And if you're part of the UC Davis-based California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP), it takes a lot of worker bees from all facets to succeed.
We congratulate CAMBP for its well-deserved recognition at the recent UC Davis Staff Assembly's Citation of Excellence ceremony.
CAMBP director and founder Elina Lastro Niño, associate professor of Cooperative Extension and a member of UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty, and co-program manager Wendy Mather won a Faculty-Staff Partnership Award.
Niño, UC Extension apiculturist since 2014, founded CAMBP in 2016. Mather joined the program in March of 2018. Also integral to the program is Kian Nikzad, but as a newer employee, was ineligible to be nominated.
The awards ceremony, held Sept. 12 in the International Center on campus, singled out “some of our most exceptional UC Davis individuals and teams,” Chancellor May said in his presentation.
Nominators of "The Bee Team" (Kathy Keatley Garvey, Nora Orozco and Tabatha Yang of Department of Entomology and Nematology) lauded Niño and Mather for providing a “program of learning, teaching, research, and public service, goes above and beyond in delivering comprehensive, science-based information about honey bees and honey bee health. They continually and consistently develop, improve, and refine their statewide curriculum that educates stewards in a train-the-trainer program to disseminate accurate, timely, and crucial information. 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.”
As of Sept. 15, 2023, CAMBP has donated 34,000 hours of volunteer time and served 209,000 individuals in education, outreach and beekeeping mentorship. If a volunteer hour were to be calculated at $26.87, CAMBP has given $913,580 back to California in service of science-based beekeeping and honey bee health.
Its website, accessible to the public, offers a list of classes and knowledge-based information, including backyard beekeeping, bees in the neighborhood, bees and beekeeping regulations, defensive bees, live honey bee removals, and protecting pollinators.
“Bottom line,” the nominators concluded, “our ‘B' Team is really an ‘A' Team, an outstanding example of UC Davis teaching, research and service; a team providing exemplary service and contributions; and a team that creates and maintains high morale and embodies the Principles of Community.”
Joint Statement. In a joint statement following the awards ceremony, Mather and Nikzad said: “We share this award with our passionate and caring member volunteers. Our members are deeply committed to honey bee health, science-based beekeeping practices, and, most importantly, to each other. Their enthusiasm and dedication drive our mission forward. We wish to acknowledge Elina Niño for her visionary leadership; she has brought together various stakeholders, including growers, bee breeders, commercial, sideline, and hobbyist beekeepers, as well as the general public, through CAMBP, UC Davis, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) and UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE). We missed having her at the ceremony.”
Well deserved! A tip of the bee veil to CAMBP! You're smokin'
(See full-length news story and more images on the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology website)
But it's not going to happen.
So here we are in our Vacaville pollinator garden, looking at the Chinese forget-me-nots. We see honey bees, leafcutter bees, syrphid flies, lady beetles, cabbage white butterflies, and other critters foraging. It's National Pollinator Week.
And then we see a pinkish caterpillar munching away on one of the sky-blue blossoms. He's a very hungry caterpillar. Did we say "hungry?" He's ravenous. Absolutely ravenous!
It's a tobacco budworm, Heliothis virescens, as identified by UC Davis distinguished professor Art Shapiro, an expert on Lepidopterans who has monitored butterfly populations in central California since 1972--and also studies moths. (See his butterfly website.)
In its adult stage, the tobacco budworm will become a moth. (If we let it!)
In its larval stage, it can vary in color from pale green to pink to dark red to maroon, according to a University of Florida entomological fact sheet.
"Tobacco budworm is principally a field crop pest, attacking such crops as alfalfa, clover, cotton, flax, soybean, and tobacco," the University of Florida entomologists related. "However, it sometimes attacks such vegetables as cabbage, cantaloupe, lettuce, pea, pepper, pigeon pea, squash, and tomato, especially when cotton or other favored crops are abundant. Tobacco budworm is a common pest of geranium and other flower crops such as ageratum, bird of paradise, chrysanthemum, gardenia, geranium, petunia, mallow, marigold, petunia, snapdragon, strawflower, verbena, and zinnia."
Naturalist-photographer Greg Kareofelas, a Bohart Museum of Entomology associate, remembers rearing one that he plucked from his geraniums a few years ago. We are not going to rear this one. Tobacco budworms are not our buddies.
This afternoon honey bees tried to push the pest away. They did not succeed.
Tomorrow the California scrub jays nesting and chirping in the cherry laurels probably will!
But a truck driver who deliberately plows through a bee yard on private property and crushes 40 colonies?
But that's what happened last week to bee scientist Caroline Yelle, owner of Pope Canyon Queens, LLC, Winters. Under cover of darkness, a truck driver drove over and destroyed her bee hives, located in a remote rural orchard outside the community.
To try to recoup her loss, her friends urged her to post a Go Fund Me page. It's now online at https://gofund.me/d3422c15 with a goal of $3000.
Yelle is one of the nation's few women-owned queen bee breeder businesses; she established the business in 2013 at age 25. A native of Canada, she mainly breeds Carniolans, Apis mellifera carnica, a subspecies of the western honey bee and "a hybrid that we selected in Canada and we reproduce here in California for stronger genes." She keeps bees in Winters, Vacaville and Napa.
Her mission, as posted on her Pope Canyon Queens website "is to improve the genetic quality of queen bees available to commercial breeders in North America by combining exceptional knowledge and expertise with robust genetics. Our breeding program is pioneering bee genetics through specialized selection, genetic diversification and high quality nutrition. Our process ensures that queens produced through our breeding program breed offspring which are better able to defend themselves against the many killers of today's bee population; mites, viruses, bacteria, pesticides, commercial beekeeping stresses, pollution, depleting floral diversity, and our world's ever-changing ecosystems. The decline in the world's bee population is unprecedented, making our work urgently necessary. We are rising to the challenge and breeding a better tomorrow."
“I have dedicated my life since I'm 16 years old to beekeeping and helping the community by choosing every day to help save our pollinators,” Yelle wrote on the Go Fund Me page.
The truck driver deliberately killed thousands of her bees “just for the sake of it, on private property." She scooped up dead bees, broken boxes, empty cans of beer, hard liquor and energy drinks, and other trash the vandals left behind.
The donations won't replace the bees that died that day, but “your contributions could help us to replace the boxes and set us up to replace the colonies,” she noted. If donations exceed the $3000 goal, Pope Valley Queens "will be putting all your donations toward our queen breeding program to help us developing more tools and resources for the bees.”
The deliberate destruction of someone's livelihood drew irate comments, and rightfully so, on the Facebook page, Winters Community Info and Tips. Some addressed the importance of bees. Wrote one person: "I think our community knows very well how important bees are and I'm so sorry to hear what happened to yours. I hope police will find the culprits and you will at least be reimbursed for your losses. In this case we all lose!"
This is not Caroline Yelle's first major bee loss. On Aug. 19, 2020, Yelle, then 28, lost 500 hives when the lightning-sparked Hennessey Fire swept through rural Vacaville, destroying the home she lived in on Quail Valley Road, Vacaville, as well as most of her business.
Yelle is a close associate of bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey of Washington State University, former manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis; and bee breeder-geneticist Kim Fondrk, retired from the Laidlaw facility, UC Davis.
Yelle and Cobey talk about bees on Civil Eats: https://civileats.com/2022/04/20/civil-eats-tv-let-them-bee/
She'll present a Department of Entomology and Nematology Seminar on "Friends with Benefits: Protective Microbial Symbiosis in the Honey Bee" at 4:10 p.m., Wednesday, May 10 in 122 Briggs Hall. Her lecture also will be virtual. The Zoom link:
"The most important agricultural insect, the honey bee, houses multiple bacterial symbionts that provide distinct benefits under environmental stress," Newton says in her abstract. "Our lab has been at the forefront of identification and characterization of the honey bee microbiome, using a polyphasic approach combining in vivo, in vitro, microbiological, and 'omics assays. I will present our most recent results on the microbe Bombella apis - who it is, what it's doing in association with the bee, and its evolution in symbiosis."
A pre-seminar coffee will take place from 3:30 to 4:10 p.m. in 158 Briggs.
Irene, a first-generation, Latina scientist, received her doctorate from Harvard University in 2008 and served as a postdoctoral fellow at Tufts University from 2008 to 2010. She grew up in south Florida, the daughter of immigrant parents from Cuba and the Dominican Republic. She began her research experience as an undergraduate student at Swarthmore College under Rachel Merz.
She continued her training as a Howard Hughes predoctoral fellow with Colleen Cavanaugh at Harvard University, where she completed her dissertation, focused on functional genomics in deep sea hydrothermal vent symbionts. She joined the faculty of Indiana University in 2011.
"The Newton Laboratory is broadly interested in host-associated microbes," she writes on her website. "We study who those microbes are, what those microbes are doing, how they persist and infect and what the consequences are to their genomic evolution. Projects in the laboratory range from highly mechanistic and cell biological to ecological and bioinformatic."
For her work with IU students, she won the Outstanding Mentor Award (2022) and the Trustees Teaching Award (2017). Her other honors include American Academy of Microbiology Fellow, 2023; American Society for Microbiology Honorary Diversity Lecturer Award, 2023; American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, and 2022 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Fellow, 2013.
Department seminar coordinator is urban landscape entomologist Emily Meineke, assistant professor. For technical issues regarding Zoom connections, she may be reached at email@example.com. (See complete list of spring seminars.)
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)