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Posts Tagged: Neal Williams

Learning About Native Bees

Male metallic green sweat bee, Agapostemon texanus, nectaring on a seaside daisy, Erigeron glaucus Wayne Roderick.  (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

So you want to learn about native bees...Just drop by the Davis Public Library next Thursday night.Pollination ecologist Neal Williams,...

Male metallic green sweat bee, Agapostemon texanus, nectaring on a seaside daisy, Erigeron glaucus Wayne Roderick.  (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Male metallic green sweat bee, Agapostemon texanus, nectaring on a seaside daisy, Erigeron glaucus Wayne Roderick. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Male metallic green sweat bee, Agapostemon texanus, nectaring on a seaside daisy, Erigeron glaucus Wayne Roderick. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, May 4, 2012 at 9:29 PM

The best of the best

When you drive around Yolo County farmlands, you may see them: a colorful mix of native forbs meant to attract bees and other beneficial insects.

What's a forb? A forb is a broad-leaved herb (as opposed to grass) that commonly grows in a field, prairie, or meadow or alongside farmland.

What's the best mix of native forbs? 

Native pollinator specialist Neal Williams, assistant professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, and research associate Kimiora Ward are researching which native forbs perform the best.

So far, the plants that have performed the best in their Yolo County trials are:

  • Phacelia tanacetifolia,known by its common name, lacy phacelia
  • Eschscholzia californica, California golden poppy, the state flower
  • Lupinus densiflorus, golden lupine
  • Lupinus succulentus, hollowleaf annual lupine or arroyo lupine
  • Lupinus formosus, summer or western lupine
  • Phacelia californica, California phacelia or rock phacelia
  • Trichostema lanceolatum, vinegar weed
  • Grindelia camporum, Great Valley gumplant
  • Helianthus bolanderi, Bolander's sunflower

Take the lacy phacelia. You often see it planted along crop fields where it is known as a good bee plant. It attracts beneficial insects such a honey bees and syrphid flies (aka hover flies), adding a double bonus to the farmer's land. The syrphid fly is a good biological pest; in its larval stage, it gobbles aphids.

The UC Davis researchers' grant, "'Development and Validation of Protocols for Assessing Functioning of Pollinator Habitat Plantings for Agricultural Settings," is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is aimed at improving pollinator habitat plantings.

This research should prove invaluable.

As Williams said: "Recent declines in honey bee populations and the threat of losses in pollination service to economically important crops has raised awareness of the importance of restoring and conserving native bee diversity and abundance."  


Honey bee heading toward lacy phacelia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee heading toward lacy phacelia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Honey bee heading toward Phacelia tanacetifolia, also known as a lacy phacelia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 8:15 AM

'A' Is for Almonds

Neal Williams discusses native bees at a recent conference in Woodland.  (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bee specialists Neal Williams and Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology are among those quoted in a comprehensive news story, "Hives...

Neal Williams discusses native bees at a recent conference in Woodland.  (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Neal Williams discusses native bees at a recent conference in Woodland. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Neal Williams discusses native bees at a recent conference in Woodland. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Honey bee working an almond blossom at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee working an almond blossom at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Honey bee working an almond blossom at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, March 5, 2012 at 8:31 PM

What Governs the Quality of Pollen?

Female sweat bee in the genus Lasioglossum, on a rock purslane. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

If you're interested in pollen and pollinators, you'll want to attend the UC Davis Department of Entomology seminar at 12:10 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 1...

Female sweat bee in the genus Lasioglossum, on a rock purslane. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Female sweat bee in the genus Lasioglossum, on a rock purslane. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Female sweat bee in the genus Lasioglossum, on a rock purslane. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

T'ai Roulston at State Arboretum of Virginia.
T'ai Roulston at State Arboretum of Virginia.

T'ai Roulston at State Arboretum of Virginia.

Posted on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 9:33 PM

The Pollinator Punch at the International Level

UC Davis pollination ecologist Neal Williams is one of the featured speakers at an international symposium. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

It's off to Japan to talk about bumble bees and other pollinators. Pollination ecologist Neal Williams, assistant professor of entomology at UC...

UC Davis pollination ecologist Neal Williams is one of the featured speakers at an international symposium. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis pollination ecologist Neal Williams is one of the featured speakers at an international symposium. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Pollination ecologist Neal Williams, assistant professor of entomology at UC Davis, will be one of the featured speakers at the International Symposium on Pollinator Conservation. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

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