Rachael Long, Yolo County farm advisor and director of the Yolo County Cooperative Extension program, has lined up a group of outstanding speakers at her Pollination Workshop on Friday, Oct. 11.
Open to the public (no registration required), the event will take place from 8:30 to noon in Norton Hall, 70 Cottonwood St., Woodland.
You'll hear how hedgerows enhance biodiversity and provide crop benefits in agricultural landscapes, how insecticides reduce honey bee visitation and pollen germination in hybrid onion seed production, and why multiple stresses are hard on honey bees. Assisting her in coordinating the workshop is Katharina Ullmann, graduate student in the Neal Williams lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Those are just a few of the topics.
8:30 to 8:35
Introductions and Updates
Rachael Long, Farm Advisor/County Director, UCCE Yolo County
8:35 to 8:55
"Hedgerows Enhance Biodiversity and Provide Crop Benefits in Agricultural Landscapes"
8:55 to 9:20
"Sustainable Pollination Strategies for Specialty Crops"
Neal Williams, associate professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
9:20 to 9:40
"Insecticides Reduce Honeybee Visitation and Pollen Germination in Hybrid Onion Seed Production"
Sandra Gillespie, postdoctoral researcher in Neal Williams lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
9:45 to 10:10
"Best Management Practices for Squash and Pumpkin Pollination"
Katharina Ullmann, graduate student in Neal Williams lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
10:10 to 10:20
10:20 to 10:45
"Native Bee Nesting in Agricultural Landscapes: Implications for Sunflower Pollination"
Hillary Sardinas, graduate student, UC Berkeley's Environmental Sciences and Policy Management
10:45 to 11:10
"Restoring Pollinator Communities and Services in California Central Valley"
Claire Kremen, professor, UC Berkeley's Environmental Sciences and Policy Management.
11:10 to 11:35
"Maintaining Honey Bee Hives for Hive Health"
Billy Synk, manager and staff research associate, Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis
11:35 to Noon
"Multiple Stresses are Hard on Honey Bees"
Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
For more information, contact Rachael Long at (530) 666-8734 or email@example.com.
Note that one of the speakers, Sandra Gillespie, will be presenting a UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology seminar next Wednesday, Oct. 16 on “Parasites and Pesticides: Indirect Effects on Pollination Service.” It will take place from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall. It will be videotaped for later viewing on UCTV.
What's better than a bee threading through a flowering artichoke? Two bees, a honey bee and a long-horned sunflower bee.
Flowering 'chokes are big draws for bees. Plant 'em, let 'em flower, and they will come. Sometimes in droves. Sometimes in diversity. Always amazing.
A male sunflower bee, Svastra obliqua expurgata, aka the long-horned sunflower bee, stopped foraging to look at us with his big green eyes.
An Italian honey bee, Apis mellifera, buzzing low and packing white pollen, ignored us.
From their missions they did not stray.
So you're poking around in your garden and you see a bee on a flowering artichoke that you've never seen foraging there before.
On sunflowers, yes. On artichokes, no.
A closer look--and huge green eyes stare back at you.
Definitely not a honey bee (Apis mellifera), although its size is comparable.
This one (below) was a male long-horned sunflower bee (Svastra obliqua expurgata) as identified by native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, and one of the instructors in The Bee Course, an annual workshop that takes place at the Southwestern Research Station, Portal, Ariz.
"Most males (Svastra obliqua expurgata) are more gray-eyed," he noted. "Maybe since your subject is so fresh, the eyes look more greenish."
This particular long-horned sunflower bee, tucked inside the flowering artichoke, wasn't moving. Next to it was a very dead honey bee with a hollowed-out abdomen. And next to the honey bee was a very much alive (and well-fed?) spider.
I gingerly positioned my green-eyed friend on a paper napkin for a quick catch-and-release photograph on the patio table. Indeed it was quick. A strong gust lifted both the napkin and the bee off the table. He buzzed away, the wind beneath his wings, as Bette Midler would say.
Spider didn't get him this time.
But when a native wild bee such as the Svastra obliqua expurgata, also called "the sunflower bee," forages on a Mexican hat flower, it adds a little gaiety to the scene.
Did we just hear the Jarabe Tapatío or Mexican Hat Dance?
The scarlet red petals of the Mexican hat flower (Ratibida columnifera), droop, leaving plenty of room for dancing on the cone.
This little bee (below) was foraging this week in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden near the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road at the University of California, Davis.
Svastra females have dense brushes of hairs on their hind legs and transport pollen dry in these brushes (scopae), says native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis. Honey bees carry pollen moist on concave hair-fringed pollen baskets (corbiculae).
If she were boarding an airline, she'd be charged double for baggage.
But she didn't and she wasn't.
She's a pollen-packed sunflower bee enjoying our sunflower. Not a honey bee but a sunflower bee. A native bee.
A Svastra obliqua expurgata (Cockerell), as UC Davis native pollinator researcher RobbinThorp said.
“ I have seen them nesting in gardens in Davis--including at one of the dorms on campus--and nesting in a dirt roadway on Joyce Island (Solano County),” said Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis. He's also seen the sunflower bees visiting native plants in a Sacramento cemetery.
“The males,” Thorp said, “spend much time cruising searching for females. The males have long antennae and thus are called ‘long-horn' bees. The males also have greenish eyes, and bright yellow markings on the lower face.”
Both males and females are larger than honey bees and fly more rapidly when foraging, Thorp said. “They are among the native bees that interact with honey bees on the male rows of hybrid sunflower fields, disturbing the honey bees and causing them to fly out of the male rows into the female rows, thus increasing the pollination efficiency of honey bees as shown in the research by Sarah Greenleaf and Claire Kremen.”
Kremen, an affiliate of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and a regular at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on the UC Davis campus, is a conservation biologist at UC Berkeley and the recipient of a MacArthur genius fellowship.
Thorp said Svastra females have dense brushes of hairs on their hind legs and transport pollen dry in these brushes (scopae). Honey bees carry pollen moist on concave hair-fringed pollen baskets (corbiculae).
I wonder what writer Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), known for such prose as “a rose is a rose is a rose” and “there is no there there,” would have said about bees.
Perhaps “a bee is a bee is a bee?”
Or “a sunflower is a sunflower is a sunflower?”
It isn't and it isn't.