Backyard Orchard News
The boys won't be back in town for awhile.
But they will show up. Girls, too.
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, and his UC Berkeley-affiliated colleagues, Gordon Frankie, Rollin Coville, Sara Leon Guerrero and Jaime Pawalek, will show you where both the native male and female bees are during their June 4-8 workshop in Hastings Reserve, Carmel Valley, on "California's Native Bees: Biology, Ecology and Identification."
You'll learn how to identify California's native bees by genus and why it's critical to provide ecosystem services in not only wild habitats but in agricultural and urban settings. More than 1600 species comprise California's list of native bees. (And if you're thinking the honey bee is one of them--not! European colonists brought the honey bee to what is now the United States (Virginia) in 1622. The honey bee was introduced in California in 1853.)
If you join the workshop, you'll collect bees in the field at the UC Hastings Reserve and at a nearby diverse garden in Carmel Valley, according to the website. Then you'll also spend time in the lab viewing and keying collected specimens. Evening lectures on a variety of related topics will add to the field experiences. This workshop is an extension of the previously offered weekend bee workshop, with more focus on bee identification."
"Bee collections from the Hastings Reserve date back several decades, so knowledge of important bee-flower relationships are well known for this site. Participants will learn about bees' flower preferences, how to collect bees using several different methods, information on how to build a bee-friendly garden, bee photography techniques, and bee identification using generic keys and microscopes."
Frankie, Thorp, Coville and Barbara Ertter recently co-authored a California bee garden book, expected to be published in the fall of 2014 (Heydon). The working title is "California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists."
Of the four authors, Thorp, Frankie and Coville received their doctorates in entomology from UC Berkeley. Errter obtained a doctorate in biology from the City University of New York.
Thorp, who maintains an office at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis, taught a number of courses while on the UC Davis faculty: entomology, natural history of insects, insect classification, California insect diversity, and pollination ecology. Although he retired in 1994, he continues his research on ecology, systematics, biodiversity, conservation, and biology of bees. Thorp is also on the faculty of The Bee Course.
Frankie is a professor of insect biology at UC Berkeley who focuses his research on plant reproductive biology, pollination ecology, and solitary-bee biology. He splits his field research between California and Costa Rica.
Ertter has served as the curator of Western North American Flora, University Herbarium and Jepson Herbarium, UC Berkeley, since 1994. She focuses her research on the flora of western North America.
One thing's for sure: they'll share a wealth of information about native bees at this workshop!
Male leafcutter bee, Megachile fidelis, as identified by Robbin Thorp, on coneflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Male longhorned bee, Melissodes communis, as identified by Robbin Thorp. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Billed as "the first comprehensive guide to North American bumble bees to be published in more than a century," it allows readers, both amateurs and professionals, to identify all 46 bumble bee species found in North America and learn about their ecology, changing geographic distributions, and the endangered and threatened species.
Bumble bees, you know, are among the most recognizable of the world's 20,000 species of bees. The genus, Bombus, has only 250 species. A small number, indeed.
A yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, on tower of jewels. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee and yellow-faced bumble bee sharing a coneflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A video of the soil health workshops that were held last week on Tuesday, December 10th in Davis and Wednesday, December 11th in Five Points with Jay Fuhrer, a district conservationist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Bismarck, ND and Brendon Rockey, a farmer from Center, CO is now available for viewing. These workshops attracted over 150 participants and generated many good ideas and interactions between attendees.
The Conservation Agriculture Systems Institute (CASI) thanks all who took part and also extends warm gratitude to Jay and Brendon for taking the time to share their experiences with California Ag stakeholders.
Biotic soil resulting from conservation agriculture practices.
During this season, Carlos Crisosto, CE postharvest physiologist, Kearney Agricultural Research & Extension Center and the UC Davis Plant Sciences Department, is often asked how to determine maturity, as well as best practices for harvesting and storage of ‘Fuyu’ persimmons. ‘Fuyu’ persimmons completely lose their astringency before harvest and can be consumed while they are still firm. Harvest time is usually determined according to the fruit color and size. The best method of harvesting is to clip the fruit from the tree with small clippers (orange clippers), leaving the calyx attached to the fruit. It is also possible to snap the fruit from the tree but this practice is not recommended as it may injure the fruit and adjoining shoot. During harvesting and packaging, fruit must be handled carefully to avoid bruising, which can result in undesired marking as the fruit ripens. Penicillium, Botrytis and Cladosporium fungi may infect ‘Fuyu’ persimmons during storage, especially, if the skin has been damaged during postharvest handling.
‘Fuyu’ persimmons are very sensitive to chilling injury which is expressed by accelerated fruit softening, flesh browning, and translucency (jelly-like consistency) during and after storage. These symptoms appear more severe after 2-4 days at 68oF (20oC) following storage. Chilling injury is more rapid and severe at 41oF (5oC), especially, combined with ethylene exposure. Previous studies led by Dr. Kader demonstrated that exposure to 1 and 10 ppm ethylene at 68oF (20oC) resulted in accelerated softening to less than 4 pound-force ( the limit for marketability) after 6 and 2 days, respectively. Exposure to 1 and 10 ppm ethylene at 41oF (5oC) will induce fruit firmness below 4 pound-force (soft) after 15 and 8 days, respectively. Therefore, the use of 1-MCP, ethylene removal and/or exclusion of ethylene during packaging and storage at 32oF (0oC) operations is strongly recommended for maintaining quality and extending ‘Fuyu’ persimmon storage life potential.
A ‘Fuyu’ persimmon is firm when mature.
It's time for a spray of sunshine.
The golden daisy bush (genus Euryops, family Asteraeae), will do that to you.
The popular perennial both brightens your garden and attracts honey bees and other insects. The name originates from "eurys," Greek for "large" and "ops," meaning eye. Native to South Africa, the genus has about 100 species.
When the wintry andscape seems as drab as a rotten burlap sack, bee-hold the Euryops.
We spotted honey bees foraging on the shrub last Sunday at the Loch Lomond Marina, San Rafael, as the temperature rose to 60 degrees.
Honey bee heading for Euryops. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A perfect match: Euryops and a bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)