Posts Tagged: Haagen-Dazs honey bee haven
If you plant a bottlebrush in your yard, you'll experience a brush with kindness.
This time of year there's not much food for honey bees to eat. Bottlebrush, in the genus Callistemon and family Myrtaceae, fits the bill.
We captured this image Oct. 16 at the Häagen-Dazs Bee Haven, a bee friendly garden on Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis, west of the central campus. The half-acre garden, planted in the fall of 2009, serves as a year-around food source for the bees at the nearby Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Faciity, as well as other pollinators, raises public awareness of bees, and provides visitors with ideas of what to plant in their own gardens. Admission to the garden, open from dawn to dusk, is free. If you want a guided tour (a nominal fee is charged), contact Christine Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The bee-utiful Miss Bee Haven, a six-foot long ceramic mosaic sculpture by Donna Billick of Davis, anchors the garden. The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, directed by Donna Billick and entomologist/artist Diane Ullman, has kindly provided a plethora of art, the work of their students in Entomology 1. Think decorated bee boxes at the entrance, a native bee mural on the tool shed, ceramic mosaic planters filled with flowers, and native bee condos for leafcutter bees and blue orchard bees.
The bottlebrush fits in well. Native to Australia, this plant resembles--you guessed it--a bottlebrush, the kind of tool you'd use to clean a baby bottle or an insulated bottle. Most flower heads are red, but they can also be yellow, orange, white or green, depending on the 34 species.
The bottlebrush is a long and late bloomer, to be sure. But a welcome one at that.
Honey bee on a bottlebrush at the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This is Miss Bee Haven, art work by Donna Billick. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
When you visit the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis, be sure to check out the passionflower vine clinging to the fence.
You'll see female Valley carpenter bees (Xylocopa varipuncta) seemingly speckled with gold dust. This is actually a thick coat of pollen from their foraging ventures. Underneath that gold pollen, the females are a solid black. (The males of this species are blond with green eyes.)
One of the haven's founding volunteer gardeners, Mary Patterson, a retired cattle rancher and businesswoman who was honored in 2009 as a "Friend of the College" (UC Davis College of Agricultural and Natural Resources), planted the vine there.
The vine is doing quite well.
So are the carpenter bees.
Passionflower blossoms range in color from white to lavender to red, depending on the varieties. This one sports lavender blossoms.
Passiflora is the larval host plant of the Gulf Fritillary butterflies, Agraulis vanillae, a showy reddish-orange butterfly nicknamed "The Passion Butterfly." We spotted no eggs, caterpillars or chrysalids on this particular vine, however.
The Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, planted in the fall of 2009, provides a year-around food source for the nearby bees at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility and other pollinators. It also serves to raise public awareness on the plight of honey bees, and as an educational resource to help visitors decide what to plant in their own gardens.
Maintained by the UC Department of Entomology and Nematology, it's open year around, from dawn to dusk for self-guided tours. Admission? Free. But if you want a guided tour, there's a nominal fee of $3 per person. For more information, contact Christine Casey at email@example.com.
Valley carpenter bee foraging on a passion flower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Note the golden pollen on the Valley carpenter bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Two 'streaks on a sedum.
Sounds like a song, doesn't it?
Make that two 'streaks and a honey bee.
In a way, the butterflies, with their sails up, looked like the America's Cup contestants. Yes, Oracle Team USA streaked by Emirates Team New Zealand by 44 seconds today to win the 34th America's Cup.
Sports enthusiasts called it the greatest comeback in 162 years of competition. The Oracle was down by 8-2 and then won eight consecutive races to win The Cup.
Meanwhile, the gray hairstreaks just kept foraging on the sedum, while the honey bee cast a wary eye.
Two gray hairstreaks and a honey bee sharing a sedum. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
So patient, so passionate.
The praying mantis looked hungry last Thursday when it perched on a coneflower in the half-acre Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis.
Where's breakfast? Where's lunch? Where's dinner?
Nowhere to be found.
A few honey bees and sweat bees buzzed around the predator, but didn't land.
The praying mantis changed positions, much like a fisherman who feels "skunked" in one place will try his luck at another site.
It crawled up, down and around the flower.
Half an hour later, it slid beneath the coneflower, out of the hot sun. An umbrella for shade, a place to rest, a place to prey...
Praying mantis waits and waits. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Maybe hunting is better on the other side? (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
What's on the other side? (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Keeping cool beneath the coneflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Robbin Thorp saw it first.
Talk about an eagle eye.
Thorp, a native pollinator specialist and emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, was monitoring the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis, on July 23 when something caught his eye.
The California buckwheat was waving at him.
"While looking closely at the California buckwheat flower heads, I noticed a piece of one waving but there was no wind," recalled Thorp. "I watched a linear group of florets march across to another head. I tried to get a close-up on a flower head as background, but could not get the focus right."
So he placed the "unusual life form" on his finger to capture a better image. He captured it all right: a larva covered with buckwheat florets.
Later insect photographer Allan Jones of Davis, a regular visitor at the haven, obtained a spectacular photo of the camouflage.
Thorp identified the "unusual life form" as the larva of an emerald moth Synchlora (see http://bugguide.net/node/view/747823/bgimage). "The larva pupates with its camouflage still on then turns into a delicate green geometrid adult," he said. (See http://bugguide.net/node/view/316178/bgimage for the life cycle: caterpillar to moth).
Maybe it was serendipity, but Thorp found the larva during National Moth Week, July 23-29.
Larva of an emerald moth, Synchlora, disguised in florets. (Photo by Allan Jones)
Larva of an emerald moth, Synchlora, on Robbin Thorp's finger. (Photo by Robbin Thorp)
Davis photographer Gary Zamzow (far left); native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp (center), emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, and Davis photographer Allan Jones in the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)