syrphid flies, a praying mantis, and assorted butterflies. No monarchs.
In September, entomologist David James of Washington State University, who studies migratory monarchs, announced the monarchs are on their way from the Pacific Northwest to their overwintering sites along coastal California. "They're coming," he said.
Finally, on Sept. 16, a single monarch glided in, sipped some nectar on the Buddleia for a few seconds and left. Another monarch stopped by on Sept. 26, nectared on the Tithonia for a couple of seconds and vanished.
Where are all the dinner guests?
Finally, at 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 3, a male monarch arrived for dinner. And what a 12-course dinner it was on the Tithonia's remaining 12 flowers. He paused once to sample nectar from the Buddleia, but he obviously preferred the Tithonia.
Frankly, it's not been a good year for monarchs in our pollinator garden. Monarchs totally ignored the milkweed, their host plant, and almost disregarded the nectar sources. In comparison, back in 2016, monarchs laid about 300 eggs on our milkweed. In the migratory season, it was not uncommon to see seven monarchs in our garden at one time.
If any more monarchs arrive, they'll not get much Tithonia or Buddleia to fuel their flight to the overwintering sites. They'll have to settle for what's left of the nectar sources: African blue basil, catmint, lion's tail, Mexican petunia, and honeysuckle.
We're just glad one dinner guest showed up, although he was almost too late for dinner.