Then think of watermelons and pumpkins.
All those crops will be discussed in a series of free webinars on Ensuring Crop Pollination in U.S. Specialty Crops, set Jan. 24 through March 28.
The webinars will feature five researchers with the Integrated Crop Pollination Project (ICP), including ICP co-principal investigator and pollination ecologist Neal Williams of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. They are free and open to the public. Each will be 45 minutes to 60 minutes long.
Coordinating the series are Katharina Ullmann, national crop pollination specialist with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and Extension apiculturist and professor John Skinner of the University of Tennessee. Closely linked to UC Davis, Ullmann received her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, studying with Williams.
"The majority of U.S. specialty crop growers depend on bees for pollination of their crops," Ullmann said. "Growers know that without adequate pollination, they would not be profitable. But what are the best pollination strategies for fruit, vegetable, and nut crops? What farm management practices can growers use to support bees and the crop pollination they provide?"
First to present will be Theresa Pitts-Singer, who collaborates with Williams. She will discuss Ensuring Almond Pollination on Jan. 24 and also deliver the ending seminar on March 28 on How to Manage Solitary Orchard Bees for Crop Pollination.
Williams will speak Feb. 28 on On-Farm Pollinator Benefits for Watermelon Pollination. An associate professor of pollination and biology and a Chancellor's Fellow, Williams serves as the faculty co-director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and is a member of UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute. His applied research addresses the integration of wild and managed bees for pollination of diverse agricultural crops including seed production, row crops and orchards.
His research addresses a series of questions:
- Under what contexts, in terms of local management and landscape context, can native pollinators provide sufficient pollination for different crops?
- How can we enhance habitat and diversify agricultural systems to promote managed and wild bees?
- Do pollinators like honey bees and wild bees interact in ways to increase the overall effectiveness of crop pollination?
The answers to these questions will help alleviate the stress placed on honey bees, Williams says, and also "inform ways to more sustainability manage agricultural systems to promote biodiversity and production."
Williams has worked extensively in agro-ecosystems in California's Central Valley and in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. His work in the East and West has helped form the basis for pollinator conservation planting guidelines. A continuing goal, he says, is to provide practical information that can be used to improve the long-term stability of pollination for agriculture in California, as well as promote pollinator conservation and management.
All speakers will discuss their research, and engage with the audience in discussing pollination of wild bees, honey bees and other managed bees in almond, blueberry, tree fruit, pumpkin, and watermelon. Each registered attendee will later receive a link to the slides.
To register, attendees can click on each link (note that all times here are 11 a.m., Pacific Time (consult your time zone):
- Jan. 24: Ensuring Almond Pollination (Theresa Pitts-Singer, USDA-ARS and Utah State University)
- Jan. 31: Pollinating Highbush Blueberries: Bees Bring Bigger Berries (Rufus Isaacs, Michigan State University)
- Feb. 14: Pollinating Apples and Cherries East of the Rockies (Julianna Wilson, Michigan State University)
- Feb. 28: On-Farm Pollinator Benefits for Watermelon Pollination (Neal Williams, University of California, Davis)
- March 21: Ensuring Pumpkin Pollination (Shelby Fleischer, Pennsylvania State University)
- March 28: How to Manage Solitary Orchard Bees for Crop Pollination (Theresa Pitts-Singer, USDA-ARS and Utah State University)
The webinar series will be hosted by eXtension.org, an online Cooperative Extension network. Funding will be provided by the Integrated Crop Pollination Project, a USDA-NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative Grant (#2012-51181-20105). Plans are to offer continuing education credits for certified crop advisors.
We're glad to see that the Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State University will host the third International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy next year--July 18-20, 2016--on the Penn State campus in University Park, Penn.
Some of our UC Davis pollinator specialists will be involved. One of the conference organizers is pollination ecologist Neal Williams, associate professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and one of the speakers will be his former graduate student, Katharina Ullmann, who received her doctorate last year and is now working with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
A major theme of this year's conference will be translating the results of recent research advances in the biology and health of pollinators into solutions that can be applied in the field to conserve and expand pollinator populations, said conference coordinator Kim Swistock of Penn State.
"The conference will cover a range of topics in pollinator research, from genomics to ecology, and their application to land use and management, breeding of managed bees, and monitoring of global pollinator populations," she said in a news release. "Recent global initiatives in policy, education, and extension will also be highlighted."
Other confirmed speakers include:
Dennis vanEngelsdorp (University of Maryland), Marina Meixner (Bieneninstitut Kirchhain, Germany), Taylor Ricketts (University of Vermont), Luisa Carvalheiro (University of Brasilia, Brazil), Ed Rajotte (Penn State University), Amy Toth (Iowa State University), Guy Smagghe (Ghent University, Belgium), Lucy King (Save the Elephants), Andrew Barron (Macquarie University, Australia), Hollis Woodard (University of California, Riverside), Mark Brown (Royal Holloway University of London), Dan Cariveau (University of Minnesota), Katharina Ullmann (The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation), Vicki Wojcik (Pollinator Partnership), and Matthew Smart (USGS). Symposia will include invited and contributed talks and posters related to epidemiology and modeling of global pollinator populations, managing landscapes for ecosystem services, pollinator nutrition and habitat, integrated pest and pollinator management, molecular tools for managing pollinator populations, and education and outreach.
Prior to the conference, the Xerces Society will host a one-day Pollinator Conservation Short Course on Sunday, July 17, 2016 at Penn State. Topics include creating and protecting pollinator habitat, as well as related research of Penn State scientists. (Contact Jillian Vento email@example.com for more information.)
So, how many people are expected to attend the conference? When it was held in 2013, it drew more than 230 participants from 15 countries, representing universities, government agencies, industry, non-profit organizations, and several stakeholder groups. (See http://ento.psu.edu/pollinators/conference-materials, including an abstract book and several of the policy-related presentations.)
The conference agenda, online registration, and online abstract submission will be available in early February 2016. (To receive an email announcement once registration is open, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org)
For more information about the conference, email conference coordinator Kim Swistock (email@example.com) or the conference organizers, Christina Grozinger - PSU (firstname.lastname@example.org ), Shelby Fleischer – PSU (email@example.com), Neal Williams - UC Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Rufus Isaacs - Michigan State University (email@example.com) or visit the conference website: http://ento.psu.edu/pollinators/events/2016-international-conference-on-pollinator-biology-health-and-policy.
The Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State is described as "a dynamic consortium of more than 25 faculty involved in research, education and extension efforts focused on improving pollinator health, conservation and ecosystem services."
The UC Davis "bee people" hope to host the conference in 2018. Extension apiculturist Elina Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, received her doctorate in entomology from Penn State, working with Christina Grozinger.
The excitement began when Martin Guerena, an integrated pest management (IPM) specialist with the City of Davis, encountered a native bee nesting site Wednesday in front of the U.S. Bank, corner of 3rd and F streets, Davis.
Some passersby figured they were wasps and were asking bank officials to exterminate them.
Guerena contacted UC Davis officials and learned that these particular bees were sunflower bees, Svastra obliqua expurgata, nesting underground. Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, identified them, and Katharina Ullmann, who last year received her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis and is now a crop pollination specialist with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, circled the site with yellow caution tape today and posted an educational sign.
"This is a sunflower bee nesting site," Ullmann wrote. "These gentle bees are native and ground nesting. The females of this species are solitary bees, but like to nest near each other and often use the same nest entrance. Their nesting tunnels lead to individual chambers below the ground. Each chamber is filled with pollen, a single egg, and then closed off. These eggs will hatch, develop underground, and emerge next summer to build their nests. This sunflower bee is one of 1600 species of native bees found in California."
The sign included a "name tag" with the common name, scientific name, favorite food (pollen and nectar), favorite place to be (3rd St., Davis), favorite colors (yellow, red and orange) and favorite saying (YOLO, You Only Live Once).
Ullmann added: "Three things you can do to help this bee: (1) protect nests, (2) plant flowers and (3) use fewer insecticides.
Sunflower bees are also nesting nearby--near the Pizza Guys restaurant and the 7-Eleven parking lot. UC Davis entomology graduate student Margaret "Rei"Scampavia identified the bees as from the same genus, and also noted the presence of cuckoo bees.
Thorp says the female cuckoo bee, Triepeolus concavus, lays her eggs in the ground nests of other bees, including the sunflower bee, Svastra. Cuckoo bees are kleptoparasites, meaning that they steal the food stores provisioned by the host bee. Cuckoos lack pollen-collecting structures (scopa). So when the cuckoo bee eggs hatch, the larva will consume the pollen ball collected by the hosts, and kill and eat the host larvae. Like human kleptomanias, they've found a way to make it in this world at the expense of others.
Ullmann, who studied with pollination ecologist Neal Williams of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, wants to protect the sunflower bees and figures an informational sign will help.
Frankly, it's quite appropriate that the sunflowers bees are nesting near the bank. They're making their own deposits--pollen!
You'll learn more about honey bees if you attend the Crop Pollination Workshop next month.
UC Cooperative Extension Apiculturist Elina Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology will speak on “Multiple Stresses Impact Honey Bees” at the Crop Pollination Workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 3 on the Colusa County Fairgrounds, 1303 10th St., Colusa.
Niño is the first of six speakers at the workshop, which begins at 1 p.m. and continues through 3:30 p.m.
Pollination is important for a number of crops grown in Colusa County, said workshop coordinators Katharina Ullmann of the Xerces Society and Farm Advisor Rachael Long, Yolo County Cooperative Extension Office. At the Crop Pollination Workshop, regional experts will share the latest on honey bee health, onion pollination, management practices that support pollinators of cucurbits and almonds, and how to encourage beneficial insects on your farm using hedgerows.
The event is free and open to all interested persons. No reservations are required. Sponsors include UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Xerces Society, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, Colusa County Resource, and UC Agricultural and Natural Resources.
The complete schedule:
1 p.m. Welcome
1:05 p.m. "Multiple Stresses Impact Honey Bees" by Elina Niño, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
1:25 p.m. “Insecticides Reduce Honey Bee Visitation and Pollen Germination in Hybrid Onion Seed Production” by Rachael Long, Farm Advisor, UCCE, Yolo County
1:50 p.m. “Best Management Practices for Squash and Pumpkin Pollinators” by Katharina Ullmann, Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Xerces Society and formerly of UC Davis (she received her doctorate in entomology last year)
2:15 p.m. “Enhancing Habitat in Almonds and Almond Pollination” by Kimiora Ward, staff research associate, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
2:40 p.m. “Hedgerows Enhance Pollinators and Pollination Services” by Lauren Ponisio, graduate student, Environmental Sciences and Policy Management, UC Berkeley
3:05 p.m. “Hedgerows Enhance Biodiversity and Provide Crop Benefits in Agricultural Landscapes” by Rachael Long, Farm Advisor, UCCE, Yolo County
3:20 p.m. “USDA-NRCS Financial and Technical Support for Hedgerows,” Andrea Casey, Colusa NRCS DC
For more information, contact Long at (530) 666-8734 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
But among the people who study pollinators, it is.
Also known as a squash bee, it is an important pollinator of cultivated crops of squash, pumpkins, and others members of the genus Cucurbita.
Enter Katharina Ullmann, a graduate student in the Neal Williams lab in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at the University of California, Davis.
She researches them, studying their persistence in agricultural landscapes.
And on Wednesday, June 4, Ullmann will present a seminar on her research: "Squash Bee Persistence in Agricultural Landscapes: the Role of Connectivity and Disturbance" from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall, located off Kleiber Hall Drive. This is the last in the series of spring seminars hosted by the department.
"It is well documented that wild native bees can benefit many crops through increased seed and fruit set, thus providing sustainable pollination alternatives in cases of honey bee decline and increased honey bee rental prices," Ullmann says. "Yet, it is unclear how to best manage crop systems to support wild native bees. Research on enhancing wild native bees has historically focused on field border management. However, to ensure the sustainability of a crop-pollination system, a comprehensive approach should also include within field practices."
"Promoting a whole-farm pollinator management strategy is especially important given that agricultural intensification is associated with practices that negatively impact wild native bees. Whole-farm strategies may provide effective alternatives for growers who are slow to adopt resource-intensive, border-management practices. The proposed project will contribute to our understanding of these strategies by determining the impact of tillage practices and crop rotations on a ground-nesting, native bee that is an important pollinator in a specialty crop system."
Ullmann said that Cucurbita crops (including squash and pumpkin) rely on pollinators to set fruit. "The specialist squash bee, Peponapis pruinosa, is an important pollinator of Cucurbita and can reduce grower reliance on rented honey bee colonies. In-field management is particularly relevant for this species given that it nests preferentially below its host's vines. I will use observational surveys and manipulative experiments to identify crop rotation schemes and tillage practices that benefit P. pruinosa. These results provide insights into how species persist in agricultural landscapes, with an emphasis on the roles of connectivity and disturbance."
Ullmann, who expects to receive her doctorate in entomology in September 2014, researches population persistence in dynamic landscapes, and on-farm beneficial insect habitat enhancements. Her interests also include supporting citizen science, translating research related to pollinator conservation and encouraging dialogue between researchers and farmers.
She developed a native bee YouTube channel aimed at providing a direct line of communication between university researchers, farmers and the general public. In addition, she developed the blog Pollinator Farm and associated social media handles on Twitter and Facebook.
Ullmann's seminar on June 4 is to be video-recorded for later posting on UCTV.