DAVIS—A newly launched University of California Web site promises to be a one-stop site for information about honey bees and native bees, UC Davis officials said today.
The bee biology site, the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility Web site, is online at http://beebiology.ucdavis.edu. The facility is located on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis.
“Our new Web site will allow us to provide information to the public about bees, answer questions, and highlight our studies and discoveries about bees and their importance in the environment,” said Lynn Kimsey, professor and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology who is coordinating activities at the Laidlaw facility. She also directs the Bohart Museum of Entomology on campus.
The Web site includes sections on research, outreach, publications, news, events, faculty and researchers, honey bees, native bees, pollination, instruction and the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. It also includes a photo gallery, kids' zone and links to bee sources throughout the world. A special FAQ section is devoted to commonly asked questions.
The honey bee expert team includes Extension Apiculturist Eric Mussen, bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility; bee breeder-geneticist M. Kim Fondrk; and Häagen-Dazs postdoctoral scholar Michelle Flenniken, an insect virus researcher
The native bee team includes pollination ecologist Neal Williams, assistant professor of entomology, and native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology.
“The Web site will be content rich,” said communication specialist Kathy Keatley Garvey, editor, photographer and Web developer. “We'll be expanding the content to offer the most informative, up-to-date information about honey bees and other bees.”
The site includes videos on honey bees and bumble bees. Of special interest is the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden east of the Laidlaw Facility on Bee Biology Road. To open to the public Oct. 16, it will provide a year-around food source for bees and other pollinators, and an educational experience for visitors who can glean information on how to plant a bee friendly garden.
Bee biologist Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. (1907-2003) was known as “the father of honey genetics.” He grew up in the southeastern United States and worked as a beekeeper with his grandfather, Charles Quinn. They experimented with mating queen bees and controlled breeding and developed what became known as the Quinn-Laidlaw hand-mating method.
Laidlaw completed his master's degree in entomology in 1934 from Louisiana State University and received his doctorate in genetics and entomology form the University of Wisconsin in 1939.
Laidlaw retired as a professor of entomology in 1974 but continued his research and outreach efforts. He published his last scientific paper at age 87 and his last book at 90. In 2001, the UC Davis Bee Biology Laboratory was renamed the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
(Editor's note: The grand opening celebration took place Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. The garden, located on Bee Biology Road, west of the UC Davis central campus, is open year around, dawn to dusk.
Here are some site preparation photos taken Aug. 6, 2009. See more about the haven.
His appointment, announced earlier this month by Neal Van Alfen, Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES), was confirmed by Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef.
“Dr. Parrella is an outstanding administrator, researcher, entomologist and teacher,” said Van Alfen. “He is known worldwide for battling pests of environmental horticulture, and with that same enthusiasm, talent and commitment, he will lead the department over the next five years. He is an inspiring and innovative leader with a strong vision of the future.”
Parrella replaces interim chair Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology. Kimsey, who completed a one-year term July 1, will continue in a leadership role as the department's vice chair.
A member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty since 1989, Parrella chaired the department from 1991-1999 before becoming associate dean, Division of Agricultural Sciences, CA&ES. That appointment ends this year.
“I am excited about coming back to lead the Department of Entomology,” Parrella said. “The department has recently added three exciting new faculty and despite some significant budget challenges that lie ahead of us, I am confident that the department can continue its significant research, teaching and extension/engagement roles that has led to its No. 1 national ranking.”
In addition to his entomology appointment, Parrella holds a joint appointment with the Department of Plant Sciences.
A native of Elizabeth, N.J., Parrella received his bachelor of science degree in animal science in 1974 from Rutgers-State University of Cook College, New Brunswick, N.J., and his master's and doctorate degrees in entomology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va., in 1977 and 1980, respectively. He began his academic career as an assistant professor at UC Riverside in 1980 and was promoted to professor in 1988. In 1989, Dr. Parrella relocated to the UC Davis campus.
Parrella maintains a teaching/research program in entomology and develops integrated pest management (IPM) and biological control strategies for the environmental horticulture industry. He is widely known for his applied research that has advanced IPM and biological control for this industry that includes floriculture crops, nursery and bedding plants and landscape plants in the urban environment.
In demand as a speaker at national and international conferences, he gave the keynote address, ‘Worldwide Development of Sustainable Production Systems in Greenhouses” at the Greensys 2009 Conference, sponsored by the International Society for Horticulture Science last month in Quebec City, Canada.
Parrella has trained more than 30 students and postdoctoral students, many of whom work in floricultural entomology. He is the author of more than 375 publications that are equally split between scientific and trade journals. For 10 years he wrote a monthly column for the trade magazines Greenhouse Grower and GrowerTalks.
The recipient of numerous awards, Parrella was selected a fellow of the 5700-member Entomological Society of America (ESA) in 2008. ESA honors up to 10 fellows annually for their outstanding contributions in entomological research, teaching, extension or administration.Parrella received the Emma Lausten Horticulture Award from Rutgers University in 2007; the Virginia Tech Distinguished Alumni Award in 1998; the Alex Laurie Research Award from the Society of American Florists in 1997; the Futura Research and Education Award from the Professional Plant Growers Association in 1991; Recognition Award from the Entomological Society of America in 1987; and the California Association Research Award in 1986. He is the Yolo County representative to the Sacramento/Yolo County Mosquito Abatement District Board of Trustees.
The Baxter House is no more.
And no one is happier than Lynn Kimsey, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
“I'm glad to see it go,” she said.
As part of a training exercise conducted Tuesday, June 30, the UC Davis Fire Department burned the abandoned and rundown Baxter House on Bee Biology Road. The building was located east of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Center, which is part of the Department of Entomology.
Some 15 firefighters, including trainees in the UC Davis student firefighter program, participated in the training exercise, led by assistant chief Nathan Trauernicht, operations and training.
Once a private residence and then an avian lab research facility, the 1200-square-foot building was constructed in May 1938. According to Davis Wiki, the building was once the home of Maurice and Naomi Baxter; Maurice Baxter, a former university employee, retired from the university in 1968. The building later became an avian research lab operated by Michael Fry, who left the university in 2002.
The site is part of the Department of Entomology's development plans. The half-acre Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven will be located between the Laidlaw facility and the burn site. A public dedication of the bee friendly garden is planned in October.
The key goals of the garden are to provide bees with a year-around food source, to raise public awareness about the plight of honey bees and to encourage visitors to plant bee-friendly gardens of their own, Kimsey said.
“The Baxter House site will be an access to the back of the garden,” Kimsey said. “On the east side will be a quarter-acre wildflower garden financed by Haagen-Dazs.”
A five-member Sausalito-based team won the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven design competition earlier this year. Landscape architects Donald Sibbett and Ann F. Baker, interpretative planner Jessica Brainard and exhibit designer Chika Kurotaki created a series of interconnected gardens with such names as “Honeycomb Hideout,” “Nectar Nook” and “Pollinator Patch” to win the competition.
Sibbett is a principal with the Sibbett Group; Baker is a senior landscape architect with RRM Design Group; Brainard is an independent museum consultant; and Kurotaki is an exhibit designer who works for RRM Design Group.
Last December Häagen-Dazs committed $125,000 to the UC Davis Department of Entomology for the garden project. This encompasses site planning, preparation and the design competition. The design plans are online.
A public dedication of the garden is planned in the spring of 2010.
“Neal has a dynamic research program on the ecological impacts of native bees and he brings a new perspective to the campus,” said Lynn Kimsey, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology. “We are very lucky to have him here as part of our reinvigorated bee biology program.”
Williams, an assistant professor at UC Davis, and a former assistant professor with the Department of Biology, Bryn Mawr College, researches pollination ecology, spanning the disciplines of conservation biology, behavioral ecology and evolution. Especially interested in sustainable pollination strategies for agriculture, Williams explores the role of native bees as crop pollinators and the effects of landscape composition and local habitat quality on their persistence.
Williams has researched agro-ecosystems in California's Central Valley and in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Among his research colleagues: native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis; and conservation biologist Claire Kremen of UC Berkeley, a UC Davis Department of Entomology affiliate and a 2007 MacArthur Foundation Fellow.
“One of my continuing goals,” Williams said, “is to provide practical information that can be used for pollinator conservation and management strategies.”
In addition, he is studying how habitat restoration affects insect pollinator communities and pollination function. He has worked with the Nature Conservancy's Sacramento River Project “to determine whether these non-target species and the function they provide are restored along with targeted structural vegetation.”
Williams' pollinator conservation research in the East helped form the basis for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services' planting guidelines to enhance pollinators.
Apart from his work on pollinator conservation, he explores how specialist and generalist floral visitors differ in their contributions to pollination of their host plants. This project involves field sites in the deserts of the northernwestern Mexico and in the woodlands of northeastern United States.
A native of Madison, Wisc., Williams studied botany, history and philosophy of science in 1990-91 at Edinburgh University, Scotland, before receiving his bachelor of science degrees in botany and zoology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1992. He earned his doctorate in ecology and evolution in 1999 from the State University of New York, Stony Brook (SUNY-Stony Brook), and then served as the I. W. Killam Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada for a year.
Before joining the Bryn Mawr College faculty, Williams served as a postdoctoral researcher in 2001-2003 in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton, where he was a D.H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow.
Williams won the 1997 President's Award for Outstanding Teaching at SUNY-Stony Brook, and was awarded the 2008 Linback Award for Excellence in Teaching at Bryn Mawr College.
The recipient of numerous grants, Williams received a three-year grant in 2007 from the USDA-CSREES (Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service) Sustainable Agriculture Research an Education to research “Promoting Sustainable Crop Pollination by Wild Bees through Farmer Outreach and Education.”
He earlier won grants from the National Science Foundation, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, the National Fish and Wildlife and Foundation and Nature Conservancy, and the American Museum of Natural History, among others.
He has just received new funding from the National Science Foundation and from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to continue his research in California.
Williams' work has been published in a number of journals, including the Annals of Botany, American Naturalist, Ecological Applications, Ecology Letters, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Download PDF of Native Bee Benefits: How to Increase Native Bee Pollination on Your Farm in Several Simple Steps, By Neal Williams, then of Bryn Mawr College, and Rachel Winfree, Rutgers.