Not Your Average Garden-Variety Calendar

Nov 29, 2011

It's not your average garden variety calendar.

It's absolutely bee-utiful.

Native bees reign supreme in  “Garden Variety Native Bees of North America,” a calendar produced by University of California alumni as a benefit for two non-profit organizations.

The perpetual calendar, the work of native bee enthusiast Celeste Ets-Hokin and entomologist/photographer Rollin Coville, both of the Bay Area, features native bees found throughout North America, including the leafcutter bee, bumble bee and sweat bee.

The macro photography is simply stunning. Through these photos, you can get up close and personal with bees you may never have even noticed. The ultra green sweat bees are especially spectacular.

Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, provided “considerable insight into the biology and ecology of several native bee genera,” said Ets-Hokin.

Also contributing extensively were UC Berkeley faculty members Gordon Frankie and Claire Kremen. Frankie shared his extensive knowledge of native bees in urban gardens. Kremen provided crucial information on native bee crop pollination services, based on her studies in Yolo County.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Great Sunflower Project, a national pollinator monitoring and conservation program based in San Francisco, and the Portland, Ore-based Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, which protects native bees and their habitat throughout the United States.

Each native bee comes complete with information, such as the genus, common name, pollen/nectar sources, emergence time, nesting habit, and distinguishing characteristics.

For instance, you'll learn that bumble bees are excellent crop pollinators; they pollinate such crops as tomatoes, cranberries and blueberries better than honey bees.

You can attract bumble bees to your own garden by planting such pollen/nectar sources as giant hyssop (Agastache); manzanita (Arctostaphylos), ceanothus (Ceanothus); California poppy (Eschscholzia), sunflower (Helianthus); and beard tongue (Penstemon). 

It's all there--all there on the calendar.

Coville, who received his doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley in 1978, has been photographing insects and spiders for more than 25 years. He is collaborating with Thorp and Frankie on a number of projects, including a book on urban bees. It's due out next year.

Ets-Hokin, a UC Berkeley zoology graduate, devotes her time to the public awareness and conservation of native bees. For the past several years, she has collaborated with the Alameda County Master Gardeners in establishing a native bee demonstration garden at Lake Merritt, Oakland.

Coville takes many of his images there and now he has Ets-Hokin hooked on photography.

Preview the calendar here. Want to order one or more? Go to the printer's website.

By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images:

This is one of Rollin Coville's stunning photos of a male green sweat bee, Agapostemon. (Photo by Rollin Coville, used with permission),

This is one of Rollin Coville's stunning photos of a male green sweat bee, Agapostemon. (Photo by Rollin Coville, used with permission),

The cover of the calendar,

The cover of the calendar, "Garden Variety Native Bees of North America." (Photos by Rollin Coville)