Heaven in the Bee Haven

It was heaven in the bee haven.

As temperatures climbed into the seventies last Saturday, honey bees foraged in the California native plant, Brandegee's sage (Salvia brandegeei). and pollinated the almond blossoms.

It seemed like spring.

Nearly 600 visitors crowded into the half-acre bee demonstration garden, the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven during the  seventh annual UC Davis Biodioversity Museum Day. The haven was one of 13 museums or collections offering special activities.

Visitors learned about bees, engaged in a catch-and-release bee activity with a vacuum device and made "feed-the-bees" seed cookies to take home.

The haven, part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is located on Bee Biology Road, next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. A six-foot-long bee sculpture, Miss Beehaven, by artist Donna Billick, co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, anchors the garden. Other art, coordinated by entomology professor Diana Ullman, co-founder and director of the Art/Science Fusion Program, and Billick, also graces the garden.

The haven, installed in the fall of 2009, was named for its principal donor, the premium ice cream brand, Häagen-Dazs. Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology serves as the faculty director of the haven, and Christine Casey, academic program management officer, serves as the staff manager.