Everything's Coming Up Bees at UC Davis!

Jan 29, 2016

Everything's coming up bees!

A number of eminent bee scientists will be speaking soon at UC Davis. They include David Tarby, Gene Robinson and Dennis vanEngelsdorp.

David Tarpy, Wednesday, Feb. 3
Extension apiculturist/professor David Tarpy of North Carolina State University will present a seminar on "Young Regality: a Day in the Life of a Virgin Queen Bee"  from 12:10 to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 3 in 122 Briggs Hall, Kleiber Hall Drive, UC Davis.

The seminar, free and open to all interested persons, is part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's noonhour seminars. It also will be recorded for later posting on UCTV. His host is Elina Niño, Extension apiculturist, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.

"Social insects have long fascinated entomologists, and honey bees have been a model system for their study," said Tarpy, who received his doctorate in entomology at UC Davis in 2000 with major professor Robert Page, former chair of the Department of Entomology and now university provost emeritus and Foundation chair of Life Sciences, Arizona State University. "At the heart of the colony is a single queen, the mother of all nestmates and critical member for colony productivity. The natural history of queens is a fascinating story, one that interweaves the complexities of social behavior, genetics, and evolutionary ecology."

Tarpy joined the North Carolina State University faculty in 2003 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship with Tom Seeley of Cornell University. He received his bachelor's degree in biology in 1993 from Hobart College and his master's degree in biology in 1995 from Bucknell University.

Tarpy focuses his research on the biology and behavior of honey bee queens—using techniques including field manipulations, behavioral observation, instrumental insemination, and molecular genetics—in order to better improve the overall health of queens and their colonies.

Gene Robinson, Monday, Feb. 22
Eminent honey bee scientist Gene E. Robinson of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will speak on “Me to We: Using Honey Bees to Find the Genetic Roots of Social Life” at the UC Davis Chancellor's Colloquium on Monday, Feb. 22 in Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. This was initially scheduled to take place in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, but has been changed due to the increasing registration.

His presentation, part of the Chancellor's Colloquium Distinguished Speakers Series, is from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Registration is underway on the Chancellor's Colloquium series website. The event is free and open to the public but registration is required.

Robinson pioneered the application of genomics to the study of social behavior and led the effort to sequence the honey bee genome.

Robinson is the University Swanlund chair and directs the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) and the Bee Research Facility. He received his doctorate in entomology from Cornell University in 1986 and joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989.

Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Saturday, May 7
The second annual UC Davis Bee Symposium is scheduled Saturday, May 7, with details forthcoming. We do know, however, that bee scientist  Dennis vanEngelsdorp of the University of Maryland will be among the featured  speakers, according to Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center,  and Extension apiculturist Elina Niño, of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. So mark your calendars for this all-day symposium.

Van Engelsdorp says on his website: "My research focus on pollinator health, and honey bee health specifically.  I am particularly intrigued with using an epidemiological approach to understanding and (importantly) improving honey bee health. This approach is multi-faceted, requiring understanding both the etiology of individual bee diseases and the large scale monitoring of colony health."

Van Engelsdor presented an outstanding TED talk on "A Plea for Bees" back in July of 2008 and you can watch it here. The teaser: "Bees are dying in droves. Why? Leading apiarist Dennis vanEngelsdorp looks at the gentle, misunderstood creature's important place in nature and the mystery behind its alarming disappearance."

If you missed the 2015 UC Davis Bee Symposium, you missed hearing Marla Spivak, the distinguished McKnight Professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota and winner of a MacArthur Genius Grant, deliver the keynote address. She delivered a TED talk in June of 2003 on our disappearing bees and you can watch it here.

Meanwhile, check out the Honey and Pollination Center website to see photos and data from the inaugural UC Davis Bee Symposium.  UC Davis is the place to "bee" to learn about bees.

The bees are a'buzzing!