The Tangerine Girls

Bug Squad - Happenings in the Insect World   By Kathy Keatley Garvey    4/3/14

The honey bees know it before we do.

The tangerines are blooming.

Today dozens of bees buzzed around our tangerine trees, doing their annual job of pollinating the crop. 

The tangerine, the common name of the mandarin orange, is native to southeast Asia. According to the Oxford English dictionary, the word, "tangerine," originates from Tangier, a seaport in Morocco on the Strait of Gibralter.

No matter its name or its origin, the bees love it. According to California Bountiful, California's citrus industry is valued at more than $1 billion annually--second after Florida "which produces the most valencia oranges; those are the seeded oranges used mostly for orange juice. California is No. 1 in fresh-market oranges, most notably the navel, but also produces a significant share of the nation's valencias, lemons, grapefruit and tangerines."

Tangerines are a favorite because of their taste, small size, easy-to-peel appeal, and now something else. Researchers at the University of Western Ontario discovered a substance in the tangerine skins that "not only prevents obesity in mice, but also offers protections against type 2 diabetes, and even atherosclerosis, the underlying disease responsible for most heart attacks and strokes." (Source: Wikipedia)

Who would have thought?

Visit the Kathy Keatley Garvey Bug Squad blog at: http://ucanr.org/blogs/bugsquad/