Bee-ing All You Can Be and See and Do

Sep 20, 2017

What a weekend for bee and gardening enthusiasts!

It's a shame we all can't clone ourselves and be in two places at the same time! The 40th annual Western Apicultural Society conference at the University of California, Davis, just concluded and now several more items appear on the University of California calendar.

California Center for Urban Horticulture's 'Bee-ing a Better Bee Gardener'
The California Center for Urban Horticulture, UC Davis, and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology are co-sponsoring a workshop," Bee-ing a Better Bee Gardener, focusing on pollinators in the garden, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23 in Room 2 of Kleiber Hall, UC Davis campus. It's a fundraiser for the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre garden next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road. 

Following the program at Kleiber Hall, participants will visit the haven and are invited to purchase plants at a pollinator plant sale.

Organizers said that "you should plan to attend only if you are a Master Gardener, 'keen' gardener, or have an introductory background knowledge to one of the following: entomology, botany, horticulture, or plant/insect morphology or taxonomy.

The registration fee of $50 includes a continental breakfast and lunch. For more information, contact program manager Eileen Hollett at or (530)-752 6642.

UC Hopland Research and Extension Center's "Native Bees in Your Backyard" 
The UC Hopland Research and Extension Center has scheduled a four-hour program, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23 on "Native Bees in Your Backyard" at two sites in Hopland. UC Berkeley professor Gordon Frankie and entomologist/photographer Rollin Coville, co-authors of California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists, will discuss native bees. They will be joined by Kate Frey, award-winning gardener and co-author of “The Bee-Friendly Garden" who will provide a guided tour of her gardens and explain what plants attract pollinators.  Her gardens are renowned for their floristic diversity, color and the habitats they provide for wildlife.

Participants will meet  from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Kate Frey Gardens and from 11:30 to 2 p.m. at the UC Hopland and Research Center,  4070 University Road,  Hopland, from 11:30 to 2 p.m. A locally sourced, honey-themed lunch, catered by Beth Keiffer, will be served at noon.

Hannah Bird, community educator at the Hopland Research and Extension Center, says attendees will "learn about some of the 1600 native bee species found in California--from the leafcutting bee to the cuckoo bee, the sweat bee to the mining bee!" They will learn how to identify them and how to accommodate their needs. For more information and directions, Bird can be contacted at or (707) 744-1424, Ext. 105. 

If you haven't purchased your copy of California Bees and Blooms, it's a treasure. It's the work of Gordon Frankie  and photographer Rollin Coville (as mentioned above); Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis; and Barbara Ertter, UC Berkeley botanist. It's been described as a landmark book.

And now, one more!

Ready for one more? This one, however, is free, and no reservations are required. The Bohart Museum of Entomology of UC Davis will host an open house, "Insects and U," on Sunday, Sept. 24, 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. The open house, a family friendly event, is free and open to the public of all ages.

"This purposely coincides with UC Davis dorm move-in weekend," says Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. "Our target audience is new students and their families, but everyone is welcome. The focus is how to study insects at home and in school--any age."

Entomologist Jeff Smith, who curates the moth and butterfly collection, will show attendees how to pin and spread butterflies during the three-hour open house.  Smith, a resident of Rocklin, curates the 400,000-specimen (and growing) collection. The entomologist has spread the wings of more than 200,000 butterflies and moths, or about 7000 a year, since 1988. “I do most of the work at my home, where I spread and identify specimens and add them to the museum collection,” he said.

“My life is dedicated to this passion of entomology,” said Smith, an associate of the Bohart Museum and a member of the Bohart Museum Society and the Lepidopterists' Society. He was named a recipient of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences' "Friend of the College" award in 2015.

Undergraduate advisor Brandy Fleming will be on hand (tabling) to talk about classes, careers, and fun with entomology. Yang is also planning a display featuring cabbage white butterflies for educators.

The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology, is a world-renowned insect museum that houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It also maintains a live “petting zoo,” featuring walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, praying mantids, and tarantulas. A gift shop, open year around, offers T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.

The Bohart Museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free. 

For more information, email or access the website or Facebook page.

So there you have it--bees and gardens on Saturday, Sept. 23, and "Insects and U" (including butterflies) on Sunday, Sept. 24.