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Posts Tagged: Haagen-Dazs

The Calamity of CCD

Colony collapse disorder (CCD), the mysterious phenomonen characterized by honey bees abandoning their hives, is still with is, and the cause is still mysterious.

Over the past three years beekeepers throughout the United States have reported losing from one-third to 100 percent of their colonies to CCD, says UC Cooperative Extension Apiculturist Eric Mussen, a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology Faculty since 1976 and a noted authority on honey bees.

The bees just vanish, leaving behind the queen, the immature brood (eggs, larvae and pupae) and stored food.

The calamity of CCD.

The queen, in peak season, lays about 2000 eggs a day. The worker bees serve as the nurse maids, nannies, royal attendants, heating and air conditioning specialists, foragers, guards and undertakers. They feed their mother (the queen) and their brothers, the drones.  The sisters are their brothers' keepers. The drones' only function is to mate with the queen.

The worker bees pollinate about 100 crops in California, including nuts, fruits and vegetables. They just finished pollinating California's 700,000 acres of almonds.  Now they're  pollinating pomegranates, tangerines, lemons, squash, cucumbers and other fruits and vegetables in orchards and gardens near you.

Bring on National Pollinator Week, June 22-28.

Meanwhile, it's good to see that Häagen-Dazs Häagen-Dazs is continuing to support honey bee research at UC Davis and Pennsylvania State University. Back in February 2008, the premier ice cream brand launched an educational campaign to save the bees and just unveiled a newly updated site.  One of the next projects: the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis. Designed by a Sausalito team, the haven will be implemented this summer and publicly dedicated in October.

The haven will be a year-around food source for bees and other insects, such as butterflies, bumble bees and syrphids.  Other goals:  to create a public awareness of the plight of the honey bee, and to educate visitors about bees and the kinds of bee friendly plants they can choose for their own gardens.

Bottom line: let's keep our bees healthy.  Mussen suspects that CCD is caused by a  combination of factors:  malnutrition, pesticides, parasites, diseases and stress. 

If CCD has a face, then two photos can tell the story. First, look at the photo of healthy bees and then look at the photo from an abandoned hive. The  bee antenna poking through an abandoned cell is just plain sad.

The queen bee, the sisters, the brothers, the brood--all gone.

The calamity of CCD.

Busy Bees
Busy Bees

WORKER BEES keep the hive humming. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Abandoned Hive
Abandoned Hive

A SINGLE ANTENNA pokes through a cell from an abandoned hive. Colony collapse disorder is characterized by the mysterious phenomenon of bees leaving the hive, never to return. They leave behind the queen and immature brood (eggs, larvae and pupae) and stored food. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 5:54 PM

Sunny Days Ahead

The Berkeley City Council did the right thing.

The council members voted this week to landscape city parks and open spaces with  pollinator-friendly plants.

The plan: to provide a friendly habitat and food source for pollinators, especially honey bees.

Within the next few weeks, the park staff will plant native, flowering plants. They'll take precautions by placing the plants at least 30 feet from children's play areas, garbage cans and restrooms.

Bee behavior being what it is, a single bee nectaring a flower isn't likely to sting. Or, for that matter, many bees visiting flowers. The bees are there to work: to gather nectar and pollen for their colonies.

The bee garden follows on the heels of the newly announced vegetable and herb garden at the White House. That, too, is an important food source for pollinators.

One of the best comments we've heard:

"The First Family has set a great example for Americans," said Ching-Yee Hu, Haagen-Dazs brand manager in a recently published news release. "It not only shows everyone the importance of backyard gardens and knowing how food gets to your table, but also lets everyone know that bees are important and they need our help."

That bears repeating: "...bees are important and they need our help."

As part of its public service, Haagen-Dazs launched a nationwide campaign last year to help save the bees, including helping research efforts at UC Davis and Pennyslvania State. This year is Year 2 of the campaign. Their projects include funding a honey bee haven, or bee friendly garden, at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis. Nearly 50 percent of Haagen-Dazs ice cream flavors depend on honey bees, or as they put it, are "bee-built." 

Among the company's other bee friendly plans: to distribute two million flower seeds this year.  Some will be given away at  the UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 18. The display will be at Briggs Hall, as part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology's Picnic Day celebration.  Meanwhile, you can ask for free seeds by e-mailing (The hdloveshb means "Haagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees.") More information appears on their educational site,

It's nice to see the united effort by the nation, states, cities, businesses, and residents to support the honey bees.

Sunny days ahead!

Bee on sunflower
Bee on sunflower

HONEY BEE nectars a sunflower at the 2008 California State Fair, Sacramento. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 5:03 PM

Bee-ing Grateful

There are so many caring, kindhearted and generous people out there concerned about the plight of the honey bee.

From little girls who share their monthly allowance and birthday gifts, to all the schools, organizations and businesses  who donate to the honey bee research fund at the Department of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, the cry to "Save the Honey Bees" is resounding throughout the world.

In particular, the response to the Häagen-Dazs'  educational Web site, has been overwhelming.

Häagen-Dazs stepped forward in February of 2008 to help save the honey bees. They launched a national campaign, established a scientific advisory group, created the Web site and a new Vanilla Honey Bee flavor, and donated a total of $250,000 toward honey bee research at UC Davis and Pennsylvania State. They're also working to help fund a honey bee haven at UC Davis.

Approximately 50 percent of the Häagen-Dazs flavors are directly attributed to honey bee pollination. In fact, one-third of all we eat (fruits, vegetables and nuts) is pollinated by bees.

The declining bee population worries us all.

Enter California poet Michele Krueger. While enjoying a pint of Häagen-Dazs ice cream and accessing the Häagen-Dazs Web site, she was inspired to write a poem about honey bees. She donated the poem to the UC Davis Department of Entomology.

In her email, Krueger wrote:  "I am a poet from Northern California (Lake County) and concerned about the bee crisis, too."

We thank her for her concern and her donation. Here is her poem:



Be the best you can be,



For me.


Please pollinate

my berries,


sip nectar from

my flowers,


so you will have

the strength to fly


back and forth

for hours.


You have work to do,

Worker Bee,


for fruit tree

and for me.


Servant of Queen,

Feeder of Drone,

Soldier of Hive,

Miner of Gold,


I award you


Employee of the Season.


Honey is my reason.
 (Copyright, Michelle Krueger, Lake County, Calif.)

Which reminds us: last spring we watched scores of honey bees pollinate the nectarine blossoms in our back yard. Their work ethic dominates the insect world, and indeed, the entire world.  They are definitely  "employees of the season."

And "employees of the year."

Every year.

Honey bee in nectarine blossom
Honey bee in nectarine blossom

PURE GOLD--A honey bee in a nectarine blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 4:56 PM

Golden Moments

It blooms in winter and the bees love it. 

Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum), a rambling vine with trumpetlike yellow flowers, is charming visitors in the Storer Gardens at the University of California, Davis. The plant originates from western China. 

The six-petaled blossoms gleam like gold in the wintry garden. When the pelting rain strikes them, they look like delighted kindergarteners splashing around in yellow raincoats. 

Don't be surprised to see winter jasmine among the selections in the half-acre bee friendly garden being planned at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis. The nationwide landscape design competition, which ends Jan. 30, is sponsored by Häagen-Dazs. The garden is expected to be a reality by October. 

Unfortunately, the winter jasmine has no fragrance. But that doesn't stop the bees from greeting and hugging the flowers and gathering pollen.  It would take the long beak of a hummingbird to reach into the trumpetlike flower for the nectar. Or a carpenter bee to slit the corolla and steal the nectar.  

But for now, on the afternoon of Jan. 24, 2009, the moments are golden. 


SIX-PETALED FLOWER--A honey bee forages on a winter jasmine in the Storer Gardens, University of California, Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)


BEE HUG--If there ever were a "bee hug," this is it. This honey bee is totally wrapped around the winter jasmine. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)


BEE IN BLOSSOM--A honey bee checks out the winter jasmine in the Storer Gardens on Jan. 24, 2009 at the University of California, Davis. Note the golden pollen on her leg.(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)


HEAD FIRST--Oblivious to everything but the blossom of this winter jasmine, a pollen-packing honey bee dives in. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 4:52 PM

Our Young Bee Crusaders

“Dear Bee Scientists,” wrote 6-year-old Katie Brown of Phoenix, Ariz.  “I am giving this money to you so you can help the bees. I love the bees.”

She enclosed $20 from her allowance savings.

Hannah Fisher Gray, 11, of Wilmington, Del., asked her friends to skip birthday presents for her and instead help support honey bee research.

Hannah collected $110 at her birthday party and then contributed $110 from her own money so that both UC Davis and Pennsylvania State University could benefit.

The girls are the newest bee crusaders, said Lynn Kimsey, chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology.

“These are very generous gifts from the heart,” Kimsey said. “It’s very touching that these girls would take a special interest in helping us save the honey bees.”

Hannah, a fifth grader from Wilmington, Del., enclosed the $110 check in a letter to professor Kimsey.

In the letter, Hannah expressed her concern “about our environment and its creatures, especially the honey bees.”

“I saw the Häagen-Dazs commercial and I instantly wanted to learn more,” she wrote. “I researched about bees and learned ways I could help, such as donating money, using honey instead of sugar, planting honeybee-friendly plants and supporting beekeepers.”

 “For my birthday party, I asked my guests to make gifts of money to support honeybee research instead of giving presents for me. The total of these gifts was $110. I am making a matching gift of $110 of my own money, and splitting the gift between the University of California, Davis and Pennsylvania State University.”

One of Hannah’s birthday gifts was a T-shirt proclaiming “Bee a Hero.” And, in keeping with her passion for bees, she dressed in a honey bee costume last Halloween.

Hannah learned of the troubling bee crisis from the national Häagen-Dazs campaign, launched Feb. 19 to create awareness for the plight of the honey bee. Nearly 40 percent of Häagen-Dazs brand ice cream flavors are linked to fruits and nuts pollinated by bees.

Katie Brown learned of the plight of the honey bees through the Häagen-Dazs Web site,

Her mother, Molly Pont-Brown, said that Katie "gets a portion of her allowance each week for charity and had been wanting to help the bees and saving up for a long time, so we were looking online for ways to help the bees and stumbled upon their (Häagen-Dazs) program.”

In her donation letter to UC Davis, Katie drew the Häagen-Dazs symbol, “HD Loves HB,” and two smiling bees. She signed her name with three hearts.

Eager to share information with her classmates on the plight of the honey bees, Katie took photos of foods that bees pollinate and served Honey Bee Vanilla ice cream, the new flavor that Häagen-Dazs created last year as part of its bee crisis-awareness campaign.

Katie is "about to give another $40 additionally from her Star Student Week," her mother said.  The six-year-old chose to donate $2 per child to the honey bee research program instead of buying the customary trinkets for them.  Katie also sent each classmate a “bee-mail” from the Häagen-Dazs Web site to let them know about it.

For Christmas, Katie received a Häagen-Dazs bee shirt and bee books from her family. Her grandmother in California is giving her a “bee friendly garden.” Katie’s next birthday party will feature a bee theme, Honey Bee Vanilla ice cream, and will be a benefit for honey bee research.

“What a great thing (the drive to save the bees) for Häagen-Dazs to do,” Molly Pont-Brown wrote in a letter to UC Davis.  “And, of course, we appreciate all your department is doing to help the very important honeybees with your research, as well!”

When told of the Delaware girl’s bee crusader efforts, Katie’s mother said, “It’s fun to hear that there are other little bee crusaders out there, as well.”

As part of its national campaign, Häagen-Dazs last February committed a total of $250,000 for bee research to UC Davis and Pennsylvania State University; formed a seven-member scientific advisory board; created the new ice cream flavor; and launched the Web site, to offer more information on the “unstung heroes.”  The Web site includes information on how to donate to the two honey bee research programs.

The Häagen-Dazs brand is also funding a design competition to create a half-acre honey bee haven garden at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis. The deadline to submit entries is Jan. 30.

UC Davis Extension Apiculturist Eric Mussen, a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty for 32 years, said the bee population "still has not recovered from previous losses."  Some of the nation's beekeepers have reported losing one-third to 100 percent of their bees due to colony collapse disorder (CCD), in which bee mysteriously abandon their hives. He attributes CCD to multiple factors, including diseases, parasites, pesticides, malnutrition, stress and climate change.

"Bees pollinate about 100 agricultural crops, or about one-third of the food that we eat daily," Mussen said.

Those interesting in donating to the honey bee research program at UC Davis or learning more about the design competition for the honey bee haven can access the Department of Entomology home page.


Katie Brown
Katie Brown

BEE CRUSADER--Katie Brown, 6, of Phoenix, Ariz., loves bees and just donated $20 from her allowance savings to the UC Davis honey bee research program.

Letter to bee scientists
Letter to bee scientists

LETTER TO BEE SCIENTISTS--Katie Brown, 6, of Phoenix, penciled this letter to UC Davis bee scientists and drew bees to illustrate her concern.

Hannah Fisher Gray
Hannah Fisher Gray

BEE CRUSADER--Hannah Fisher Gray, 11, of Wilmington, Del., asked her birthday guests to donate to the honey bee research fund instead of giving presents to her. She collected $110, and then matched the funds so she could give $110 to UC Davis and $110 to Pennyslvania State. One of her friends gave her this t-shirt.

Posted on Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 5:44 PM

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