Backyard Orchard News
A honey bee exhibit at the 133rd annual Dixon May Fair featuring Cooperative Extension Apiculturist Eric Mussen has just won a top regional honor.
The exhibit, housed appropriately in the floriculture building, won second place in the Western Fairs’ Association’s non-competitive exhibit category. WFA represents fairs and festivals in 27 states and
“The honey bee exhibit was a first at the Dixon May Fair and very popular,” said Ester Armstrong, the fair’s interim chief executive officer. “Dr. Mussen drew large, interested crowds, all wanting to know about the plight of the honey bee.” A record 89,000 attended the four-day fair, the oldest running fair in
Mussen, a University of California apiculturist and member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty for the past 32 years, fielded questions from fairgoers. He also provided educational displays of bees and beekeepers.
Bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis, and research associate Kim Fondrk loaned the fair a bee observation hive, a glassed-in facility showing the queen bee, workers and drones.
Over the last two years, individual beekeepers have reported losing 30 to 100 percent of their bees due to a mysterious phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder. Honey bees pollinate one third of the American diet.
Another popular UC Davis exhibit at the fair: live insects provided by the Bohart Museum of Entomology, which houses the seventh largest insect collection in
It makes sense that one of the oldest insects should be at the state's oldest fair. . The oldest known bee, found encased in amber in Burma, is thought to be 100 million years old. The specimen is at least 35 to 45 million years older than any other known bee fossil, scientists say./o:p>/st1:address>/st1:street>/st1:city>/st1:city>/st1:address>/st1:street>/u2:p>/st1:place>/o:p>/u2:p>/st1:placename>/st1:placetype>/st1:placetype>/st1:place>/st1:placename>/st1:place>/st1:country-region>/st1:country-region>/st1:place>/st1:placetype>/st1:placetype>/st1:placename>/st1:placename>/st1:place>/st1:place>/u2:p>/o:p>/u2:p>/u2:p>/span>/o:p>/u2:p>/u2:p>/o:p>/u2:p>/u2:p>/st1:state>/st1:place>/o:p>/u2:p>/st1:place>/st1:country-region>/st1:country-region>/st1:place>/span>/o:p>
The BBC this week examined colony collapse disorder (CCD), a mysterious phenomonen characterized by bees abandoning their hives. The adult bees buzz off, leaving the brood and stored food behind. They do not return.
Many bee specialists believe it's not just one thing causing CCD--it's a combination of factors or a "perfect storm": parasites, pesticides, malnutrition, stress, diseases and global weather changes.
The blood-sucking varroa mite, a parasite of honey bees, is a contributing factor in the decline of bee health.
When the BBC interviewed Cooperative Exension Apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Entomology Department faculty about varroa mites, he said that the European or western honey bee doesn't "do a good job" of removing them. To a human, the varroa mite would be about the size of a softball "running around on you."
The varroa mite, Mussen said, is problematic because of three things:
1. It sucks the so-called bee blood, making the bee nutritionally weaker
2. It interferes with the immune system
3. The varroa can get viruses on its mouthparts so it inoculates bees with viruses as it travels from one bee to another.
Listen to Mussen talk about the varroa mite as he examines it under a microscope. Then imagine a softball-sized bloodsucker on you.
Varroa mite on drone
A chimpanzee holds a monarch butterfly in a ceramic art work titled “
Human hands cradle insects and assorted objects in a ceramic work titled “Analyze This.”
Those are just two of the art works featured in a juried show under way at the Pence Gallery,
You can view the art, listen to music and talk to artists at the free public reception set for 7 to 9 p.m., Friday, March 13 at the gallery. The art is amazing, said Art/Science Fusion Program co-director Diane Ullman, associate dean undergraduate academic programs of the
Among the work exhibited in the show is that of Catherine Chalmers, one of the distinguished series of speakers in the Consilience of Art and Science Colloquium, sponsored by Art/Science Fusion, which is part of the Science and Society Program,
The “Analzye This” piece is by Ann Savageau, associate professor of design at UC Davis. Savageau explains: “This is Art analyzing Science analyzing Nature. It makes visible the analytical methodology at the heart of the scientific endeavor. We take our measuring, probing, dissecting, and classifying for granted, as "the way things are". We forget that these are recent cultural constructs. “
Another ceramic work, “Twins,” by Marnia Johnston of
And it’s all a part of the Consilience of Art and Science Colloquium. What is consilience, you ask? William Whewell (1794-1866), who coined the term in 1840, described it as the linking together of facts and principles from different disciplines to form a broad, comprehensive theory that spans the realms of knowledge.
E. O. Wilson brought consilience into the modern lexicon with his highly acclaimed book, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge.
Tomorrow's a good day to learn about carabid beetles.
Kipling "Kip" Will, associate professor of insect systematics, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, will discuss his research at a noon seminar, Wednesday, March 11 in 122 Briggs Hall, UC Davis.
His topic: "The Phylogeny of Pterostichine Carabid Beetles and the Diversification of Continental Island Faunas." His lecture is the last in a series of 10 winter seminars sponsored by the UC Davis Department of Entomology. It's free and open to the public. The host is UC Davis doctoral candidate Rebekah O'Flaherty, known for coining Maggot Art.
At a recent seminar at Oregon State University, the scientist said: "Since the rise of Adephaga 240 million years ago, carabid beetles have crept, wedged, scurried, stank and even exploded their way to evolutionary success. Often lumped into a single pile as generalists predators, the family actually includes vegans and vampires, cannibals and caregivers and more."
Will kindly provided us with a photo of Pterostichus lama, which he describes as "the largest carabid beetle in California and as big as any in North America." It has no common name, he said.
This image was taken by one of his students, Ainsley Seago. It also graces Will's lab Web site.
The skies brightened last weekend and the rain-weary honey bees returned to the nectarine blossoms in our yard
They were in the pink again!
Capturing images of the bees gathering nectar and pollen is more fun than eating cotton candy at a county fair.
Radiant pink flowers.
Industrious honey bees.
What more could anyone ask for a garden party?