Posts Tagged: lupine
The yellow-faced bumble bee (Bombus vosnesenskii) may be one of the most underappreciated pollinators.
You see it buzzing around lavender, lupine, California poppies, mustard and other plants.
But a Xerces Society study of organic farms in Yolo County found that it was one of the most important of the native bees visiting the Sungold cherry tomatoes.
The study, titled “Native Bee Pollination of Cherry Tomatoes,” was based on research by Claire Kremen of UC Berkeley, Neal Williams and Robbin Thorp of UC Davis and Sarah Greenleaf, California State University, Sacramento, all members of Xerces.
“Recent studies demonstrate that tomatoes pollinated by native bees produce larger and more numerous fruits,” the authors wrote. “Honey bees do not pollinate tomatoes because they cannot get the pollen and the flowers do not produce nectar. With no reward, honey bees will not visit the flower. Many native bees, however, know the trick to extracting tomato pollen and are, therefore, valuable pollinators.
"Although the tomato plant is self-fertile, flowers must be vibrated by wind or bees in order to release pollen for fertilization. To achieve the most effective pollination, the flower must be vibrated at a specific frequency to release the pollen. Honey bees are unable to vibrate the tomato flower in this way, but bumble bees and other native species can.
The Xerces Society offers a great resource on how to attract bumble bees: see Farming for Bees: Guidelines for Providing Native Bee Habitat on Farms.
In some respects, the yellow-faced bumble bee resembles a cuddly teddy bear. It's big and bumbly, as a bumble bee should be.
From behind, however, its heavy load of pollen looks for all the world like saddlebags on a trail horse.
Foraging Bumble Bee
First it was the California poppies. Then the lupine.
And now it's coreopsis, aka tickseed.
It's seasonal blooming at the Campus Buzzway, a quarter-acre wildflower garden planted last fall at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road at UC Davis.
A gift from Häagen-Dazs--in a project coordinated by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and the California Center for Urban Horticulture--the Campus Buzzway features blue and gold, the UC Davis colors.
Poppies and lupine starred in the garden earlier this year, and most have finished blooming. It's now coreopsis' turn.
Its spectacular neighbor, the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden, will be the center of attention on Saturday, Sept. 11 at the public opening celebration. But the Campus Buzzway will attract attention, too.
Garry Pearson, greenhouse supervisor at UC Davis, unfolded three banners at the Campus Buzzway last week. The banners will be on display in the Campus Buzzway on special occasions.
The Sept. 11 opening of the gardens, set from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is one of them.
Trio of Banners
Bee on Coreopsis
Next spring the Campus Buzzway at UC Davis will burst with buds, blooms and bees.
The Campus Buzzway, a quarter-acre field of wildflowers, took root the third week of November when a crew planted golden poppies, lupine and coreopsis (tickseed).
Or more precisely, Eschscholzia californica, Lupinus perennis and Coreopsis granidflora.
The garden is a gift from Häagen-Dazs, which also funded the design competition for the half-acre Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. Both bee friendly gardens are located on Bee Biology Road, next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
Many other donors have stepped forward to make the gardens possible.
Think year-around food source for bees.
Think public awareness about the the plight of bees.
Think educational opportunities for visitors.
This is no ordinary garden. The Campus Buzzway is unique in that it not only will sport the UC Davis official colors of blue and gold, but it will include three areas of concentrated plantings surrounded by random plantings of the poppies, lupine and coreopsis.
Lynn Kimsey, professor and vice chair of the Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, suggested the design, which also includes narrow walkways.
The two gardens, she said, "will greatly benefit our colonies and make terrific teaching opportunities.”
Expect to see scores of local pollinator populations there, too, and folks gleaning ideas for their own bee friendly gardens. Yes!
This is the second year that Häagen-Dazs, known for its premier ice cream (about half of its flavors are pollinated by honey bees), has raised funds for honey bee research at UC Davis and Penn State University. At UC Davis, Häagen-Dazs is funding postdoctoral fellow Michelle Flenniken, an insect virus researcher seeking to unlock the mysteries of the viruses that plague bees.
Meanwhile, mark your calendars. A public celebration of the two bee friendly gardens is set June 19.
UC Davis Colors