Show Me the Honey! (And the Wonder of Bees!)

Oct 14, 2011

Honey in the morning
Honey in the evening
Honey at suppertime
Be my little honey
And love me all the time...

So sang the McGuire Sisters in their 1958 hit tune, "Sugartime."

And so will sing the Honeybee Trio of Vacaville at the Honey! event on Friday, Oct. 21 in the UC Davis Conference Center. The site is located across from the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

The public celebration of honey and bees, set from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., will include talks by five UC Davis or former UC Davis faculty, a honey-themed lunch, a "best honey" contest and a reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m. where the Honeybee Trio will sing.

The group, together for three years, includes Karli Bosler, 16, Sarah McElwain, 15, and Natalie Angst, 16. They visited the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at UC Davis today, checked out the six-foot-long bee sculpture by Davis artist Donna Billick, and met with Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen and native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology.

Does anyone in the Honeybee Trio keep bees? No, but Natalie's aunt is a beekeeper in Fremont.

At the Oct. 21st event, beekeepers are invited to bring their best jar of honey for a judging contest. Attendees will decide the winners, and prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners.

Honey varieties are expected to include clover, fireweed, orange blossom, eucalyptus, tupelo, safflower and buckwheat. Further details will be announced on the RMI website at

“There will be special prizes for the best honey,” said event coordinator Clare Hasler-Lewis, executive director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science (RMI), which is sponsoring the event.

Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Department of Entomology, a co-sponsor, will coordinate the honey tasteoff.  He also spearheads the honey tasting at Briggs Hall during the annual UC Davis Picnic Day celebration.

Morning speakers  are Mussen, who will discuss “The Wonder of Honey Bees”; assistant professor/bee biologist Brian Johnson, who will speak on “How Bees Cooperate to Make Honey and What they Do With It When We Don't”; and emeritus professor/bee scientist Norman Gary, an author and professional bee wrangler, whose topic is  “Hobby Beekeeping in Urban Environments.”

Afternoon speakers are Louis Grivetti,  professor emeritus, Department of Nutrition, discussing “Historical Uses of Honey as Food” and Liz Applegate,  professor, Department of Nutrition and director of Sports Nutrition Program, “Sweet Success—Honey for Better Health and Performance.”

Honey tasting, coordinated by Mussen, is scheduled from 3 to 3:45 p.m.

At the reception--guests will sip wine and sample honey--the Honeybee Trio and the Jazz Nuances will perform. The Honeybee Trio's specializes in classics from the 1930s and beyond in three part-harmony.  The Jazz Nuances: jazz standards with "a sound and feel reminiscent of the 1950s and '60s West Coast Cool Sound."

Norm Gary will sign and sell his newly published book, “Honey Bee Hobbyist: The Care and Keeping of Bees.”  On display will be beekeeping equipment from the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, bee observation hives, and bee and book products by Rev Honey (Ron Fessenden, M.D.)

There's still time to make reservations. Recently reduced prices are:  industry members and the public: $50; UC faculty, staff and Friends of the RMI: $35, and UC students, $15. For those attending the reception only, the cost is $10 general admission and $5 for students.  Reservations may be made online at or with Kim Bannister at or (530) 752-5171.

This is a first-of-a-kind event at UC Davis...and the place to "bee" on Oct. 21 if you want to know more about bees and honey.

By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images:

Honeybee Trio is comprised of (from left) Karli Bosler, 16; Natalie Angst, 16, and Sarah McElwain, 15. In back is Donna Billick's bee sculpture. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Honeybee Trio is comprised of (from left) Karli Bosler, 16; Natalie Angst, 16, and Sarah McElwain, 15. In back is Donna Billick's bee sculpture. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)