Hear that buzz? Today is World Bee Day! We celebrate honey bees every day, but they are especially celebrated on May 20, World Bee Day. It's an...
Beekeeper Adelaide Grandia smiles through a pollinator cut-out board. Her grandfather is teaching her beekeeping. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Adelaide Grandia and her grandfather, Dwight Grandia of Gulf Shores, Ala., confer on a bee vacuum device. He is teaching her how to keep bees and recently set up a hive for her. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Ariel Cormier, who works in the chancellor and provost offices as manager of Budget and Financial Analyis, guides her twin daughters Casey and Gabrielle, 8, in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. The garden, located on Bee Biology Road, was installed in the fall of 2009. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Ariel Cormier shows her daughter, Gabrielle, how to use the bee vacuum device, a catch-and-release activity. At right is daughter Casey. The 8-year-old girls are twins. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Ariel Cormier with eight-year-old twin daughters Casey (left) and Gabrielle at the Miss Bee Haven sculpture. It's a six-foot-long mosaic and ceramic sculpture of a worker bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis employee David Hernandez (left) with sons Aayden, 10 (center) and Evan, 8, pose behind the pollinator cut-out board. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis employee Chunying Xu with her son, Andy, look for bees in the bee garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
My husband and I got up very early one Saturday morning to attend a lengthy meeting indoors at an office building in downtown Sacramento.
Before leaving for the day, I went out in our backyard to say hello to and check on all our plantings, young and old, to see if they needed anything before, we set out for the day. I was also sort of wishing to hang out in the yard rather than sitting indoors for the day, but we needed to attend the meeting.
We arrived at the meeting site in Sacramento and much to my surprise, it was as though that great garden energy had followed us there! Almost everywhere we looked - on, around and in this building were beautiful plantings! Most of them were jasmine plants - I don't think I had seen so much jasmine, ever. And they were in full bloom!
So, not only was I pleasantly surprised, but also thought how nice it would be to work in this building…greeted with beautiful plants, having them “escort” you up to the escalators, and enjoy seeing them swaying and twirling outside the office window for some nice work inspiration!
This got me thinking a bit more about jasmine. Jasmine has an interesting effect on people - some folks love them; some folks are allergic or just don't care for these plants and some are indifferent. In my case, I have always enjoyed them because the fragrance brings back wonderful childhood memories. I just hadn't thought that much about them until that moment standing, in front of the welcoming office building.
When I came home to our yard after the meeting that day and looked at the jasmine in our garden, I had a new respect for these beauties.
I looked around the yard, saw all of our jasmine and found a renewed appreciation for so many things they project, such as emitting beautiful fragrance, attracting pollinators (butterflies, bees, ladybugs), and providing camouflage for some unsightly views.
Spring has arrived…
CalPERS Building Entrance
CalPERS Building Interior
CalPERS Building Courtyard
Our Rain Gutter Down Spout Jasmine Camouflage
Our Peaceful Jasmine Pergola Haven
When insects, animals, weeds and disease-causing microbes make their way into California from other parts of the nation or the world, the economic and environmental impacts can be catastrophic.
A recent UN report that details the world's biodiversity crisis assigns part of the blame to the proliferation of invasive alien species. “The numbers,” the report says, “have risen by about 70%, across the 21 countries with detailed records” since the 1970s.
“It's time to better understand how invasive species affect California's biodiversity, as well as our water supply, fire regimes, recreation and agriculture,” said Sabrina Drill, UC Cooperative Extension natural resources advisor in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Drill worked with the California Invasive Plant Council and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to offer five free 40-minute mid-day webinars on invasive species as part of the multi-agency sponsored California Invasive Species Action Week.
During the first part of the week the series cover a range of organisms, from killer algae and incestuous beetles to rodents of unusual size. Later in the week, it's Weeds-A-Palooza, with talks focusing on invasive plants.
The webinars will be offered using Zoom Video Communications from 12:10 to 12:50 p.m June 3-7. All details are available online at https://ucanr.edu/sites/invasivelunch/invasivelunch2019/. Links to the Zoom meeting space will be posted on that webpage before the webinars begin.
Sabrina Drill, UCCE natural resources advisor, and Edwin Grosholz, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, UC Davis
Most people only hear about an invasive species when they are here causing problems. But preventing new invasive species from getting here in the first place requires understanding the “pathways” of introduction. From tsunamis to aquariums, container ships to canoes, Grosholz and Drill will discuss ways that freshwater and marine organisms travel to California, and how we can prevent spreading them once they arrive.
Tuesday, June 4: “What's killing California's trees? Shot hole borers, palm weevils and the rest”
Beatriz Nobua-Behrmann, urban forestry and natural resources advisor, UC Cooperative Extension in Orange County
Tree pests come to Golden State from around the world and threaten street trees, agriculture, and natural areas. Last year the legislature in Sacramento allocated $5 million to begin addressing the latest threat – shot hole borers that kill a wide variety of trees in Southern California. Nobua-Behrmann will describe how these insects damage trees and what we can do about it.
Valerie Cook-Fletcher, Nutria Eradication Incident Commander, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Nutria, a South American rodent, have caused extensive damage in Louisiana wetlands for decades. Now nutria have been found in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and its tributaries and state agencies are working to find them before they can breed and spread. Cook-Fletcher will provide an update on efforts to locate this elusive swimmer in the maze of sloughs and backwaters of California's San Joaquin Valley.
Thursday, June 6: “Citizen stewardship: Tackling giant reed in Contra Costa County”
Mike Anciaux and Bob Simmons, Walnut Creek Watershed Council
Giant reed (Arundo donax) is one of the most damaging wildland weeds in California. More than $20 million was spent to remove it from the Santa Ana River watershed in Southern California to protect the endangered Least Bell's Vireo, a songbird that nests in native streamside vegetation. On the eastern side of San Francisco Bay, citizens are uniting to find and remove hundreds of populations along Contra Costa County's creeks.
Eric Wrubel, San Francisco Bay Area Network, National Park Service
Invasive knotweed species are some of the worst weeds in the world. They have become notorious for destroying property values in Europe. Knotweed is extremely difficult to get rid of because its underground rhizomes store energy and resist herbicides. Wrubel will describe the partnership that has formed to eradicate recently found invasive knotweed in the San Geronimo Valley and Lagunitas Creek watersheds in Marin County before it can spread.
Rachael Freeman Long treasures her memories as a graduate student in entomology at the University of California, Davis. She remembers eating fried...
Rachael Long, UCCE farm advisor, leads a tour of her family farm in Yolo County in April of 2015. "Hedgerows are important for enhancing beneficial insects, including bees and natural enemies, for better biocontrol and crop pollination in adjacent field crops, with measurable economic benefits," she says. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
When Alejandro Del Pozo-Valdivia started his new job as UC Cooperative Extension entomology advisor in the Salinas Valley last year, he immediately faced an urgent problem in organic lettuce production.
Pest control advisers were finding lettuce aphids in plants that were supposed to be resistant.
Because lettuce aphids crawl deep within the heart of the lettuce head, and because organic growers do not have many options for chemical pest control, the industry relies on patented lettuce varieties that have been conventionally bred to be unpalatable to the pest.
“With other types of aphids, they stay on the outer leaves. When you harvest and clean the head, you are taking the aphids out,” Del Pozo-Valdivia said. “But with the lettuce aphid, it's almost impossible to remove them. We don't want consumers to buy a lettuce with these tiny red insects inside.”
Organic producers pay a premium for resistant seeds to grow lettuce without the lettuce aphid and are mystified by the sudden appearance of the pest inside lettuce heads. Has the aphid developed the capability to feed on resistant varieties? Is there a different lettuce aphid biotype in the area? Since Del Pozo-Valdivia is an entomologist, he is focusing on the pest.
With funding from the California Leafy Green Research Board, Del Pozo-Valdivia and his co-principal investigator, USDA scientist Jim McCreight, have launched a research project to collect and identify the lettuce aphids that are feeding and reproducing in the resistant lettuce in the Salinas Valley.
“I'm asking growers and PCAs to contact me if they find any red aphids in resistant lettuce so we can confirm the type of aphid,” Del Pozo-Valdivia said. “
Seed companies that hold the patent on resistant lettuce also experienced broken resistance in Europe a few years ago, Del Pozo-Valdivia said. They found that the pest in Europe was a different biotype and are already working on identifying genes to maintain the lettuce aphid resistance.
“We haven't seen any scientific report for the U.S. That's why we decided to take the lead. To take the bull by the horns and identify the aphids here in the Salinas Valley,” Del Pozo-Valdivia said.