The competition is open to all graduate students throughout the country involved in pollinator research, Luu says. Judging criteria? Objectives, methodology, results, research significance, conclusions, appearance, and presentation and interaction with the judges. The winner receives $1000, while the second-place award is $750; third place, $500; and fourth place, $250.
The poster competition is a traditional part of the daylong symposium, hosted by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. Keynote speaker is bee scientist/professor/author Tom Seeley of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., who will discuss "Darwinian Beekeeping." Seeley is the Horace White Professor in Biology, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, where he teaches courses on animal behavior and researches the behavior and social life of honey bees. He is the author of three major books, Honeybee Ecology: A Study of Adaptation in Social Life(1985), The Wisdom of the Hive: the Social Physiology of Honey Bee Colonies (1995), and Honeybee Democracy(2010), all published by Princeton University Press. His books will be available for purchase and signing at the symposium.
The 2017 poster competition drew 14 posters throughout the country. Phillipp Brand, a graduate student in the Santiago Ramirez lab, UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology, and a member of the Population Biology Graduate Group, won the competition for his research on "The Evolution of Sex Pheromone Communication in a Pair of Sibling Species of Orchid Bees." He received $1000.
Brand, who joined the Ramirez lab in 2013, obtained his bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Dusseldorf, Germany, and then went on to pursue his master's degree there, studying the evolutionary history and the patterns of selection of olfactory receptor genes in a pair of sister lineages of euglossine bees.
"Pheromone communication has long been known to play a central role in the origin and evolution of species diversity throughout the tree of life," he wrote in the introduction on his poster. "What are the underlying genetic and molecular mechanisms that control pheromone variation and signal detection?"
Other 2017 winners were:
- Second place, $750; Jacob Peters, Harvard University, “Self-Organization of Collective Nest Ventilation by Honey Bees”
- Third place, $500; John Mola, UC Davis, “Fire-Induced Change in Flowering Phenology Benefits Bumble Bees"
- Fourth place, $250; Devon Picklum, University of Nevada, Reno, “Floral Visitation and pollen Deposition Bombus- Pollinated Dodecatheon Apinum and Pedicularis Groenlandica in the Sierra Nevada”
The fourth annual UC Davis Bee Symposium: Keeping Bees Healthy is designed for beekeepers of all experience levels, including gardeners, farmers and anyone interested in the world of pollination and bees," said Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center. "In addition to our speakers, there will be lobby displays featuring , the latest in beekeeping equipment, books, honey, plants, and much more." Registration is underway.
The conference begins with registration and a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m., with welcomes and introductions at 9 a.m., by Amina Harris and Neal Williams, UC Davis professor of entomology and faculty co-director of the center. See more at http://honey.ucdavis.edu/events/2018-bee-symposium./span>
Mead or honey wine is the "in" thing, and the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, directed by Amina Harris, has announced plans for three mead classes for January-February and a feast on Feb. 9 that celebrates mead and honey.
"More and more people are becoming familiar with mead right now," Harris said. "Meaderies are opening at the rate of one every three days here in the United States. And there are quite a few new ones right here in California!" In the classes, you'll learn how to make a good mead and what makes a good mead, she said.
- Thursday, Jan. 11: Mead-Making Bootcamp
- Friday and Saturday, Jan. 12-13: Beginners' Introduction to Mead Making
- Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9-10: The Styles and Nuances of Mead Making
- Friday, Feb. 9: The Feast: A Celebration of Mead and Honey
The Mead-Making Bootcamp, set from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11 in the LEED Platinum Teacher and Research Winery, will be directed by Chik Brennerman, winemaker for the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology, along with assistant winemaker Melissa Pellinii. The hands-on class is limited to 40. The class will feature small learning groups, each with its own UC Davis leader. Each group of 10 will follow a basic mead recipe, completing each step. Finally, students will bottle mead made in previous workshops. The agenda includes a welcome and introductions by Harris; a lecture by Brenneman and Pellini on "What Is Mead? A Recipe for Sweet Success?" Continental breakfast and lunch are included. The cost is $200. Registration is underway here.
The Styles and Nuances of Meadmaking is a two-day course on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9-10 in the Robert Mondavi Institute Sensory Building, featuring keynote speaker Chrissie Zaerpoor of the Williamette Valley of the Pacific Northwest. She is a meadmaker, organic farmer and author of "The Art of Mead Tasting and Food Pairing." The book is billed as "the world's first complete mead appreciation book, with pairing suggestions for all types of mead and food, including Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian. Zaerpoor offers some 50 recipes in her book. In addition to keynoting the event, she will be help develop each of the tastings that will take place over the two days. Registration is underway here. The "early bee" special is $775, and after Jan. 7, it's $825. A centerpiece of the program will be the Center's annual Feast: A Celebration of Mead and Honey on Friday evening.
Feast: A Celebration of Mead and Honey: This is the fifth annual celebration and will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9 at the the Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. A pollinator-inspired menu will be paired with a selection of meads, including a variety of UC Davis products and campus-grown produce. The menu will feature mead pairings by meadmaker Chrissie Manion Zaerpoor. This is billed as an elegant fundraiser to help support the Center's mission of making UC Davis the world's leading authority on bee health, pollination and honey quality. The cost is $150. Registration is underway here.
The Honey and Pollination Center, launched in 2011 and affiliated with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is located in the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science on Old Davis Road, UC Davis campus. Professor Neal Williams of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology serves as the faculty co-chair. Among the many affiliated with the center are department faculty Elina Lastro Niño, Extension apiculturist, and Eric Mussen, Extension apiculturist emeritus.
The center, Harris says, aims to increase consumer, industry and stakeholder understanding of the importance of bees, pollination, honey and other products of the hive to people and the environment through research, education, and outreach. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Set a plate for one and you might get three more diners.
Such was the case recently in a Sonoma garden when a patch Iceland poppy (Papaver nudicaule) drew a posse of hungry honey bees, all elbowing up to the plate.
Iceland poppy is irresistible.
Ironically, you won't find Iceland poppy in Iceland. It's native to the subpolar regions of Europe, Asia and North America and the mountains of Central Asia, according to Wikipedia. Cultivars include yellow, orange, salmon, rose, red, pink cream and white as well as bi-colored varieties.
These honey bees (below, photographed on Nov. 12) seemed to prefer red!
Meanwhile, mark your calendar!
Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center has scheduled the fourth annual UC Davis Bee Symposium for Saturday, March 3 in the UC Davis Conference Center. Keynote speaker is noted bee scientist Tom Seeley, Horace White Professor in Biology, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University. He's the author of Honey Bee Ecology, Honey Bee Democracy, The Wisdom of the Hive and Following the Wild Bees. The symposium is sponsored by the Honey and Pollination Center and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Harris has also announced that the second annual California Honey Festival is Saturday, May 5. The venue is the same: Main Street in Woodland. Last year some 20,000 people attended the festival--deemed a veritable bee hive of activity--and even more are expected this year. UC Davis will again be well represented.
More information to come!
She's right. Just as birds maintain a "home tweet home," honey bees and honey connoisseurs insist on a "home sweet home."
But how much do we know about honey? We know that European colonists brought the honey bee to Jamestown in 1622 and we know that a San Jose beekeeper brought the honey bee to California in 1853.
Harris, quoting from the National Honey Board, defined honey as "the substance made when the nectar and sweet deposits from plants are gathered, modified and stored in the honeycomb by honey bees."
She went on to say that:
- A honey bee gathers nectar from an assortment of flowers. Nectar is very high moisture--about 80 percent water.
- The worker (bee) drinks the nectar through her proboscis, eventually filling up her crop or honey sac.
- Once the sac is full, she will return to the hive. While in flight, the nectar is mixed with the enzyme invertase.
- Upon her return, the forager gives her nectar to the house bee.
- The bee actively engaged in processing nectar pumps out the contents of her honey sac into a flat drop on the underside of her proboscis. She draws it up and repeats the process for about 15 to 20 minutes.
The Honey and Pollination Center is hosting a Honey Sensory Experience Friday and Saturday, Nov. 10-11 at UC Davis so you can learn all about honey, taste honey varietals from all over the world, and hear what researchers are doing.
The all-day course, to take place in the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science's Sensory Building on Old Davis Road, is for beekeepers, bakers, mead makers, honey lovers, packers, importers, professional buyers, honey producers, and "anyone who wants to gain expertise in the aroma of honey analysis," said Harris. "Over two days, expert teachers will guide participants through a unique tasting and educational odyssey."
For the past nine months, the center has been working with a team of sensory experts and trained tasters in the sensory lab in the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology. The panel analyzed the flavor, aroma, color, pollen and nutrition of three varietal honeys with samples produced across the nation. The center's goal is to create a description of each varietal honey's unique characteristics.
“We have about 300 varietal honeys here in the United States,” Harris pointed out. “Many aren't produced each year. And some years actually have a better crop than others. Our center's goal is to help consumers understand what each varietal honey should really taste like.”
Well-known varietals include orange blossom and clover honeys, although these are rarely pure varietals, Harris said.
“According to current honey labeling laws, the varietal listed on the label need only be the predominant floral source. Simply, a blended honey of 23 percent alfalfa, 25 percent wildflower and 25 percent cotton with 27 percent orange blossom can be labeled ‘Orange Blossom Honey.' Swap out the orange blossom for clover and you have a new varietal.”
The Honey and Pollination Center, at the forefront of honey sensory research, developed the first-ever Honey Flavor and Aroma Wheel. The wheel has been featured on National Public Radio, at the Smithsonian, and at tastings and specialty food conferences across the country.
In addition to Harris, the presenters will include Orietta Gianjorio, member of the Italian Register of Experts in the Sensory Analysis of Honey; Hanne Sivertsen, sensory researcher, UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology; Amy Myrdal Miller, certified nutritionist and owner of Farmer's Daughter Consulting, Sacramento; Joyce Schlacter, certified quality control specialist and director of food safety and quality, Smitty Honey, Iowa; chef Mani Niall, owner of Sweet Bar Bakery, Oakland, Calif. and Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, based in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Niall, known as “Baker to the Stars,” served as a chef to Michael Jackson and a chef for the National Honey Board in the 1990s. He is the author of the book, Covered in Honey: The Amazing Flavors of Varietal Honey.
Miller, a UC Davis graduate, is an “amazing nutritionist,” Harris said. She is a farmer's daughter, a highly regarded public speaker, published author, and founder and president of Farmer's Daughter Consulting, a privately-held agriculture, food, and culinary communications firm.
The course, which includes breakfast and lunch each day, is $625. To access the agenda and to register, see http://honey.ucdavis.edu/events/honey-sensory-experience-an-introduction.
Imagine watching your honey bees gathering nectar from star thistle--which some beekeepers claim makes the best honey. (Yes, Centaurea solstitialis is an invasive weed. The love-hate relationship runs deep; farmers and environmentalists hate it; beekeepers love it.)
Then imagine you picking up one of the top prizes in the country for having the best honeycomb--made from star thistle honey.
That's what happened when Miss Bee Haven Honey of Brentwood, Calif., entered its honey in the national Good Foods Awards competition and won one of the top 2017 awards. Their bees, based in numerous locations, primarily forage in the San Francisco Bay Area and along the Delta.
Fast forward to today. There's still time to fill out the forms to enter your honey in the next Good Foods Awards competition; the deadline is Monday, July 31. Only the form--not the honey--is due July 31. The honey can be the August harvest, as the judging won't take place until Sept. 17 in San Francisco, said Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, who coordinates the contest. She announced that awards will be given in four subcategories: Liquid and Naturally Crystallized, Creamed, Comb, and Infused Honey.
Dates to keep in mind, in addition to the July 31 entry deadline (see entry information and the full criteria for honey) are Sept. 17 when the blind tasting takes place in San Francisco (entrants will be asked to ship their product a week in advance; and October 2017 (high scoring products undergo sustainability vetting) and November 2017 (when finalists are announced).
Harris says there are more than 300 unique types of honey in the United States. "The Good Food Awards," she said, "will showcase honeys most distinctive in clarity and depth of flavor, produced by beekeepers practicing good animal husbandry and social responsibility."
Harris and master beekeeper/journalist Mea McNeil of San Anselmo are coordinating the honey committee, which also includes
- Emily Brown, Owner, AZ Queen Bee
- Mark Carlson, Beekeeping instructor and entomologist, Round Rock Honey Beekeeping School
- Kim Flottum, editor, Bee Culture Magazine
- Marina Marchese, Founder, The American Honey Tasting Society and co-author The Honey Connoisseur
- Terry Oxford, Owner, UrbanBee San Francisco
The 2017 winners who took home the bragging rights:
- Bee Girl, Bee Girl Honey, Oregon
- Bee Local, Bee Local Sauvie Honey, Oregon
- Bee Squared Apiaries, Rose Honey, Colorado
- Bees' Needs, Fabulous Fall, New York
- Bloom Honey Orange Blossom, California
- Gold Star Honeybees, Gold Star Honey, Maine
- Hani Honey Company, Raw Creamed Wildflower Honey, Florida
- Mikolich Family Honey, Sage and Wild Buckwheat, California
- MtnHoney, Comb Honey Chunk, Georgia
- Posto Bello Apiaries, Honey, Maine
- Sequim Bee Farm, Honey, Washington
- Simmons Family Honey, Saw Palmetto Honey, Georgia
- Two Million Blooms, Raw Honey, Illinois
- UrbanBeeSF, Tree Blossom Honey Quince and Tree Blossom Honey, Napa, California
The Honey and Pollination Center is affiliated with the UC Davis Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. For more information contact Amina Harris at (530) 754-9301 or email@example.com.