June 18, 2007
Reimer is researching insecticide resistance of the malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, while Wong is studying oviposition site selection in Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits dengue. Reimer will work in the west African nation of Mali for the second consecutive summer, while Wong will do research in Iquitos, Peru this summer and next summer.
“Resistance to pyrethroids, the insecticides used to control the major sub-Saharan malaria vector Anopheles gambiae, is rapidly spreading,” Reimer said. “This is of concern because current malaria control programs rely heavily on indoor residual spraying with insecticides, and insecticide-treated bed nets.”
The World Health Organization cites resistance to insecticides as one of the primary factors impeding malaria control efforts.
Malaria kills more than a million people a year, and 90 percent of the global incidence of malaria occurs in Africa.
Reimer’s interest in malaria sprang from her work as a science teacher with the Peace Corps in The Gambia, West Africa from 2000-2002.
Wong said she plans “to examine whether females select oviposition sites that maximize their reproductive success and whether they can alter their egg laying strategies in response to changes in oviposition site availability.”
“This information will be useful for predicting how Aedes aegypti will respond to targeted vector control measures that modify oviposition sites,” Wong said.
Globally, some 2.5 million people are at risk for dengue. World Health Organization statistics show 50 million annual cases of dengue fever. The most severe form, dengue haemorrhagic fever, afflicts 100,000 people a year and is potentially lethal.
Wong, from San Luis Obispo, received her bachelor’s degree in molecular and cell biology from UC Berkeley in 2001 and her master’s degree in epidemiology from UC Davis in 2006. She enrolled in the UC Davis entomology doctorate program in the fall of 2004.
Hazeltine (1926-1994) managed the Butte County Mosquito Abatement District, Oroville, from 1966 to 1992. He was an ardent supporter of the judicious use of public health pesticides to protect public health, according to colleague Robert Washino, emeritus professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
Hazeltine studied entomology in the UC Berkeley graduate program from 1950 to 1953, receiving his doctorate in 1962 from Purdue University. He managed the Lake County Mosquito Abatement District from 1961-64 and the Butte County Mosquito Abatement District from 1966-1992. He continued work on related projects until his death in 1994.
Medical entomologist Bruce Eldridge of UC Davis eulogized him at the 2005 American Mosquito Control Association conference. His talk was later published in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. (See PDF)
Previous recipients include:
2006: Christopher Barker and Tania Morgan, $1,000 each
2005: Nicole Mans, $1,300
2004: Sharon Minnick, $1,000
2003: Hannah Burrack, $1,000
2002: Holly Ganz and Andradi Villalobos, $500 each
2001: Laura Goddard and Linda Styer, $1,000 each
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology
Sept. 30, 2011
DAVIS-- Stephen Buchmann of Tucson, Ariz., who received his doctorate in entomology from the University of California, Davis with major professor Robbin Thorp, co-authored the newly revised Bee Basics: An Introduction to our Native Bees.
The book, a USDA Forest Service and Pollinator Partnership Publication, can be ordered from the Pollinator Partnership website for a small donation.
Buchmann, international coordinator of the Pollinator Partnership, based in San Francisco, partnered with co-author Beatriz Moisset of Willow Grove, Pa., a retired biologist, and illustrator Steve Buchanan of Wingsted, Conn., known for creating the U.S. Postal Service’s pollinator stamps that were issued June 29, 2007.
Buchmann and Moisset describe native bees as “hidden treasures.”
“From forests to farms, from cities to wildlands, there are 4000 native bee species in the United States, from the tiny Perdita minima to large carpenter bees,” they wrote.
“The honey bee, remarkable as it is, does not know how to pollinate tomato or eggplant flowers. It does very poorly compared to native bees when pollinating many native plants, such as pumpkins, cherries, blueberries, and cranberries.”
The book includes descriptions and illustrations of bees from such families as Apidae, Andrenidae, Halictidae, Megachilidae and Colletidae.
“The members of the five most common families, Apidae, Halictidae, Andrenidae, Megachilidae and Colletidae, can be found throughout the North American continent from Canada and Alaska to warm and sunny Florida and Mexico; from forests to deserts; from remote wildernesses to gardens and backyards; even the National Mall in the heart of our nation’s capital sports a native bee fauna. Perhaps the only places where bees are absent are the high mountains.”
“There is even a hardy little bee, the arctic bumble bee, which lives within the Arctic Circle.”
The booklet also offers tips on how to attract pollinators.
The collaborators published the original version of the booklet on October 2010 and the revised booklet in March. Thorp, a noted native pollinator specialist and emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, assisted with the text edits and accuracy of the illustrations. Thorp maintains his office at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
Buchmann, an adjunct faculty member in the entomology and EEB (ecology and evolutionary biology) departments at the University of Arizona, is the author of 150 scientific publications and 12 bbooks, including The Forgotten Pollinators
Buchmann, co-author of The Forgotten Pollinators, founded The Bee Works, LLC (now disbanded) and also served as the president of the company. He received his doctorate in 1978 at UC Davis, where he worked on buzz pollination. Thorp and Buchmann are among the instructors of the popular Bee Course, an annual 10-day workshop held at the Southwestern Research Station, near Portal, Ariz.
Beatriz Moisset, born in Argentina and a resident of the United States for more than 40 years, received her doctorate in biology from the University of Cordoba, Argentina. She completed her postdoctoral work at the Jackson Laboratories, Bar Harbor, Maine studying neurochemistry and behavior. An artist, photographer, author and public speaker, she has displayed her pastels and oil paintings at many art shows and contributes her insect photography to the online resource BugGuide.Net. “I became interested in pollinators after my retirement, combining photography and painting with field observations,” Moisset said.
Stephen Buchmann provided illustrator Steve Buchanan with photographs of the pollinators for Bee Basics and for the pollinator stamp. Buchanan’s pollinator stamp is actually comprised of four different stamp designs that fit together like interlocking puzzle. The 41-cent stamp, emphasizing the importance of nature’s pollinators, shows four pollinators: the Southern dogface butterfly (Colias cesonia) and Morrison’s bumble bee (Bombus morrisoni). Other pollinators: calliope hummingbird (Stellula calliope); lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae).
Thorp noted that the color form of Morrison’s bumble bee is rare in comparison to the more common form illustrated on the stamp.
Bees as Chemists
Busy as a Buchmann (High Country News, March 19, 2007)
University of Arizona Department of Entomology: Stephen Buchmann
Books by Stephen Buchmann
BugGuide.Net: Beatriz Moisset
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology
“This was for our remarkable performances in faculty scholarly productivity, scientific citations per faculty, percentage of faculty with a journal publication, number of journal publications per faculty, and grantsmanship, among other factors,” said Walter Leal, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology.
Last year the Chronicle ranked the UC Davis Department of Entomology as No. 8 in the country. “We're back at the top where we belong,” Leal said.
The Chronicle of Higher Education is considered the top news and job-information source for college and university faculty members, administrators, and students.
The 2007 index compiles overall institutional rankings on 375 universities that offer the Ph.D. degree. Faculty members can be judged on as many as five factors, depending on the most important variables in the given discipline: books published; journal publications; citations of journal articles; federal-grant dollars awarded; and honors and awards.
The University of Wisconsin at Madison came in second, followed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; UC Riverside; University of Arizona; University of Maryland at College Park, Cornell University; North Carolina State University; University of Kentucky; and the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities.
UC Davis scored 1.87 in the faculty scholarly productivity index, outdistancing the 1.44 index of the University of Wisconsin, the runner-up.
UC Davis scored a perfect 100 percent for percentage of faculty with a journal publication. Other top categories included journal publications per faculty, an average of 12.39; and percentage of faculty with a journal publication cited by another work, 94 percent. Citations of journal articles per faculty averaged 70.28.
The average amount of grant funding per faculty member for the past fiscal year totaled $412,251. Thirty-three percent of the faculty received a new grant. Eleven percent of the faculty received an award, according to the data. collected.
Grant data were collected from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and from three programs in the Department of Energy.
For awards and honors, data were collected from the Web sites of 357 organizations that grant awards and honors and they are matched to names and programs.
The department traces its beginnings back to 1907 when a UC Berkeley professor lectured on whiteflies at a farmers' short course in Davis. UC Davis launched its two-year entomology program in 1913, leading to degrees offered in 1923-24.
Areas of emphasis include biological control, economic entomology, pollination biology, insect chemical ecology, insect olfaction, insect demography, insect physiology, insect toxicology, integrated pest management, ecology and evolution, forensic entomology, medical entomology (human and animal health) and systematics.
Headquartered in Briggs Hall, the department enjoys a fusion of teaching faculty, Cooperative Extension specialists, professional researchers, international scholars, graduate and undergraduate students, and academic and staff support. The department's work on fundamental and applied problems has led to ground-breaking scientific discoveries, integrated pest management approaches in California's agricultural and urban environments, management of insect-vectored human diseases and a global impact that stretches from UC Davis to Africa and South America and beyond, Leal said.
The Entomology Department is the home of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, which houses more than seven million specimens; the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility; UC Davis Superfund Basic Research and Training; and the Mosquito Research Lab. Department faculty housed at the UC Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier, conduct research involving insect-plant interactions, economy entomology, and mosquito-borne diseases, such as West Nile virus and malaria. In addition, related research spans a variety of UC ecological preserves and biological field stations, including the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve in the Vaca Mountains; Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center, in Northern California's foothills; Sagehen Creek Field Station, near Truckee; Jepson Prairie Reserve in Vacaville; Bodega Marine Reserve; Hopland Field State near Ukiah; Wolfskill Experiment Orchard in Winters; UC South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine; and the Blodgett Experimental Forest in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Graduate students in the entomology program, or housed in entomology, conduct research in insect demography, medical entomology, insect systematics, biological control, integrated pest management, insect biochemistry, insect ecology, insect pathology, biology and evolution of insects, aquatic ecology, insect physiology, environmental toxicology, apiculture, horticultural entomology, and insect vectors of plant pathogens.
Many of the UC Davis Department of Entomology alumni now chair entomology departments at other universities or hold higher administrative posts; head professional scientific organizations; or lead teams advancing scientific studies. Fifty-five alumni hold university faculty positions
Bee breeder and geneticist Susan Cobey, who leads the bee breeding program at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Biology Research Facility at the UC Davis, scours a hive for the queen bee.
Her trained eye quickly spots the elongated queen. Dozens of worker bees circle the queen. Their job is to protect and nurture the matriarch of the 50,000- to 80,000-member colony. The queen's sole job is to reproduce; typically she lays about 2,000 eggs a day during her two-year life span.
And it's Cobey's job to ensure that queen bee breeding programs thrive, that bees literally be all they can be.
“The queen, mother of all individuals in a hive, determines the inherited characteristics of the colony,” she wrote in a published paper. “Her success, productivity and lifespan are dependent upon the number and genetic diversity of drones with whom she mates.”
“The challenge with honey bee genetics is that queens always mate in flight,” Cobey said. “They'll mate with multiple drones, as many as 60, although average about 10, within a couple of days. The drones die after mating and the impregnated queen settles down to begin her lifelong egg-laying.”
“With instrumental insemination, we can control mating, enabling selection to enhance commercial stocks and maintain desired traits, including temper and resistance to disease and parasites.”
Cobey, a 30-year veteran of bee fertility research programs, is considered the world's most renowned bee insemination authority and instructor. Hired by UC Davis in May, she teaches courses on “The Art of Queen Rearing,” “Instrumental Insemination and Bee Breeding” and “Advanced Instruction Instrumental Insemination.”
Over the last 25 years, she's taught researchers and beekeepers from Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, France, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, China, India, United Kingdom, England, New Zealand. Korea, Israel, Egypt, Kuwait, and Nigeria.
By invitation, she's also taught in Canada, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Egypt and South Africa.
Cobey's job is basically to build a better bee by maximizing the good traits and minimizing the bad traits. “Controlled mating,” she said, “is the basic foundation of all stock improvement programs.”
The issue is timely, especially since CCD — “colony collapse disorder” or “massive honeybee die-off” — killed a quarter of the nation's 2.4 million commercial bee hives last winter, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Colony collapse disorder appears to be a complex issue,” Cobey said. “Similar situations have been experienced in the past. CCD may involve a variety of factors; parasitic mites, bee pathogens, chemicals (both miticides used in the colony and pesticides in the environment), changing climates, loss of forage, poor nutrition and loss of genetic diversity. Overall, I think it is stress, caused by the combination of these factors.”
However, by controlling the genetics of honey bees, researchers can breed stronger, more survivable bees, bees able to withstand such pests as varroa mites, she said.
Honey bees, crucial to the nation's multi-billion agricultural industry, pollinate one-third of the food crops, including fruits, legumes and vegetables, according to the USDA. They account for 80 percent of all insect crop pollination. They produce around 200 million pounds of honey a year in the United States, or about 84 pounds of honey per colony. California's honey production averages $25.2 million a year, just behind national leader North Dakota's $27.2 million.
Bees are especially critical to almond growers.
“Without honey bee pollination, crop yields would not be economically viable,” Cobey said. California, accounting for half of the world production of almonds, requires between 900,000 and 1 million colonies of honey bees to pollinate the state's 420,000 acres of almonds, figures the National Honey Board.
Insects first sparked Cobey's interest during her childhood in Lancaster County, Pa. She remembers bringing insects into her elementary school classroom for show and tell, until she was told to choose something different.
“Insects are like jewelry,” she said. “They come in all shapes, sizes and colors.”
And bees? The social insects fascinate her. “The beehive is so efficient. The queen is the soul of the colony. She sets the tone and the production rate. Every bee has a task.”
After enrolling in a student exchange program in entomology in 1975 at Oregon State University, Corvallis, Cobey received her bachelor's degree in entomology in 1976 from the University of Delaware, Newark. From 1978 to 1980, she worked at UC Davis, where she was influenced by Harry Laidlaw (1907-2003).
Known as the “father of honeybee genetics,” Laidlaw perfected artificial bee insemination technology. “He discovered the valve fold in the queen bee which hinders injection of semen into the lateral oviducts,” Cobey said. “He developed instrumentation to bypass the valve fold enabling the success of bee insemination.”
Utilizing the training, Cobey established the Vaca Valley Apiaries in Vacaville in 1982, developing the highly regarded New World Carniolan (a black race of bees) Breeding Program. In 1990 she pulled up roots—and hives—and settled in Ohio, serving as staff apiarist at the Rothenbuhler Honey Bee Research Laboratory at Ohio State University until accepting the research associate position at the UC Davis facility in May. She joins Eric Mussen, a longtime UC Cooperative Extension apiculturist.
Cobey is part of the overall plan to launch the UC Davis bee biology research program back to international prominence, said Walter Leal, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology. Over the past decade, budget cuts, resignations and retirements took their toll. The department is now recruiting a professor specializing in bee pollination.
Cobey's expertise includes establishing and managing a closed population breeding program for more than 30 years, researching and writing scientific publications, and teaching bee breeders how to inseminate queen bees. She developed techniques and equipment for instrumental insemination, including a ruby-tipped hook, but has no plans for patent rights.
“The world of bee breeding is so small,” she said.
At Ohio State University, she developed an independent research program on post-insemination survival of honey bee queens and the selection of behavioral traits. Selection for hygienic behavior, the ability to detect and remove varroa mites and bee diseases from brood, is one trait of natural resistance. The varroa mite, a native of Asia, dines on bee larvae and occasionally an adult bee.
In her instrumental insemination classes, Cobey teaches students how to extract semen from a drone, and inseminate an anesthetized virgin queen. Magnified images on a computer screen help illustrate the procedure.
Students highly praise her skills and teaching ability. In a thank-you note to Leal, bee breeder Dave Welter of Welter Apiaries of Stuart, Fla., wrote: “Thank you for hosting the Honeybee Instrumental Insemination short course. It was first rate. I am from South Florida where we are trying to develop strategies to deal with the arrival of the African Honey Bee. The skills that I developed in Sue's class will provide me with a valuable resource as I move forward in this endeavor. Sue really did an incredible job teaching this class. Her patience, professionalism and vast experience created an environment highly conducive to learning. I am very pleased with what I learned and the skills I developed.”
Cobey's New World Carniolan bees also draw international acclaim. Wrote Honey Run Apiaries of Delphos, Ohio: “Our breeder queens are obtained directly from Sue Cobey's New World Carniolan Breeding Program. These queens have been selected for productivity, rapid spring buildup, overwintering ability, tracheal mite resistance, hygienic behavior, pollen collection, gentle temperament and high brood viability. We have been impressed with their performance and with their calm, gentle nature they are a pleasure to work.”
“I love my work,” said Cobey, who is partial to blue jeans and t-shirts. “I get to work outside and enjoy the change of seasons, the smells and sounds, and be close to nature. And my bees.”
She admits to having a soft spot for drones. Once the honey-gathering season is over, the worker bees kick the drones out of the hive, as their only function is to mate.
“They're cold and hungry, sitting there on the doorstep and wanting to go back in. They're attacked and they die. Well, it's a matriarchal society.”
Husband Timothy Lawrence, an analyst with UC Davis Extension, shares her interest in bees. A wedding portrait shows them bearded with bees.
Cobey also enjoys working with bee breeders. Beekeeping is a hard life, but it's a lifestyle for many.
“They just fall in love with their bees.”
As does she. “Breeding them so they're strong and healthy and resilient, so they will bounce right back, it's a passion and an increasing challenge.”
They wanted museum Director Lynn Kimsey, a professor of entomology, to identify the insects and their geographical home for an upcoming mass murder trial.
"I saw it as a puzzle to be solved," Kimsey said of the car parts embedded with several hundred insects. "I've never heard of anyone doing this."
Prosecutors from Kern County were alleging that Vincent Brothers, a former vice principal, drove a rented 2003 blue Dodge Neon from Ohio to California, where he killed five members of his family. The defense argued that the car had never left the Ohio area.
The Kern County Superior Court trial began in Bakersfield on Feb. 22 and ended May 15, with the jury convicting the 44-year-old Brothers of five counts of first-degree murder in the July 2003 shooting and stabbing deaths of his estranged wife, three children and mother-in-law. On May 29, the jury recommended the death sentence. Formal sentencing is scheduled for August.
"From the prosecution's point of view, half of the battle is being able to have witnesses knowledgeable in their field and the ability to explain that knowledge," Green said, noting that Kimsey is not only an expert in her field but a teacher.
"She taught me about the insects so I could understand the field and feel familiar enough to cross-examine their (defense) witnesses," Green added. "Her help was invaluable."
Kimsey described the experience as "interesting but terrifying."
"I didn't know anything about the court case," she added. "I couldn't even identify the defendant when I entered the courtroom."
In April 2004, Bakersfield police had arrested Brothers on suspicion of committing the murders. Brothers had been an employee of the Bakersfield City School District since 1989, and vice principal of Fremont Elementary School since 1996.
Brothers said he was in Columbus, Ohio, at the time of the murders. But the prosecution successfully argued that he caught a flight from California to Ohio, rented a car, and then drove to Bakersfield to kill his family.
"The insect evidence corroborated with the mileage on the vehicle, which had to have been driven west," Green said in the recent telephone interview.
The grasshopper is found in the Great Plains and the eastern slope of the Rockies. The paper wasp's territory is west of the 100th meridian, with California as "its center of abundance," Kimsey pointed out during the trial. In addition, she said that the two true bugs are also found only in the West: "Both are found in Southern California, Arizona and Utah."
She recalled that when she and senior museum scientist Steve Heydon picked off the insects from the car parts — it took them seven or eight hours, "We found no butterflies — no painted ladies, no sulphur butterflies. That indicated to us that the car wasn't driven during the day, but at night.
"The insects we found were consistent with two major routes to get to California from the East," said Kimsey, adding that court testimony revealed "4,500 unaccounted-for miles" on the rental car.
During her five-hour testimony, illustrated with a PowerPoint presentation, the UC Davis entomologist showed the distribution of the insects on a U.S. map, and compared insect photos from the car parts with specimens from the Bohart Museum.
Kimsey identified the large grasshopper by its leg, comparing the size, coloration and markings to a specimen at the museum. She testified that the hind legs of the grasshopper "help us identify" the species. The size of the large leg (red with black markings) indicated that the grasshopper measured "close to two inches long."
"The jury seemed very interested in what I had to say," Kimsey said.
Following her testimony, the defense called four entomologists to counter her evidence — three from Purdue University and one from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
"The defense tried to make a case that insects are easily distributed," Kimsey said. They also questioned her expertise in diagnostics, systematics, field work and publications.
But Green, the prosecutor, said it was evident that the defense witnesses did not have "near the expertise or credentials" of Kimsey.
She was trained by world-renowned UC Davis entomologist Richard M. Bohart, who passed away earlier this year and who founded the Bohart Museum in 1946.
Today, the Bohart is one of the country's largest insect museums, and director Kimsey has identified insects for more than 30 years. She manages the insect diagnostic service on the UC Davis campus (through the Department of Entomology). The author of some 90 publications, she focuses her research on the biology and evolution of insects; biogeography of insects; functional morphology, dealing with the form and structure of insects; and systematics, or the science of classification.
But, she pointed out, "I've never been to a criminal court before. It was nothing like what Hollywood portrays it. It was all seriousness. The judge tolerated little off-track behavior."
Even so, Kimsey suspects that she and the Bohart Museum will wing their way back into the courtroom again.
"This may open up a whole new path for us," she said.
Resource: See Wikipedia entry