How the Beehive Columns Went from Bee Boxes to Art
Now they are thinking inside and outside the hive.
Visitors to the grand opening celebration of the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, set from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11, will see two columns of bee hives or “bee boxes” gracing the entrance to the half-acre bee friendly garden, located at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, University of California, Davis.
“They're fantastic,” said bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey. “They're beyond fantastic—the art work is awesome. Not only is the quality of artwork highly impressive, the coverage and accuracy of the honey bee life cycle and activities depicted are extremely well done.”
The colorfully painted bee hives are the work of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, co-founded and co-directed by Ullman and Billick. Ullman is an entomology professor and associate dean for undergraduate academic programs at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and Billick is a noted artist who holds a bachelor's degree in genetics and a master's degree in fine arts.
Dalrymple (left), a UC Davis entomology graduate student who studies with major professor Rick Karban, served as the teachers' assistant for the program's Graphics and Communications Studio section.
As part of their research, the students enrolled in the class visited the Laidlaw facility, learning about bees from Cobey and staff research associate-beekeeper Elizabeth Frost.
“From my view, watching this come together has been a highlight, as the students asked their numerous questions seeking accuracy and sought the experience of opening a colony and observing bees in their numerous duties,” Cobey said. “The delight and amazement of students holding a frame of brood, watching a new bee emerge from her cell, feed larvae or pack in pollen for first time, is also is a thrill for me.”
Each sculpture is stacked with seven real bee hives, so real that curious Laidlaw bees try to enter them. One column depicts life inside the hive, and the other column, life outside the hive. Among the images: a queen bee laying eggs, nurse maids caring for the brood, and foragers collecting nectar, pollen, propolis and water.
As the teacher's assistant of the Graphics and Communications Studio, Dalrymple led students through painting exercises
Dalrymple provided feedback on the designs and offered suggestions for making them more scientifically accurate or aesthetically pleasing. In addition, she painted one side of a box in the "Life Inside the Hive" column and made final design decisions, such as what order the boxes should be in the column.
“Diane Ullman and Donna Billick were incredibly helpful, offering invaluable suggestions along the way, and ultimately installing the pieces in the Honey Bee Haven,” Dalrymple said. Local artist Melissa Chandon also led the students through a painting exercise during one studio session.
“I couldn't have gotten through the quarter without each of their help,” Dalrymple said, adding that she is “incredibly proud of the work” the students did.
“The outcome is simultaneously educational and beautiful,” she said. “The artwork depicts the intricate division of labor among different honey bee castes and the pollination services that honey bees provide to important crops and wildflowers. I hope it will serve as a focal point and source of information about honey bees for garden visitors.”
Although visitors to the haven wouldn't know it, only a handful of the students came in with a lot of painting experience. “Most of them had done very little painting or none at all prior to this class,” she said. “This project was very empowering and made the students feel a real connection to the UC Davis campus. I think those are some of the most positive outcomes of the public art projects created in Entomology 1.”
Entomology 1, “Art, Science and the World of Insects,” is the centerpiece course of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program.
The half-acre bee friendly garden, open year around, includes a 6-foot-long honey bee, created by Billick and funded by Wells Fargo. Ceramic tiles on the bench below the bee were created by undergraduate students in a freshmen seminar for Davis Honors Challenge students; community members; and sixth grade students at Korematsu Elementary School.
The Laidlaw facility is located on Bee Biology Road, off Hopkins Road, on the western end of the campus. To reach the grounds, go west on Hutchinson Drive for about a mile, turn left on Hopkins Road, and then a left on Bee Biology Road.
More information on the grand opening is at http://beebiology.ucdavis.edu/HAVEN/havenopening.html
(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.
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.
(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. Admission is free.)
DAVIS—It's a honey of a garden, the judges unanimously agreed.
A Sausalito-based team created a series of interconnected gardens with such names as “Honeycomb Hideout,” “Nectar Nook” and “Pollinator Patch” to win the international bee-friendly garden design competition, a gift to the University of California, Davis, from the Häagen-Dazs® brand.
The design, the work of landscape architects Donald Sibbett and Ann F. Baker, interpretative planner Jessica Brainard and exhibit designer Chika Kurotaki, will be brought to life this summer on a half-acre site at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road on the UC Davis campus.
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 ice cream committed $125,000 to the UC Davis Department of Entomology for the garden project. This encompasses site planning, preparation and the design competition.
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.
“We'll not only be providing a pollen and nectar source for the millions of bees on Bee Biology Road, but we will also be demonstrating the beauty and value of pollinator gardens,” said design competition coordinator Melissa “Missy” Borel, program manager for the California Center for Urban Horticulture. “My hope is that it will inspire everyone to plant for pollinators!”
“The winning design fits beautifully with the campus mission of education and outreach, and it will tremendously benefit our honeybees at Bee Biology,” said Lynn Kimsey, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology. “The garden will be a campus destination.”
Kimsey served as one of eight judges who unanimously selected the design from among 30 entries, submitted from as far away as England. The winning team will be honored at the garden dedication in October, where they will be presented with an engraved name plaque. They will also be given the sweet reward of free Häagen-Dazs ice cream for a year.
“We had so many wonderful garden concepts submitted that making the final choice was really difficult,” Kimsey said.
The funds will benefit sustainable pollination research, target colony collapse disorder, and support a postdoctoral researcher, said Walter Leal, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
“Honey bees are in trouble,” Leal said. “One-third of our nation's food supply depends on bee pollination, but bees are vanishing in massive numbers. This gift will help us to rebuild and revitalize our honey bee program.” Retirements and budget cuts decimated the program during the 1990s.
Häagen-Dazs officials will launch a national campaign on Tuesday, Feb. 19 to create awareness for the plight of the honey bee. Nearly 40 percent of Häagen-Dazs brand ice cream flavors are linked to fruits and nuts pollinated by bees.
As part of the “Häagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees” campaign, the company created a new flavor of ice cream, Vanilla Honey Bee, available starting Feb. 19; committed a total of $250,000 for bee research to UC Davis and Pennsylvania State University; formed a seven-member scientific advisory board; and launched a Web site, www.helpthehoneybees.com to offer more information on the “unstung heroes.”
Leal said that half of the gift will be used to hire a Häagen-Dazs Postdoctoral Research Fellow in honey bee biology. “We will immediately conduct a high-profile international search and the successful candidate will work at the Laidlaw facility for one year conducting problem-solving research in honey bee biology, health and pollination issues.”
Häagen-Dazs will fund the salary, while the UC Davis Department of Entomology will provide partial matching funds to support other expenses. Leal said the renewal will be contingent on research progress and availability of funds.
Häagen-Dazs brand manager Josh Gellert said that without honey bees, it would be “tough to source and produce” ice cream. By working with UC Davis and Penn State, “we hope to take steps toward finding ways to increase the honey bee population and educate consumers on how they can take part in helping save the honey bees.”
The Vanilla Honey Bee flavor will include a trademarked “Häagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees” icon, as will all other flavors linked to bee pollination. A portion of the sales will be used to help the honey bees through university research.
Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon characterized by bees unexpectedly abandoning their hives, said apiculturist and Cooperative Extension specialist Eric Mussen of the Laidlaw facility. “Of the 2.24 million colonies in the United States, beekeepers routinely lose 20 to 25 percent annually, but CCD has increased the numbers.”
Mussen said the Apiary Inspectors of America conducted a survey of the nation's registered beekeepers to determine how much of an impact CCD had on their bee colonies from the fall of 2006 to the summer of 2007. “Twenty-three percent of the respondents reported increased losses that appear to be CCD-related,” Mussen said. “Many beekeepers reported losing 30 percent of their colonies. A few lost 60, 80 and 100 percent of their colonies.”
The Harry Laidlaw Jr. Bee Biology Facility team is growing, Leal said. “We just finished conducting interviews Jan. 31 for a bee pollination biologist.” The new hire will join Mussen; bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, Laidlaw facility manager; and native pollinator researcher and emeritus professor Robbin Thorp. Cobey joined the team last May.
The Laidlaw teaching and research facility is considered one of the finest and oldest in the country. Active bee research began on the UC Davis campus in 1925. Today UC Davis serves as a key center of research, teaching, graduate training and extension activities in apiculture and bee biology in the UC system, Leal said. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranks the UC Davis Department of Entomology No. 1 in the nation.
The 8200-square-foot facility, located two miles west of the central campus, is named for UC Davis entomologist Harry Hyde Laidlaw Jr. (1907–2003), recognized as the "father of honey bee genetics” for perfecting artificial bee insemination technology.
Honey bee geneticist Robert Page, former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and now the founding director of the School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, worked closely with Laidlaw. “All of us who have made our careers studying the genetics of honey bees stand on the shoulders of Harry Laidlaw,” he said. “Harry was totally dedicated to honey bee breeding and apiculture from the time he opened his first hive of bees when he was 5 years old, until he died at 96.”
The newly formed Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream Bee Board includes three UC Davis scientists: Mussen, Cobey and Michael Parrella, professor of entomology and associate dean, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The board will advise company officials on scientific issues; announce new research findings; and educate the public on ways to help save the honey bee.
Mussen noted that honey bees are responsible for pollinating more than 100 U. S. crops, including fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. California produces 99 percent of all the almonds grown in the United States. Growers need two hives per acre to pollinate the state's 700,000 acres of almonds, valued at more than $2 billion, Mussen said.
Said Parrella: “The Häagen-Dazs brand and UC Davis have a shared goal of preserving our local natural ingredients in a sustainable future, and their donation to the Laidlaw facility will help us reach our goals through advances in research and community awareness programs.”
California State Beekeepers' Association president Jackie Park-Burris of Palo Cedro, Shasta County, described the Häagen-Dazs gift as “just awesome.”
“We're so happy that industry is recognizing the issues that the bees and beekeepers face,” Park-Burris said. “Last month at our national beekeeping conference, we gave a standing ovation to Häagen-Dazs for stepping forward to help us. This is an example of what a business can do, and maybe more businesses will get involved.”
“It's exciting that the honey bee program at UC Davis is being rebuilt and revitalized,” Park-Burris said.
Dori Bailey, director of consumer communications for Häagen-Dazs, received the standing ovation at a UC Davis dinner on Jan. 10 when she outlined her company's support for honey bees to the American Honey Producers' Association, American Beekeeping Federation, American Association of Professional Apiculturists and the Apiary Inspectors of America.
“It was a great presentation,” said Park-Burris, who noted that the beekeepers were the first (outside the company) to sample the new Vanilla Honey Bee ice cream. “You could really taste the honey. It's excellent.”
Beekeepers say the general public can help save the honey bees by planting a bee friendly garden; educate others about the honey bee decline; buy U.S. honey; and support research to help preserve the nation's food supply.