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National Pollinator Week: Open house at UC Davis Bee Garden

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June 18-24 is National Pollinator Week.

Do you know where your pollinators are? Think bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.

And think flies. Especially syrphid flies, also known as "flower flies" and "hover flies."

The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology is hosting an open house during National Pollinator Week from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its bee garden, Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, west of the central UC Davis campus.

Here's what you can expect to see or do:

  • learn how to catch and observe bees up close
  • see honey bees at work in an observation beehive
  • learn about bee diversity and identification
  • learn about what and how to plant for bees
  • learn about growing and good pollination in home fruit gardens
  • see easy-to-grow bee plants and solitary bee houses available for a donation to the garden.

The Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, installed in the fall of 2009 and located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, off Hopkins Road, is a half-acre garden devoted to bee pollinator conservation and education. It was founded and sprang to life during the term of interim department chair, Professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, who coordinated the entire project. Kimsey was singled out for her work when the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America honored her and four others – "The Bee Team"– with the 2013 outstanding team award. 

A Sausalito team – landscape architects Donald Sibbett and Ann F. Baker, interpretative planner Jessica Brainard and exhibit designer Chika Kurotaki – won the design competition. The judges were Professor Kimsey; founding garden manager Missy Borel (now Missy Borel Gable), then of the California Center for Urban Horticulture; David Fujino, executive director, California Center for Urban Horticulture at UC Davis; Aaron Majors, construction department manager, Cagwin & Dorward Landscape Contractors, based in Novato; Diane McIntyre, senior public relations manager, Häagen-Dazs ice cream; Heath Schenker, professor of environmental design, UC Davis; Jacob Voit, sustainability manager and construction project manager, Cagwin and Dorward Landscape Contractors; and Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.

Others with a key role in the founding and "look" of the garden included the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, founded and directed by the duo of entomologist/artist Diane Ullman, professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, and self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick of Davis. Miss Bee Haven, a six-foot long worker bee sculpture, the work of Billick, anchors the garden. The art in the garden is the work of their students, ranging from those in Entomology 1 class to community residents. Eagle Scout Derek Tully planned, organized and built a state-of-the-art fence around the garden.

Why are pollinators so crucial? Take it from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation:

"Pollinators are essential to our environment. The ecological service they provide is necessary for the reproduction of over 85 percent of the world's flowering plants, including more than two-thirds of the world's crop species. The United States alone grows more than 100 crops that either need or benefit from pollinators, and the economic value of these native pollinators is estimated at $3 billion per year in the U.S. Beyond agriculture, pollinators are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems. Fruits and seeds derived from insect pollination are a major part of the diet of approximately 25 percent of all birds, and of mammals ranging from red-backed voles to grizzly bears. In many places, the essential service of pollination is at risk from habitat loss, pesticide use, and introduced diseases."

So, on Saturday, June 23, you won't see any red-backed voles or grizzly bears. But you'll see bees, butterflies, birds and beetles.

And flies. Syprhid flies.

For more information on the open house, access https://hhbhgarden.ucdavis.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Pollinator-week-flyer-2018-1.pdf

A honey bee foraging on a blanket flower, Gallardia, in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

 

A male Valley carpenter bee, Xylocopa varipuncta, nectaring on a California native, foothill penstemon, Penstemon heterophyllus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The Western tiger swallowtail, Papilio rutulis, was a frequent visitor to the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven during the early years. Note the spider lurking beneath the zinnia blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This sculpture of a six-foot long worker bee, titled "Miss Bee Haven," anchors the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. It is the work of self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick (pictured) of Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A syprhid fly, aka "flower fly" or "hover fly," foraging on Echium wildpretii, the "tower of jewels." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 2:29 PM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

Migrating bats may be resting, not sick, says UC bat expert

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Addition to catching insects in flight, pallid bats also hunt on the ground for prey, such as crickets, grasshoppers and scorpions.

California is in the middle of the Pacific Flyway, a major north-south flyway for migratory birds, and also bats, that extends from Alaska to South America.

“Every autumn, migratory bats, such as the Mexican free-tailed bats, travel to their overwintering grounds in Southern California and Mexico, where there's plenty of bugs to eat; they come back each spring to raise their families,” said Rachael Long, a UC Cooperative Extension advisor who studies bats.

Bats are beneficial because they feed on insects, including mosquitoes and pests such as codling moths that damage fruit and nut crops. The economic value of bats for pest control on farms has been estimated by some studies to exceed $23 billion per year. Long, who serves Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties, is studying the value of bats for pest control in walnut orchards.

In the city of Davis, officials recently warned people to stay away from bats after bats found on the UC Davis campus tested positive for rabies. Long agrees with the warning, but worries that it might also result in healthy bats being killed.

“This is most unfortunate for people and bats, but not a surprise at this time of year. Right now, thousands of bats are flying through our great Central Valley, migrating south for the winter, just like ducks and geese, so there's a higher chance of contact,” she said “We just don't see bats as much because they are flying at night, using the stars, earth's magnetic field, and landscapes to navigate.”

Rachael Long views bats at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife area, under the causeway that connects Davis with Sacramento where thousands roost in the expansion joints during the summer.

Their journey south is lengthy, from as far north as Washington state to Mexico, and exhausting, so bats need to rest along the way.

“Sometimes you'll see one or more tucked up in the corner of your house, such as under an eave,” Long said. “If so, use this as an opportunity to share with others the amazing life of a bat that can fly over a thousand miles to their overwintering grounds and back again in the spring. Leave them alone, let them rest, and they will fly away after they've rested and recovered.”

If you have to move a bat, she notes you should wear gloves and not handle a bat with bare hands because they will bite in self-defense.

“If you find a bat on the ground, place a box over the bat and using a piece of card, slip it under, then gently and carefully slide the bat into the box,” Long said. “Place the box at 4 to 5 feet off the ground and open it (bats usually can't take off from the ground). The bat can then crawl out of the box in its own time and fly away.”

“If the bat does not fly away within 30 minutes, it is probably sick or injured. In this case, contact a wildlife rescue unit in your area.”

Long noted that animal control officers have to euthanize bats to test for rabies.

“The bat may be perfectly healthy, just tired,” she said. “If no people or pets have obviously touched the bat, you can call a wildlife rescue organization. If in doubt, call animal control.”

If a bat does have rabies, Long said, “Rabies dies within five to 10 minutes after the bat dies.”

For more information on the benefits of bats, see Long's post in UC ANR's Green Blog, “Bats in the Belfry? No, Bats in Walnut Orchards” at //ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=17395.

Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 3:36 PM
Tags: bats (15), Rachael Long (8)

Rachael Long: A Boy, a Bat, a Coyote and a Crow

Pallid bats, shown here hanging upside down, were featured at Rachael Long's presentation on her second book,

It doesn't get more real. Yolo County Farm Advisor and children's book author Rachael Freeman Long remembers telling her son stories about an...

Pallid bats, shown here hanging upside down, were featured at Rachael Long's presentation on her second book,
Pallid bats, shown here hanging upside down, were featured at Rachael Long's presentation on her second book, "Valley of Fire,"at the Avid Reader, Davis. She will speak on her latest and last book in the trilogy, "River of No Return," at 1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20 at the Avid Reader. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Pallid bats, shown here hanging upside down, were featured at Rachael Long's presentation on her second book, "Valley of Fire,"at the Avid Reader, Davis. She will speak on her latest and last book in the trilogy, "River of No Return," at 1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20 at the Avid Reader. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Rachael Long, in a presentation at the Avid Reader, shows a bat house. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Rachael Long, in a presentation at the Avid Reader, shows a bat house. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Rachael Long, in a presentation at the Avid Reader, shows a bat house. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at 5:46 PM

Pollinator Pavilion: A Prized Exhibit at UC Davis Picnic Day

Monarch butterfly nectaring on plants inside the 2015 Pollination Pavilion enclosure. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Pollinator Pavilion. Picnic Day. They go together like honey bees on bee balm and bumble bees on tomatoes.  When you attend the 102nd annual...

Monarch butterfly nectaring on plants inside the 2015 Pollination Pavilion enclosure. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Monarch butterfly nectaring on plants inside the 2015 Pollination Pavilion enclosure. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Monarch butterfly nectaring on plants inside the 2015 Pollination Pavilion enclosure. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Crowds peered through the 2015 Pollinator Pavilion enclosure and then entered excitedly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Crowds peered through the 2015 Pollinator Pavilion enclosure and then entered excitedly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Crowds peered through the 2015 Pollinator Pavilion enclosure and then entered excitedly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2016 at 5:03 PM

Non-native snails introduced by French for escargot

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The brown garden snail is found in 26 California counties. It was introduced from Europe 'with an eye to the pot.'
A perennial bane in many California gardens, brown snails were intentionally introduced into a vineyard in the mid-1800s in Santa Clara County "with an eye to the pot," reported Dan Brekke on KQED News. The snails are highly prized in Europe as escargot. The brown snail joined many other species of native and non-native snails and slugs that are detailed on a UC Agriculture and Natural Resources website dedicated to the slimy mollusks.

Approximately 280 species of snails and slugs are found in California; 242 are thought to be native. The vast majority of the native species are not considered to be pests of nurseries or other production systems. 

The most damaging snails and slugs are those that have been accidentally or purposely introduced from areas outside of the US. Most of California's pest gastropods are European species.

Other news:

The Chico News & Review published a profile of local UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advsior Dani Lightle. Lightle works with Glenn County growers of walnuts, almonds, prunes, olives, pistachios, pecans and fruit. “Basically, if it grows on a tree, it comes my way,” said Lightle, referring to the calls she receives at her Orland office. The article provided background information about UC Cooperative Extension and ANR. "The system's purpose was to be a bridge between public universities and the general public," the article says.

The news website Ensia.com reported on research underway in Northern California on the role of bats in orchard pest control. An intern, under the guidance of UC ANR farm advisor Rachael Long, is comparing orchards with nearby bat boxes with orchards that do not have the convenient dwellings for the flying rodents. "If you increase diversity by relying on insects, bats, raptors, etc., you help strengthen your farming system," Long said.

 

Posted on Monday, September 28, 2015 at 11:28 AM
Tags: bats (15), Dani Lightle (1), Rachael Long (8), slugs (1), snails (1)

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