Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County
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Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County

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Build It And They Will Come

Bee block

Build it and they will come. Baseball’s “Field of Dreams?” No, a bee nesting block.  Think "bee condo." It’s an artificial nesting site made of wood and drilled...

Bee block
Bee block

This is a bee nesting block built to attract native pollinators. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Leafcutter bee
Leafcutter bee

A female leafcutting bee heads for the bee nesting block. The holes are of different diameters and depths to attract a greater diversity of native bees.(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

In flight
In flight

Leafcutter bees are just a few of the native bees that use a bee nesting block. The block faces the morning sun so that bees can warm themselves up to flight temperature. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 2:45 PM

Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

Cuckoo bee

We've all heard of the cuckoo clock. And most of us have heard of the  cuckoo bird (Cuculus canorus), which lays its eggs in the nest of birds of other species.  But the cuckoo bee? Yes, there is a cuckoo bee. The female lays her eggs in the...

Cuckoo bee
Cuckoo bee

This floral visitor is a cuckoo bee, "probably the genus Triepeolus (maybe Epeolus) and probably a male," said UC Davis emeritus professor Robbin Thorp. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, September 8, 2008 at 1:21 PM
Tags: cuckoo bee (5), Robbin Thorp (229), Triepeolus (1)

I've Been Robbed!

Carpenter bee robbing nectar

Robber at work.  No, this isn't a bank heist or a gas station hold-up or a home invasion. A carpenter bee is slitting the sides of salvia (sage) to steal the nectar. Floral larceny! Book 'em, Danno! Carpenter bees are nectar robbers. Nectar...

Carpenter bee robbing nectar
Carpenter bee robbing nectar

A female carpenter bee (Xylocopa tabaniformis orpifex) pierces the corolla of salvia to rob the nectar. (Identified by Robbin Thorp, UC Davis emeritus professor of entomology.) (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bumblebee
Bumblebee

The bumblebee is about the same size as a carpenter bee, but its abdomen is covered with dense hair, often black and yellow. This is a Bombus vosnesenskii, the most common California bumblebee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, September 5, 2008 at 1:13 PM
Tags: bumblebee (1), carpenter bee (24), floral larceny (1), nectar (6), robber bee (1)

Mighty Mite

Mite on drone

It's a mighty mite and it's causing beekeepers fits. The varroa mite (see photo below) is an external parasite that attacks honey bees. It sucks blood from the adults (apparently preferring drones, the male bees) and from the brood (immature...

Mite on drone
Mite on drone

A female varroa mite on a drone (male bee). The mite is the reddish-brown parasite on the bee's thorax. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Eric Mussen with panel of bees
Eric Mussen with panel of bees

Eric Mussen, UC Davis apiculturist, with a panel of bees at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, September 4, 2008 at 5:00 PM
Tags: bee mite (1), Eric Mussen (245), honey bees (338), varroa mite (13)

Teacher Extraordinaire

Fran Keller

Okay, be honest. If you were attending class at 7:30 a.m., could you get excited about flies? No? How about the gender differences? Still no? You would if Mary Frances “Fran” Keller were there teaching you. You won’t find anyone more...

Fran Keller
Fran Keller

Fran Keller is an enthusiastic entomologist and an outstanding teacher. Plus, she's an accomplished artist, illustrator, and a nature and insect photographer.

Halictid bee
Halictid bee

Fran Keller captured this photo of a halictid bee on Borrichia (seaside tansy). It's included in her Bahamas gallery on her Web site at www.tenebrionid.net.

buprestid beetle
buprestid beetle

This is a robber fly with a buprestid beetle on a creosote bush branch in the Algodones Dunes. Fran Keller took this photo and "suffered multiple spines from prickly flowers and sand temperatures of 130 degrees, but it was worth it."

Fran Keller and daughter Rachael
Fran Keller and daughter Rachael

Entomologist Fran Keller (left) and daughter Rachael deVries share a hug on the beach after Fran's recent wedding to entomologist Pat Randolph. Yes, Fran collected insects along the beach. (Photo by Cory Unruh)

Posted on Wednesday, September 3, 2008 at 3:11 PM

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