When the annual California Agriculture Day took place yesterday on the state capitol grounds, thousands of visitors buzzed the booths learning more about the food they eat and the agriculturists that provide it.But that wasn't the only buzz.The...
California Agriculture Day
CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE A. G. Kawamura (center) greets Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. At right is Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen, also a member of the UC Davis entomology faculty and parliamentarian of the California State Beekeepers' Association. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
BEEKEEPER Brian Fishback (right) of Wilton, president of the Sacramento Area Beekeepers’ Association, points out the queen, worker bees (sterile females) and the drones (males) to the visitors. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
CALIFORNIA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (center) and California Secretary of Agriculture A. G. Kawamura (right) listen to beekeeper Brian Fishback talk about the declining bee population. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Bee Observation Hive
GLASSED-IN bee observation hive at the California Agriculture Day, held March 23 on the state capitol grounds, was a big attraction. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
To a beekeeper, it's a four-letter word.
Specifically, the varroa mite, also known as Varroa destructor.
It's a small (think flea-sized) crab-shaped parasite that feeds on bees, either in the brood (immature bees) or on adult bees.
VARROA MITE on a worker bee (see crab-shaped parasite near her head). These undertaker bees were trying to remove a drone larva from the hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Mite on Pupa
VARROA mite is quite visible on this honey bee pupa. It's a blood-sucking parasite. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bees sip nectar from the Mediterranean spurge (Euphorbia characias wulfenii) planted in our bee friendly garden.
So do flies.
Last weekend several flies flashing colors as brilliant as those blue morpho butterflies landed on the evergreen...
Blue on Green
BLUE ON GREEN--A blue bottle fly (Calliphora vicinia) lands on the Mediterranean spurge (Euphorbia characias wulfenii). This species is important in forensic entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
SHOWING BLUE--The blue bottle fly is distinguished by the metallic blue-silvery gray coloring on its thorax and abdomen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Sip of Nectar
SIP OF NECTAR--A European blue bottle fly prepares to sip nectar from a Mediterranean spurge (Euphorbia characias wulfenii), a plant native to Greece and Turkey. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The number of new housing developments throughout the country continues to shrink as we struggle with the throes of a deep recession.
That's with human housing, not in a healthy honey bee hive. The bees are busy building up their colonies, just as they...
QUEEN BEE (with the dot) is surrounded by worker bees (sterile females). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
WORKER BEES are lined up in perfect formation as they tend to the queen bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Inspecting a Cell
QUEEN BEE pokes her head in a cell before laying an egg in it. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
If you see a patch of California native wildflowers known as "Tidy Tips," look closely.
The yellow daisylike flower with white petals (Layia platyglossa) may yield a surprise visitor.
You may see an assassin.
An assassin bug.
A member of the family...
Patch of Tidy Tips
PATCH OF TIDY TIPS, California native wildflower, planted on the UC Davis campus, behind the Laboratory Sciences Building. If you look closely in the patch, you'll see scores of insects, including honey bees, hover flies, mason bees, ladybugs--and assassin bugs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
ASSASSIN BUG, from the genus Zelus and family Reduviidae, waits for prey. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Sip of Nectar
ASSASSIN BUG appears to be sipping nectar from a tidy tip blossom for a quick burst of energy. It preys on small insects, such as aphids, crickets and leafhoppers. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)