Posts Tagged: National Pollinator Week
Since this is National Pollinator Week, you're probably out celebrating the bees--maybe doing hand stands, cartwheels and pirouettes.
But have you ever thought about beetles as pollinators? They are.
We spotted this little critter on a California golden poppy at the Sonoma Mission in Sonoma, Calif. Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, knew what it was immediately, even though through all the pollen.
It's a melyrid beetle, a flightless beetle. Some species found elsewhere in the world are loaded with poison and are eaten by poison-dart frogs and passerine birds, including the pitohui. Scientists writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) say these frogs and birds derive their poison from melyrid beetles and if they don't eat enough of them, they lose their toxicity. Indeed, there's a golden poison-dart frog that carries enough venom to kill 10 people, according to National Geographic.
If you want to know what this melyrid beetle looks like when it's not wearing its coat of many pollen grains, check out this photo by Peter Bryant of UC Irvine and another photo by Thomas Roach of Lincoln, Calif., an insect photographer and a frequent visitor to the Bohart Museum of Entomology on the UC Davis campus.
Melyrid beetle (Endeodes insularis) on a poppy petal. (Photo y Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of melyrid beetle covered with pollen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Have you hugged your favorite pollinator today?
It's National Pollinator Week, and you're allowed to do that this week. Actually, any time you feel the inclination.
Honey bees, bumble bees, wool carder bees, leafcutter bees, sweat bees--they're all out there, ready for a hug.
'Course, they may misinterpret your actions.
This is the fifth annual Pollinator Week, when we pay tribute to bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles--and flies, too. Don't forget the flies. And all the other pollinators out there.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is encouraging us to celebrate pollinators June 20-26. Perhaps what we should do, along with celebrating them, is vow to save them.
Female wool carder bee (Anthidium manicatum) heads for lupine at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee (Apis mellifera) sips nectar from a marguerite daisy. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Metallic green sweat bee (Agapostemon texanus) foraging on a coneflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Yellow-faced bumble bee (Bombus vosnesenskii) nectaring a coneflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
You'll be hearing more about the CP2C.
The first-ever Congressional Pollinator Protection Caucus.
In keeping with 4th Annual National Pollinator Week, June 21-27, the Pollinator Partnership announced today that both parties of the U.S. House of Representatives have agreed to form the first Congressional Pollinator Protection Caucus (CP2C). Co-chairs are Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and Rep. Tim Johnson (R-IL).
Hastings and Johnson said they will be sending a “Dear Colleague” letter to fellow members of Congress to encourage their participation in the caucus.
As Hastings so accurately stated: “With one out of every third bite of food we humans consume dependent on bees and other animals for their pollination services, legislators need accurate information to help inform their positions."
“The caucus," Johnson added, "will seek out the best of pollinator science, economics and best practices."
Said Laurie Davies Adams, executive director of the Pollinator Partnership (P2): "This bi-partisan effort aims to support legislators’ understanding of the needs of their constituents with respect to pollinators, and we salute their cooperative drive to ensure that this issue gets the attention it deserves."
Kudos to Hastings, Johnson and the Pollinator Partnership.
Meanwhile, in conjunction with the CP2C launch, the Pollinator Partnership will host a briefing for members of Congress, staff, and the public on Thursday, June 24 at 3:30 p.m, at Longworth House Office Building, Room 1302.
Häagen-Dazs ice cream and Burt’s Bees will provide ice cream and lip balm for attendees. Häagen-Dazs, a strong supporter of UC Davis honey bee research at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, is committed to strengthening the health of the honey bees. (On Sept. 11, the public will celebrate the grand opening of the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a bee friendly garden planted last fall next to the Laidlaw facility.)
Burt's Bees is also a strong pollinator-supportive business.
Through research, public awareness, and concerted actions, we can all help preserve and protect our pollinators, especially honey bees.
Bee in Pomegranate Blossoms
When we think of pollinators, we usually think of honey bees, bumble bees, carpenter bees, syrphid or flower flies, and butterflies.But wait, blow flies can be pollinators, too.
You see them stopping on flowers for a sip of nectar, and in their travels from one flower to the other, they can--and do--transfer pollen.
Blow flies, though, aren't exactly what the organizers of National Pollinator Week had in mind when they set aside June 21-27 to celebrate the pollinators.
The U. S. Forest Service says that "of the 1,400 crop plants grown around the world, i.e., those that produce all of our food and plant-based industrial products, almost 80% require pollination by animals. Visits from bees and other pollinators also result in larger, more flavorful fruits and higher crop yields. In the United States alone, pollination of agricultural crops is valued at $10 billion annually. Globally, pollination services are likely worth more than $3 trillion."
So, when we talk about "the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees," we ought to include an occasional blow fly from the order Diptera and family Calliphoridae.
Besides, this little bugger does lend itself to alliteration: birds, bees, bats, beetles, butterflies and blow flies.
Blow Fly on Lavender
It's not too early to start thinking about NPW.
NPW? National Pollinator Week.
They are a key to our global sustainability and food supply. Eighty-percent of the world's crops depend on pollination. Honey bees pollinate about one-third of the food we eat.
Worldwide, we have about 20,000 species of bees, according to native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis. And California alone, he says, has more than 1600 species. Bees include sweat bees, digger bees, leafcutting bees, bumble bees, and scores of others.
Want to know what to plant in your garden to attract bees and other pollinators? Good sites to read are UC Berkeley's Urban Bee Gardens Web site and the Xerces Society Web site.
Meanwhile, almond blossoms are in full bloom in California. At the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis, an almond tree near the apiary is a burst of blossoms and a flash of aromatic fury.
Walk by the tree and you'll see pollen-packing honey bees buzzing around like there's no tomorrow.
We must ensure there will be a tomorrow.
Almond Tree at the Laidlaw Facility
Buds 'n Blossoms