Learning About Native Bees with The Experts

Jan 6, 2016

Oh, what a treasure to bee-hold!

If you've ever visited UC Berkeley's Hastings Natural History Reserve in the upper Carmel Valley, Monterey County, and admired the yellow-faced bumble bees and other native bees foraging on vetch and lupine in the meadows, that's a scene you'll never forget.

But did you know that a UC Berkeley-based entomology team provides workshops there on California's native bees?

This year the team of Professor Gordon Frankie of UC Berkeley, Distinguished Emeritus Professor Robbin Thorp of UC Davis, and UC Berkeley-affiliated trio of Sara Leon Guerrero, Jaime Pawelek, and Rollin Coville, will offer a workshop June 1-5 on "California's Native Bees: Ecology and Identification."

You'll learn about many of California's 1600 species of native bees. Extremely diverse, they "are critical for providing ecosystem services not only in wild habitats but also in agricultural and urban settings," the instructors said.

"This course will provide basic information about native bee biology and ecology with a specific focus on identification to the generic level. Course participants will spend time collecting in the field at the UC Hastings Reserve and at a nearby diverse garden in Carmel Valley. They will also spend time in the lab viewing and keying collected specimens. Evening lectures on a variety of related topics will add to the field experiences. This workshop is an extension of the previously offered weekend bee workshop, with more focus on bee identification."

"Bee collections from the Hastings Reserve date back several decades, so knowledge of important bee-flower relationships are well known for this site. Participants will learn about bees' flower preferences, how to collect bees using several different methods, information on how to create a bee-friendly garden, bee photography techniques, and bee identification using generic keys and microscopes."

Participants also will have the opportunity to purchase the book, California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists, authored by Frankie, Thorp, Coville, and Barbara Ertter.

The workshop is in a rural setting, with a picturesque barn--built in 1863 by homesteader John Scott--dominating the landscape. Accommodations are in dormitory-style rooms with twin or bunk-style beds. There's also space outside for camping.  Meals are provided from dinner on Wednesday through lunch on Sunday. Workshop fee: $695/$720.

For more information and registration, access the Jepson Herbarium, UC Berkeley website or email Jaime Pawelek at jaimep23@berkeley.edu.

In the meantime, access the UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab, read about the history of Hastings here or download a PDF.