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Remembering the Legendary Robbin Thorp

Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology, with Franklin's bumble bee, a bee he had been monitoring since 1998. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

We cannot imagine a world without Dr. Robbin Thorp. The distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis--he preferred to be known as “Robbin”--was a global and legendary authority on bees, an amazing...

Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology, with Franklin's bumble bee, a bee he had been monitoring since 1998. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology, with Franklin's bumble bee, a bee he had been monitoring since 1998. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology, with Franklin's bumble bee, a bee he had been monitoring since 1998. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Co-instructor Robbin Thorp (far right, yellow shirt) at a recent Bee Course, sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History.
Co-instructor Robbin Thorp (far right, yellow shirt) at a recent Bee Course, sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History.

Co-instructor Robbin Thorp (far right, yellow shirt) at a recent Bee Course, sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History.

Robbin Thorp was a frequent docent at the Bohart Museum of Entomology where he also did research. This image was taken April 20, 2013. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Robbin Thorp was a frequent docent at the Bohart Museum of Entomology where he also did research. This image was taken April 20, 2013. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Robbin Thorp was a frequent docent at the Bohart Museum of Entomology where he also did research. This image was taken April 20, 2013. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Global bee authority Robbin Thorp with two of the books he co-authored in 2014. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Global bee authority Robbin Thorp with two of the books he co-authored in 2014. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Global bee authority Robbin Thorp with two of the books he co-authored in 2014. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Robbin Thorp, a familiar figure in the spring, wearing his vest and trademark hat, and standing in front of a blossoming almond tree on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Robbin Thorp, a familiar figure in the spring, wearing his vest and trademark hat, and standing in front of a blossoming almond tree on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Robbin Thorp, a familiar figure in the spring, wearing his vest and trademark hat, and standing in front of a blossoming almond tree on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This is the male Valley carpenter bee, Xylocopa varipuncta, a species that Robbin Thorp showed often at the Bohart Museum of Entomology and at other presentations. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This is the male Valley carpenter bee, Xylocopa varipuncta, a species that Robbin Thorp showed often at the Bohart Museum of Entomology and at other presentations. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This is the male Valley carpenter bee, Xylocopa varipuncta, a species that Robbin Thorp showed often at the Bohart Museum of Entomology and at other presentations. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

European Carder Bees Do Like Snapdragons!

A male European wool carder bee patrolling snapdragons in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

What a show! Last weekend we spotted female European wool carder bees (so named because they collect or card plant hairs for their nests) buzzing in and out of our snapdragons. The bees, about the size of honey bees, are mostly black and yellow. The...

A male European wool carder bee patrolling snapdragons in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A male European wool carder bee patrolling snapdragons in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A male European wool carder bee patrolling snapdragons in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The European wool carder bee is about the size of a honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The European wool carder bee is about the size of a honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The European wool carder bee is about the size of a honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Dorsal view of the European wool carder bee as it rests on a snapdragon. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Dorsal view of the European wool carder bee as it rests on a snapdragon. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Dorsal view of the European wool carder bee as it rests on a snapdragon. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

All that patrolling makes a fellow tired. A male European wool carder bee rests on a leaf. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
All that patrolling makes a fellow tired. A male European wool carder bee rests on a leaf. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

All that patrolling makes a fellow tired. A male European wool carder bee rests on a leaf. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bottoms up! A female wool carder bee foraging in a snapdragon. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Bottoms up! A female wool carder bee foraging in a snapdragon. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bottoms up! A female wool carder bee foraging in a snapdragon. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 5:08 PM
Focus Area Tags: Environment Yard & Garden

The Bee and the Butterfly

A honey bee and a Painted Lady share a mustard blossom in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The bee and the butterfly. The honey bee and the Painted Lady. Apis mellifera and Vanessa cardui.They both wanted to sip that sweet nectar from a mustard blossom. The Painted Lady was there first. Sometimes it's "first come, first served" and...

A honey bee and a Painted Lady share a mustard blossom in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee and a Painted Lady share a mustard blossom in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A honey bee and a Painted Lady share a mustard blossom in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The honey bee edges closer to the Painted :ady. How sweet the nectar! (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The honey bee edges closer to the Painted :ady. How sweet the nectar! (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The honey bee edges closer to the Painted :ady. How sweet the nectar! (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

It's up, up and away. The honey bee buzzes over the butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
It's up, up and away. The honey bee buzzes over the butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

It's up, up and away. The honey bee buzzes over the butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at 4:23 PM

Kill That 'Alligator-Looking" Critter? No, Don't!

An adult lady beetle (aka ladybug) and a larva. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

"Yecch! What's that ugly bug? Kill it!" Have you ever heard anyone say that when they see the larva of a lady beetle (aka ladybug, family Coccinellidae)? Unfortunately, it's quite common among non-gardeners and non-insect enthusiasts. The larvae of...

An adult lady beetle (aka ladybug) and a larva. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
An adult lady beetle (aka ladybug) and a larva. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

An adult lady beetle (aka ladybug) and a larva. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of a larva of a lady beetle (aka ladybug). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of a larva of a lady beetle (aka ladybug). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of a larva of a lady beetle (aka ladybug). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Larva of a lady beetle (aka ladybug) eating an aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Larva of a lady beetle (aka ladybug) eating an aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Larva of a lady beetle (aka ladybug) eating an aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at 5:09 PM

A 'Star' Is Born and Then....

First-instar praying mantis, Stagmomantis limbata, as identified by UC Davis praying mantis expert and entomology student Lohit Garikpati. Photograph taken May 13 in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

We rarely see an adult praying mantis until late summer or fall. Their offspring are out there, though. And sometimes we see life go full circle. On Sept. 23, 2018, we watched a Mama Stagmomantis limbata, as identified by UC Davis entomology...

First-instar praying mantis, Stagmomantis limbata, as identified by UC Davis praying mantis expert and entomology student Lohit Garikpati. Photograph taken May 13 in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
First-instar praying mantis, Stagmomantis limbata, as identified by UC Davis praying mantis expert and entomology student Lohit Garikpati. Photograph taken May 13 in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

First-instar praying mantis, Stagmomantis limbata, as identified by UC Davis praying mantis expert and entomology student Lohit Garikpati. Photograph taken May 13 in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

How tiny is the first-instar? This tiny. And that's a red spider mite that crawled onto the dime. Note the chunk of abdomen missing on the first-instar--probably due to sibling cannibalism. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
How tiny is the first-instar? This tiny. And that's a red spider mite that crawled onto the dime. Note the chunk of abdomen missing on the first-instar--probably due to sibling cannibalism. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

How tiny is the first-instar? This tiny. And that's a red spider mite that crawled onto the dime. Note the chunk of abdomen missing on the first-instar--probably due to sibling cannibalism. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This was a very gravid mantis, Stagmomantis limbata on Sept. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This was a very gravid mantis, Stagmomantis limbata on Sept. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This was a very gravid mantis, Stagmomantis limbata on Sept. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Mama mantis, a Stagmomantis limbata, depositing an ootheca or egg case on a redwood stake. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Mama mantis, a Stagmomantis limbata, depositing an ootheca or egg case on a redwood stake. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Mama mantis, a Stagmomantis limbata, depositing an ootheca or egg case on a redwood stake. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, June 3, 2019 at 7:12 PM

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