Posts Tagged: flowering artichoke
Flowering artichokes indicate one of two things (1) someone never bothered to harvest them or (2) someone loves bees.
We let our artichokes flower. So does the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden on Bee Biology Road next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis. Owned and operated by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, the haven provides a year-around food source for bees and other pollinators; raises public awareness about the plight of honey bees, and encourages visitors to plant bee-friendly gardens of their own.
It's delightful to watch the honey bees helicopter in, touch down in the purple forest, and thread their way to the food source.
It's especially delightful to know that National Pollinator Week is next week, June 17-23. Launched six years ago by the U.S. Senate, designated by the U.S. Department of Interior, and initiated and managed by the San Francisco-based Pollinator Partnership, it's an opportunity to address "the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations," according to the Pollinator Partnership website.
It's not only about the bees, but other pollinators, such as birds, butterflies, bats, beetles, ants, wasps and yes, even flies.
Why are pollinators important and why should we care? Go to the Pollinator Week's
"Fast Facts" page.
One such fact: "About 75 percent of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators and over 200,000 species of animals act as pollinators. Of those, about 1,000 are hummingbirds, bats, and small mammals. The rest are insects such as beetles, bees, ants, wasps, butterflies, and moths."
Meanwhile, the flowering artichokes are getting a real workout. Often, you can't see the forest for the bees.
Honey bee heads toward a flowering artichoke. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Touchdown! (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
You can't see the forest for the bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Oh, the critters we overlook.
If you have flowering artichokes, expect to see honey bees, bumble bees, carpenter bees, leafcutter bees and syrphid flies foraging on them. And a few spiders waiting for dinner.
Don't expect to see a mayfly.
The mayfly habitat is in or around water. Fly fishers use artificial lures that look like mayflies and other aquatic insects.
This tiny mayfly (below) was perched on a flowering artichoke, about 15 feet from our fish pond.
Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis, says it's from the family, Baetidae.
Worldwide, the Baetid family has about 900 described species. The Baetids are unique in that they're among the smallest of the mayflies. In general, adult mayflies have a short lifespan, often living just a day. They're in the order Ephemeroptera (ephemeros is Greek for short-lived, and pteron means wing).
Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, teaches "Entomology for the Fly-Fisher" every spring quarter. The course focus: "insect life in the aquatic ecosystem; methods and mechanics of fly fishing; what you need to know to match the hatch; and enhancing the fly-fishing experience for the novice and experienced angler."
Parrella, an avid fly fisherman, taught entomology and fly-fishing classes while on a six-month sabbatical last year in Chile.
Chances are he never encountered a mayfly perched on a flowering artichoke!
Mayfly, from the family Baetidae, rests on a flowering artichoke. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Long tail of the mayfly, family Baetidae. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)