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Posts Tagged: Christmas

2020: The COVID Chase

A honey bee buzzing in a patch of catmint. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

In the year 2020, COVID chased us out of our work places and out of our fun places. So we dutifully covered our faces to cover all the bases, washed...

A honey bee buzzing in a patch of catmint. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee buzzing in a patch of catmint. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A honey bee buzzing in a patch of catmint. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A Gulf Fritillary fluttering toward its host plant, passionflower vine. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A Gulf Fritillary fluttering toward its host plant, passionflower vine. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A Gulf Fritillary fluttering toward its host plant, passionflower vine. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A praying mantis eating its prey, a Gulf Fritillary caterpillar. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A praying mantis eating its prey, a Gulf Fritillary caterpillar. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A praying mantis eating its prey, a Gulf Fritillary caterpillar. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, December 24, 2020 at 4:15 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Environment, Family, Health, Innovation, Natural Resources, Yard & Garden

Buy local to minimize the environmental impact of live Christmas trees

Christmas tree production is a big business that offers economic benefits and environmental impacts, reported Erin Blakemore in Popular Science.

Christmas trees' environmental tolls include fuel for helicopters to harvest and trucks to transport, but UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Lynn Wunderlich says fertilizer and pesticide use are the main culprits.

"There is pesticide use across the board," she said.

Christmas tree farmers can use integrated pest management tools to reduce pesticide use, including monitoring for pests and natural predators and selecting pest resistant trees, such as Nordmann and Turkish firs. 

Glyphosate is used to manage weeds between seedlings and on the walkways between trees. Wunderlich said that since the herbicide is used in small quantities - and not on the trees themselves - consumers don't have to worry about herbicide residue in their homes.

Live Christmas trees benefit the environment by capturing carbon dioxide and storing it in their branches, roots and needles. Availability of the natural option also means fewer artificial trees are set up during the holidays.

"Artificial trees have major environmental impacts," Wunderlich said. 

Since live tree impacts also stem from the distance consumers drive to purchase the trees, for the greenest tree possible, Wunderlich suggests getting to know your local tree farmer.

"Buy local, stay local," she said.

Cut the environmental impact of Christmas by buying a tree at a local farm.
Posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 8:44 AM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

The 13 Bugs of Christmas, Revisited

It's time to revisit the "Thirteen Bugs of Christmas!"  Back in 2010, Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen (now emeritus) and yours truly of the...


"On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 5 golden bees." This is a cordovan bee; an image taken in a Vacaville, Calif., pollinator garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

"On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 5 golden bees." This is a cordovan bee; an image taken in a Vacaville, Calif., pollinator garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)


"On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 11 queen bees piping." This image shows a queen bee and her retinue. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

"On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 11 queen bees piping." This image shows a queen bee and her retinue. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 1:25 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Economic Development, Environment, Health, Innovation, Natural Resources, Pest Management, Yard & Garden

Hear That Buzz on the Red Hot Poker?

A honey bee heads for a winter flowering plant, Kniphofia, in Napa, on Saturday, Dec. 28. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

On the last few days of Year 2019, where do you find a foraging honey bee? Well, if the temperature soars to 50 or 55, you might see honey bees slip...

A honey bee heads for a winter flowering plant, Kniphofia, in Napa, on Saturday, Dec. 28. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee heads for a winter flowering plant, Kniphofia, in Napa, on Saturday, Dec. 28. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A honey bee heads for a winter flowering plant, Kniphofia, in Napa, on Saturday, Dec. 28. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Check out the pollen on the honey bee foraging on a red hot poker  (genus Kniphofia). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Check out the pollen on the honey bee foraging on a red hot poker (genus Kniphofia). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Check out the pollen on the honey bee foraging on a red hot poker (genus Kniphofia). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A clump of
A clump of "red hot poker" or "Christmas cheer" (genus Kniphofia) brings winter cheer to a Napa vineyard. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A clump of "red hot poker" or "Christmas cheer" (genus Kniphofia) brings winter cheer to a Napa vineyard. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 at 3:49 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Economic Development, Environment, Natural Resources, Yard & Garden

The Thirteen Bugs of Christmas: Revisited

A golden bee, a Cordovan, sipping nectar on a lavender blossom in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Move over, "Twelve Days of Christmas." It's time to revisit the "Thirteen Bugs of Christmas!" Back in 2010, Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen (now...

A golden bee, a Cordovan, sipping nectar on a lavender blossom in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A golden bee, a Cordovan, sipping nectar on a lavender blossom in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A golden bee, a Cordovan, sipping nectar on a lavender blossom in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The varroa mite is a persistent pest of the honey bee. Here's a varroa mite on a worker bee in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The varroa mite is a persistent pest of the honey bee. Here's a varroa mite on a worker bee in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The varroa mite is a persistent pest of the honey bee. Here's a varroa mite on a worker bee in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A queen bee and her retinue. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A queen bee and her retinue. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A queen bee and her retinue. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, December 19, 2019 at 11:00 AM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Economic Development, Environment, Health, Innovation, Natural Resources, Pest Management

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