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An immature lady beetle (larvae) chowing down on an oleander aphid. This photo was taken on a milkweed plant in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Have you ever seen the larva of a lady beetle (aka ladybug) dining on an aphid? Lights! Camera! Action! So here is this charming little immature...

An immature lady beetle (larvae) chowing down on an oleander aphid. This photo was taken on a milkweed plant in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
An immature lady beetle (larvae) chowing down on an oleander aphid. This photo was taken on a milkweed plant in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

An immature lady beetle (larvae) chowing down on an oleander aphid. This photo was taken on a milkweed plant in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A well-fed adult lady beetle (aka ladybug) ignores a fat Oleander aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A well-fed adult lady beetle (aka ladybug) ignores a fat Oleander aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A well-fed adult lady beetle (aka ladybug) ignores a fat Oleander aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 5:27 PM

The Memory Plant

Can you remember where you put your car keys?  Recent work in the new system of study of plant signaling and memory shows that plants may have better memories than we do!

There are fascinating plants high in the Peruvian Andes that have this amazing skill set of “memory”.  The Nasa poissoniana, is a vivid star-shaped flowering plant.  Besides the beautiful blooms with their talented stamens, they are also known for the stinging hairs on each stem.  Touching the stems is “really painful.”

One of their greatest talents of the Nasa poissoniana is that they can gymnastically wave around their stamens—organs used for fertilization—to maximize pollen distribution.  Other plants curl their leaves or catapult their seeds—but this amazing plant just “does the twist” for maximum pollination!

Even more surprising, in a recent study in “Plant Signaling and Behavior”, it is suggested that individual plants can adjust the timing of these movements based on their previous experiences with insect pollinators.  In other words—they learn from the past.

Over the course of a flower's life, individual stamens swing one by one into the flower's center.  When a bee comes calling for nectar, it triggers the next stamen to come sweeping in, ready for a new bee—or maybe the same bee's return.  In this way, the flowers maximize their chances of transferring pollen to many different flowers.

Perhaps the most important part of this observation and discovery is that it helps create a broader picture of what plants can sense and learn and do.  Now, if we can only remember where we put those keys!

images andes Peru 2
images andes Peru 2

Nasa Poissoniana
Nasa Poissoniana

Posted on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 11:17 AM

This Bug's for You--And That One, Too!

UC Davis entomology student and Bohart associate Lohit Garikipati shows butterfly specimens to Olivia Bingen, 4, and her father, Steve Bingen of the UC Davis Department of Music. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This bug's for you. And this one, too. And that one over there! When UC Davis employees and their offspring visited the Bohart Museum of...

UC Davis entomology student and Bohart associate Lohit Garikipati shows butterfly specimens to Olivia Bingen, 4, and her father, Steve Bingen of the UC Davis Department of Music. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis entomology student and Bohart associate Lohit Garikipati shows butterfly specimens to Olivia Bingen, 4, and her father, Steve Bingen of the UC Davis Department of Music. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis entomology student and Bohart associate Lohit Garikipati shows butterfly specimens to Olivia Bingen, 4, and her father, Steve Bingen of the UC Davis Department of Music. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

It tickles! Camilla Fuerte, 7,  reacts to a tarantula as her brother Joel Fuerte, 10, takes it all in stride. They are the children of Gabby Sanchez Fuerte of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering. In the foreground is senior museum scientist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
It tickles! Camilla Fuerte, 7, reacts to a tarantula as her brother Joel Fuerte, 10, takes it all in stride. They are the children of Gabby Sanchez Fuerte of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering. In the foreground is senior museum scientist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

It tickles! Camilla Fuerte, 7, reacts to a tarantula as her brother Joel Fuerte, 10, takes it all in stride. They are the children of Gabby Sanchez Fuerte of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering. In the foreground is senior museum scientist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Ilyssa Boco, first-year entomology student at UC Davis, shows stick insects to Camellia Aranda, 8, and her sister, Isabella, 4. Their mother, Laura Aranda, works with the administrative Orange Cluster, which serves the Department of Political Science, and Department of Communication and Linguistics. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Ilyssa Boco, first-year entomology student at UC Davis, shows stick insects to Camellia Aranda, 8, and her sister, Isabella, 4. Their mother, Laura Aranda, works with the administrative Orange Cluster, which serves the Department of Political Science, and Department of Communication and Linguistics. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Ilyssa Boco, first-year entomology student at UC Davis, shows stick insects to Camellia Aranda, 8, and her sister, Isabella, 4. Their mother, Laura Aranda, works with the administrative Orange Cluster, which serves the Department of Political Science, and Department of Communication and Linguistics. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Ximena Aranda, 6, and her sister, Isabella, 3, check out the insect specimens at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. Their mother, Laura Aranda, works with the administrative Orange Cluster, which serves the UC Davis Department of Political Science and the Department of Communication and Linguistics. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Ximena Aranda, 6, and her sister, Isabella, 3, check out the insect specimens at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. Their mother, Laura Aranda, works with the administrative Orange Cluster, which serves the UC Davis Department of Political Science and the Department of Communication and Linguistics. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Ximena Aranda, 6, and her sister, Isabella, 3, check out the insect specimens at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. Their mother, Laura Aranda, works with the administrative Orange Cluster, which serves the UC Davis Department of Political Science and the Department of Communication and Linguistics. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bohart associate and UC Davis graduate Emma Cluff shows tomato hornworms (Manduca quinquemaculata) to Isabella Aranda, 3, and her sister Ximena Aranda, 6. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Bohart associate and UC Davis graduate Emma Cluff shows tomato hornworms (Manduca quinquemaculata) to Isabella Aranda, 3, and her sister Ximena Aranda, 6. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bohart associate and UC Davis graduate Emma Cluff shows tomato hornworms (Manduca quinquemaculata) to Isabella Aranda, 3, and her sister Ximena Aranda, 6. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Katie Eting, 6,  wearing a shirt,
Katie Eting, 6, wearing a shirt, "Girls Are Heroes" and her sister, Lily Eting, wearing "Every Day is Caturday," check out stick insects with their mother and UC Davis employee, Jennifer Eting (center) and Ilyssa Boco (far left), first-year entomology student. In back is Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Katie Eting, 6, wearing a shirt, "Girls Are Heroes" and her sister, Lily Eting, wearing "Every Day is Caturday," check out stick insects with their mother and UC Davis employee, Jennifer Eting (center) and Ilyssa Boco (far left), first-year entomology student. In back is Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

McKenzie Kennedy, 8, granddaughter of UC Davis employee Sherly Blackshire, proudly holds a stick insect. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
McKenzie Kennedy, 8, granddaughter of UC Davis employee Sherly Blackshire, proudly holds a stick insect. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

McKenzie Kennedy, 8, granddaughter of UC Davis employee Sherly Blackshire, proudly holds a stick insect. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Katie Eting, 6, and her mother Jennifer Eting learn about the insect specimens at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Katie Eting, 6, and her mother Jennifer Eting learn about the insect specimens at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Katie Eting, 6, and her mother Jennifer Eting learn about the insect specimens at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

C. J. Babowal (center), 5, delights in seeing a stick insect on the arm of his brother, Roger Babowal, 9. At left is Katie Eting,6. The boys' mother, Crystal Babowal, works in UC Davis Continuing Education. Katie's mother, Jennifer Eting, works in Finance Operations and Administration. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
C. J. Babowal (center), 5, delights in seeing a stick insect on the arm of his brother, Roger Babowal, 9. At left is Katie Eting,6. The boys' mother, Crystal Babowal, works in UC Davis Continuing Education. Katie's mother, Jennifer Eting, works in Finance Operations and Administration. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

C. J. Babowal (center), 5, delights in seeing a stick insect on the arm of his brother, Roger Babowal, 9. At left is Katie Eting,6. The boys' mother, Crystal Babowal, works in UC Davis Continuing Education. Katie's mother, Jennifer Eting, works in Finance Operations and Administration. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Camellia Aranda (foreground) likes a Madagascar hissing cockroach. In the background, Julianna “Ju Ju” Smith, 4, isn't so sure, as she hides behind the  her father, Justin Smith of Animal Science. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Camellia Aranda (foreground) likes a Madagascar hissing cockroach. In the background, Julianna “Ju Ju” Smith, 4, isn't so sure, as she hides behind the her father, Justin Smith of Animal Science. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Camellia Aranda (foreground) likes a Madagascar hissing cockroach. In the background, Julianna “Ju Ju” Smith, 4, isn't so sure, as she hides behind the her father, Justin Smith of Animal Science. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Simon Dvorak, who works with UC Davis Academic Technology Services, visited the Bohart Museum of Entomology with his son Max, 7. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Simon Dvorak, who works with UC Davis Academic Technology Services, visited the Bohart Museum of Entomology with his son Max, 7. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Simon Dvorak, who works with UC Davis Academic Technology Services, visited the Bohart Museum of Entomology with his son Max, 7. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The Rose Show Dilemma

I am a member of a local Rose Society and this past weekend we had our annual rose show.   I have been in this society for several years, and this is the first year I exhibited.  (Don't ask me why.)   There is general agreement that this rose show is the high point of being a member; one horn of the dilemma.  It is, after all, the one time the members act as a group and there is a frenzy of activity surrounding the event.  There is an amazing amount of scurrying around to arrange a venue and to move all of what it takes to actually show the roses.  As an exhibiter, I had to cut the roses the night before the show and appear early on the morning of the show to prepare each bloom.  Several times I asked myself if this kind of exhaustion was why I joined in the first place.  And then there are the rules of just how to show the flowers – one flower per stem, arrangements, and bouquets, multiple flowers per stem.  I believe there were 35 exhibition categories.  It is less the amount of work involved that is tedious, but rather the plethora of rules surrounding the event that make it questionable.

The other horn, and thus the dilemma, is growing the roses.  Actually, they are rather easy plants to grow.  They are not the thirstiest plants, they want sun and a place that is relatively undisturbed so their nature can have full rein to do its thing.  And they give back a lot in beauty and fragrance.  However, on my own accord, I find myself having to do a lot for them: fertilizing, mulching, dead-heading, replacing the unproductive ones with new plants.  Not to forget standing back and adoring them and getting close and smelling them. 

So the best I can resolve my dilemma is to tell myself that there is no such thing as a free ride.   With relatively little mental and physical effort, I can have both.  And so, forward I go: growing and showing.

photo by Lowell Cooper
photo by Lowell Cooper

Posted on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 2:51 PM

UCCE ag assistant Michael Yang is a lifeline for Hmong farmers

Long-time UC Cooperative Extension ag assistant Michael Yang broadcasts a weekly "Hmong Agriculture Radio Show," providing a crucial connection for immigrant farmers with ag information and services, reported Jessica Kutz in High Country News.

“His voice is really important,” said Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, UCCE advisor to small-scale farmers in Fresno and Tulare counties.

During his one-hour broadcast on KBIF radio, Yang plays traditional Hmong folk music, reads through market prices for Asian vegetables, provides timely farming advice, pesticide safety and labor information, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration updates. He started the program about 30 years ago.

“A lot of farmers said we need to be aware of what is going on,” he said. “So I talked to my boss and we were able to get some grants to help the radio announce agriculture (information) to the small farm community.” 

The article said Yang first tried to connect with the Hmong community by going door-to-door, but farmers were distrustful of government meddling. With their radios turned to programming in their native language, farmers listen openly.

UCCE agricultural assistant Michael Yang, left, and Van Thao snack on freshly picked melon during a field visit.
Posted on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 9:25 AM
Tags: Michael Yang (9)
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

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