The bee world exemplifies diversity and the UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Month, being celebrated throughout the month of February, wouldn't exemplify diversity without them.
One of the pre-recorded presentations just uploaded on the Biodiversity Museum site deals with bees in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's bee garden, the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.
The presentation, by bee garden manager Christine Casey, is an introduction to common bees found in urban gardens of Central California.
Many people are unaware that there are some 20,000 species of bees worldwide. Of that number, 4000 species are found in North America and 1600 species in California.
The late Robbin Thorp (1933-2019), UC Davis distinguished emeritus professor of entomology, was the go-to person to identify bees, and we all miss him. Thorp, a member of the UC Davis entomology faculty for 30 years, from 1964-1994, achieved emeritus status in 1994 but continued to engage in research, teaching and public service until a few weeks before his death at age 85. A tireless advocate of pollinator species protection and conservation, Thorp was known for his expertise, dedication and passion in protecting native pollinators, especially bumble bees, and for his teaching, research and public service. He was an authority on pollination ecology, ecology and systematics of honey bees, bumble bees, vernal pool bees, conservation of bees, native bees and crop pollination, and bees of urban gardens and agricultural landscapes.
In his retirement, Thorp co-authored two books Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide (Princeton University, 2014) and California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists (Heyday, 2014). Locally, he was active in research projects and open houses at the Bohart Museum of Entomology and the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. In his research, he monitored bees in the half-acre haven, establishing a baseline in 2008, a year before the garden was installed. He eventually detected more than 80 species of bees in the garden.
Casey's presentation, billed as "Bees 101," documents some of the bees found in the garden, with colorful photos by the talented Allan Jones of Davis. Access the presentation at https://youtu.be/5KLrTIclx2A. Casey also will be delivering a live talk, with questions and answers, from 12:15 to 12:45 on Tuesday, Feb. 23. Click here to obtain the Zoom link.
Other UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Month live talks and demonstrations will range from Asian giant hornets (1 to 2 p.m. Feb. 18 by Professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology) to ants (11 a.m., to noon, Feb. 20 by Professor Phil Ward) to a program on the Botanical Conservatory (1 to 2 p.m., Feb. 24 by collections manager Ernesto Sandoval). To obtain the Zoom links, click here. The Botanical Conservatory presentation will be in Spanish. Sandoval earlier presented the program in English.
Note: If you'd like to donate to the UC Davis Diversity Museum Program in its crowdfunding efforts--this year is the 10th annual--click here. To donate to the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, click here. To donate to the California Master Beekeeper Program, directed by Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, click here. Niño also serves as the director of the haven.
Let's put the "bee" in bee-cause.
Meanwhile, as anyone who's been around bees knows, bees are not only absolutely fascinating, but thoroughly riveting.
Think birds and bats, honey bees and hornets, butterflies and beetles, and the flowers they pollinate.
Think yeast cultures and cougars, and nematodes and nightingales, and lions and ladybugs.
Think bears and begonias, eels and egrets, and opossums and orangutans.
We're delighted to see the Crowdfund UC Davis hosting such programs as UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day (Month), the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven and the California Master Beekeeper Program to help them raise much needed funds.
Science matters. It always has. It always will. It amounts to who we were, who we are, and who we want to be in the world we want to live in.
The Crowdfund UC Davis project is described as "where alumni, students, parents and friends can make donations to support innovative projects that propel student engagement, new research discoveries, and efforts to expand UC Davis impact on California and the world."
These crowdfunding programs will continue through the month of February. Folks are asked to give a $5, $10, $20, or more.
Capsule information from the sites:
Project coordinators are Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology; Kyria Boundy-Mills, curator of the Phaff Yeast Culture Collectionand Rachel Alsheikh, a junior specialist and curatorial assistant at the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology
In its 10th year, UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day remains a free, annual, educational event for the community. Each year thousands of visitors stroll the campus on the Saturday of Presidents' Day weekend, visiting UC Davis' biological collections and meeting and talking with scientists. Participating collections include, but are not limited to
- Anthropology Museum
- Arboretum and Public Garden
- Bohart Museum of Entomology
- Botanical Conservatory
- California Raptor Center
- Center for Plant Diversity
- Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven
- Nematode Collection
- Marine Invertebrate Collection
- Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology
- Paleontology Collection
- Phaff Yeast Culture Collection
- Viticulture and Enology Collection (not participating this year but they have in the past)
This year, throughout the month of February, we will be offering a virtual “BioDivDay” with lectures, talks, and demos from experts, but we want our student interns to have the opportunity to take the lead on producing 15 cross-disciplinary videos and educational activities. These videos and activities will broaden our audience and will aim to reach underserved populations. Creating these resources and helping to plan for a future in-person event will solidify our students' science communication skills--skills that are crucial in this day and age. Your support will enable our diverse group of students to have a meaningful and lasting impact as science communicators for Biodiversity Museum Day.
Donations will not only help us sustain the free, in-person event, but it will also enable our student interns to take science outreach to a whole new level. Using their science communication skills, our interns will create 15 themed videos and associated educational activities related to Biodiversity Museum Day. The goal of these educational resources is to reach new audiences and to connect people from all walks of life to science and the biodiversity surrounding them.
To donate, click here:
Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, serves as the director of the Haven. Chris Casey manages the half-acre garden, located on Bee Biology Road next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. It is part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Like to eat? Thank a bee! These hard-working animals pollinate nearly 90 percent of all flowering plants, including the fruits, nuts, and vegetables that make our diets tasty and nutritious. Bees also pollinate the plants that create food and habitat for birds and most other wildlife. It's clear: healthy, abundant bee populations are vital.
But bees are in trouble and they need our help. California has about 1600 native bee species; along with the non-native honey bee all are pollinators. Bees need flowers, and the Haven is a source of information and inspiration about what and how to plant. From a single flowerpot to acres, we can all do something to help.
Our goal is $5000 to purchase plants, irrigation supplies, and tools for the Haven to continue our vital mission of inspiration and education about bees and the plants that support them.
To donate, click here:
Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology founded and directs the California Master Beekeeper Program. Wendy Mather serves as the program manager.
The California Master Beekeeper Program at UC Davis is raising funds for an online, accessible, 'Beekeeper's Apprentice' course that is educational, engaging and entertaining for all ages.
Learners will explore the intersection of honey bees, beekeepers, farmers, food diversity and security and become beginner beekeepers and honey bee ambassadors, equipped to explain the basics of beekeeping and honey bee biology, and to convey the devastating effects of pesticides, pests, pathogens, habitat destruction, and climate change on our beloved bees. The online course is a series of science-based modules in which you and your avatar, the Beekeepers' Apprentice explore and earn badges for the knowledge and skill you acquire about honey bee biology, beekeeping basics, equipment and PPE, public safety, and the future of farming and food security. You'll get a ‘bees-eye' view of what it's like to be a honey bee through video and audio from inside the hive, and examine the benefits and challenges faced by today's beekeepers and honey bees. This course will be accessible to learners across all demographics so kids and grownups can enjoy "pollinating" and sharing the science behind the relationship between honey bees and our fresh healthy food.
Your donation is a legacy to help ensure the health and longevity of our honey bees. Money raised for our "Beekeepers' Apprentice" course is an investment in science-based knowledge relative to our food security and the health of our environment now and for future generations - let's educate as many people as we can about the plight of our precious honey bees. Together we can bee the change!
Please support the California Master Beekeeper Program, where our current priority is an online, fully accessible, fun, science-based course to raise awareness of our dependence on honey bees for the many delicious and healthy foods we sometimes take for granted! Thank you for your support and consideration in bee-coming a honey bee ambassador and environmental steward!
To donate, click here:
Titled "Miss Bee Haven," it anchors the half-acre bee garden, which was installed in the fall of 2009 and named for its primary donor.
The sculpture is the work of self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick of Davis. She designed, fabricated and constructed Miss Bee Haven, using rebar, chicken wire, sand, cement, tile, bronze, steel, grout, fiberglass and handmade ceramic pieces. The project took her four months to complete.
Miss Bee Haven, appropriately placed beneath an almond tree in June, 2010, is no lightweight. Anchored with 200 pounds of cement and with six bronze legs drilled into the pedestal, this worker bee is destined to stay put—unlike the thousands of bees that forage from the hives at the nearby Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
Billick used lost wax bronze casting to craft the six legs, which extend from the thorax to rest on a ceramic “purple dome” aster, fabricated by Davis artist Sarah Rizzo. The purple dome aster is among the flowers in the garden.
She created the double set of translucent wings with three sheets of fiberglass. The result: wings that are fragile-looking and true to life, but strong.
During this entire process, I developed a real in-depth relationship with honey bees,” Billick told us back in 2010. For inspiration and detail, she visited the Laidlaw facility apiary, read about the functions of bees, and held the thoughts close. “It was not about expressing anything other than the beeness. I have a lot of respect for bees. It was fun and satisfying to do. I learned a ton.”
Billick toyed with a scientific career before opting for a career that fuses art with science. She received her bachelor of science degree in genetics in 1973 and her master's degree in fine arts in 1977, studying art with such masters as Bob Arneson, Roy De Forest, Wayne Thiebaud and Manuel Neri.
Billick traces her interest in an art career to the mid-1970s when then Gov. Jerry Brown supported the arts and offered the necessary resources to encourage the growth of art. He reorganized the California Arts Council, boosting its funding by 1300 percent.
The mid-1990s is when Billick and Ullman began teaching classes that fused art with science; those classes led to the formation of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion.
The garden, maintained and operated by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is directed by Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño and managed by Christine Casey. It is open to the public from dawn to dusk. Admission is free.
Meanwhile, "Miss Bee Haven" is likely the most photographed bee in the garden. Visitors pull out their cell phones to take a selfie. Children love to touch it and help the younger ones climb to the ledge. Bee scientists marvel at the anatomical accuracy, right down to pollen baskets and stinger.
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology operates and maintains the half-acre bee garden, located on Bee Biology Road next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, west of the central campus. It is open from dawn to dusk; admission is free.
The garden is directed by Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty, and managed by Christine Casey, academic program management officer.
While parents learned about bees and plants, youngsters engaged in a catch-a-bee-release-the-bee activity in the vegetation, using a bee vacuum. They scooped up the foragers, looked at them, and released them.
"Hey, I caught the queen bee," said one boy, unaware that the queen was in her hive, busily laying eggs. During the busy season, a queen bee can lay about 1000 eggs a day, and during the peak season, about 2000 eggs a day.
The garden, installed in the fall of 2009, was founded and "came to life" during the term of interim department chair, Professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, who coordinated the entire project.
A Sausalito team--landscape architects Donald Sibbett and Ann F. Baker, interpretative planner Jessica Brainard and exhibit designer Chika Kurotaki--won the design competition.
The half-acre bee garden is anchored by Miss Bee Haven, a six-foot long mosaic ceramic bee sculpture that is the work of self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick of Davis. She and entomologist/artist Diane Ullman co-founded and co-directed the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. The art in the garden is the work of their students, ranging from those in Entomology 1 class to community residents. Eagle Scout Derek Tully planned, organized and built a state-of-the-art fence around the garden.
The garden is named for the primary donor, the premium ice cream brand, Haagen-Dazs. Other major donors include the California State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (under the leadership of then State Regent Debra Jamison of Fresno). Names of many of the donors--those who gave $1000 or more--are inscribed beneath the Miss Bee Haven sculpture.
Missy Borel Gable, now director of the statewide UC California Master Gardeners' Program, served as the founding manager of the garden. Under her leadership and the work of the 19 founding volunteers, the bee garden was listed as one of the Sacramento Bee's top 10 garden destinations. The 19 volunteers chalked up 5,229 hours of service between May 2010 and Feb. 15, 2013, when they opted for other opportunities. At the $10 minimum wage, that would have amounted to $52,290.
Native bee specialist Robbin Thorp (1933-2019) distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, identified more than 80 bee species in the garden.
Today diversity continues. An addition to the garden since its installation is a live bee colony.
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's bee garden, the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven (named for its major donor), js celebrating its 10 anniversary, while the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden is sponsoring its first fall plant sale of the season at its teaching nursery.
The two sites are a short distance from one another: the bee garden is on Bee Biology Road, next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, west of the central campus, while the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery is on Garrod Drive, near the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven
The open house, set from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will include sales of plants and native bee condos, honey tasting (honey from Sola Bee Honey, Woodland), catch-and-release bee observation and identification, and beekeeping and research displays. Several mini lectures are planned.
Visitors will see an analemmatic sundial--the only one of its kind in the Sacramento area--and they can discuss the sundial with dial master and beekeeper Rick Williams, M.D. to learn how the dial was created and the links between human and bee perception of the sun, according to manager Chris Casey. Visitors also will learn about "our research on bee use of ornamental landscape plants," she said. In addition, visitors can "donate a book on insects, gardening, or nature for our Little Free Library," she announced.
- 10:30 a.m.: Donor and volunteer recognition
- 11 a.m.: Hive opening by beekeeper from the California Master Beekeepers' Association
- 11:30: Mini lecture, "Getting Started with Beekeeping"
- 12: Mini lecture, "Plants for Bees"
- 12:30: Mini lecture, "Using Solitary Bee Houses"
- 1 p.m.: Hive opening by beekeeper from the California Master Beekeepers' Association
UC Davis Arboretum Plant Sale
The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden plant sale is open to members only (but you can join at the gate) from 9 to 11 a.m., and to the public from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The organizers promise that the one-acre nursery will offer "an incredible selection of Arboretum All-Stars, California natives, and thousands of other attractive, low-water plants perfect for making your landscape come alive with environmentally important pollinators."
What plants are available for purchase? You can download the inventory here. Cash, checks and credit cards are accepted. In addition to plants, you can buy native wildflower seeds. They will include small flowered fiddleneck (Amsinckia menziesii); Elegant clarkia (Clarkia unguiculate); Fort Miller clarkia (Clarkia williamsonii); Yellow ray goldfields (Lasthenia glabrata); Golden lupine (Lupinus microcarpus var. densiflorus); Sky lupine (Lupinus nanus); Lacy phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia); Vinegarweed (Trichostema lanceolatum); and Tomcat clover (Trifolium willdenovii). The packets are $3 (cash only).
The packets contain native wildflower seeds recommended by pollination ecologist Neal Williams, professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and his lab. Their published research indicates that these are among the best annual and perennial plants for supporting pollinators--without enhancing potential pests.
More UC Davis Arboretum plant sales are scheduled Oct. 12 and Nov. 2.