Take It From a Bee Guy: Honey Is Not 'Bee Vomit'

Bug Squad   By Kathy Keatley Garvey      January 10, 2018

Close-up of a returning foraging bee sharing nectar with her sisters. (Photo: Kathy Keatley Garvey)Take it from the bee scientists. Honey is NOT vomit.

That incongruous belief that “Honey is bee vomit” is resurfacing on a number of YouTube channels, opinion pieces and other Internet posts. It's usually said with great glee: “Honey is bee vomit! It's bee puke! It's bee barf!”

Is it #FakeNews?

We asked noted honey bee guru Eric Mussen, Extension apiculturist emeritus at the University of California, Davis, whose career in bee education spans four decades, to settle the issue. Although he retired in 2014, he keeps active. Last year he completed a term--his sixth--as president of the Western Apicultural Society. He maintains an office in Briggs Hall.

And he continues to answer questions about bees and honey.

“As for the bees and vomit issue, the explanation requires quite a bit of knowledge,” Mussen says. It's about an "expandable pouch called 'the honey stomach' (which we humans do not have) and a valve called the "proventriculus" (which we humans do not have)."

“As most people know, honey begins as a dilute sugar solution secreted by ‘nectaries,' sugar syrup-secreting glands which are located in flowers or in extra-floral nectaries,” Mussen explains. “Pollen is not a natural constituent of nectar.  The nectar is sucked up by honey bees and it passes into an expandable pouch called the ‘honey stomach.'  This is the pre-digestive part of the part of the digestive tract that honey bees use to bring water and nectar to the hive.  In honey bees and other insects, this ‘crop' precedes the portions of the digestive tract used for digesting food.  There is a unique valve between the crop and the ventriculus (midgut), called the ‘proventriculus,' that has rake-like projections that constantly pull particulates, like pollen grains, from the crop contents and push them along for digestion.”

Honey bee guru Eric Mussen (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)“A nectar-foraging bee,” Mussen points out, “returns to the hive and pumps out the nectar to a receiving bee.  An enzyme is mixed with the crop contents that reduces sucrose (table sugar), a disaccharide normally found in nectar, into two monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) that are the principal sugars in ripened honey.  If the nectar is not immediately used as a water substitute or for diluting thick honey or solid pollen stores to allow swallowing, it is carried to the area in the hive where honey is being processed.  The nectar is passed to processing bees that blend the incoming nectar loads, mix them together, then pump out a bit of solution and hold a small sheet of the syrup in its partially distended mouthparts.  Water evaporates from the surface of the syrup.  The drier solution is drawn back into the crop and mixed with the other contents.”

“Then the film is again exposed to the air.  That process repeats itself until the moisture content of the syrup falls below 20 percent.  Evaporation is influenced significantly by the relative humidity.  Since honey will ferment at moisture contents above 20 percent, it is important to leave the honey with the bees until it can be immediately processed in locations with high humidity.  That honey will seem to be thin.  During the summer in California, the ambient relative humidity is quite low--15 percent or less.  In that case, honey produced in the Central Valley can have a moisture content of 13 to 13.5 percent.  That honey is quite thick.”

As an aside, “pollen grains are likely to be found in honey,” Mussen says. “Wind-blown pollens can fall into flowers that are open faced.  Pollen grains are collected by hairs on the bees' bodies.  They can get onto the mouthparts and become consumed with the nectar.  Nectar-processing bees may have eaten some pollen in the hive before processing the honey.  This is how the pollen grains get into honey.  They do not necessarily get consumed with the fresh nectar.  Physical contaminants of honey have to be quite small, like pollen grains, since the bees ingest all their food by drinking it through a straw-like proboscis with a very small opening at the tip.  Most of the physical contaminants are removed by the proventriculus.”

And here's the point: “Since honey never is mixed with digesting food in the intestinal tract, it is inaccurate to refer to honey as ‘bee vomit.'  A dictionary definition of vomit includes ‘disgorging the stomach contents through the mouth.'  Since a human does not have a crop, the stomach is in direct contact with the esophagus and mouth.  In a bee, the proventriculus and crop are in direct contact with the mouth.  The digestion of solid foods in bees begins in the ventriculus and there is no way that a honey bee can bring that food back through the proventriculus, or ‘vomit.'

 Which begs the question: Why can't we enjoy honey for what it is, not for what it isn't?

We can. Mark your calendar to attend these two events: the  second annual California Honey Festivalon May 5 in downtown Woodland (it's held in partnership with the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center) and the fourth annual UC Davis Bee Symposium: Keeping Bees Healthy (hosted by the Honey and Pollination Center and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology) on March 3 in the UC Davis Conference Center. The Bee Symposium will feature keynote speaker Thomas Seeley, the Horace White Professor in Biology at Cornell University, New York.

Interested in beekeeping? UC Davis Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño and her lab will teach a number of classes this spring, beginning March 24, at the Harry H.Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis campus.

The schedule and links to the capsule information:

Planning Ahead for Your First Hives: Saturday, March 24

Working Your Colonies: Sunday, March 25

Queen-Rearing Techniques Short Course: Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22 course; Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29 course

Bee-Breeding Basics: Saturday, June 9

Foraging bees return to the hive to share nectar, which the house bees will turn into honey. (Photo: Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bees sharing nectar with their hungry sisters. (Photo: Kathy Keatley Garvey)http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=25974

Bears Raiding Bee Colonies: They're Seeking the Brood

Bug Squad    By Kathy Keatley Garvey     May 18, 2017

A huge financial loss: this is an example of the damage a bear can do in the bee yard.(Photo courtesy of Jackie Park-Burris, Palo Cedro)Yes, bears raid honey bee colonies.

But it's primarily for the bee brood, not the honey.

The brood provides the protein, and the honey, the  carbohydrates. For beekeepers and commercial queen bee breeders, this can wreak havoc. Financial havoc.

The American Beekeeping Federation, headed by Gene Brandi of Los Gatos, recently asked Extension apiculturist emeritus Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology to respond to a question about bees and bears.

Mussen, who retired in 2014 after 38 years of service (but he still remains active from his office in Briggs Hall), is from Minnesota, where the bears are and he isn't. He's managed to photograph a few bears, though, on family outings to Lake Tahoe.

We thought we'd share his response about bees and bears. Jackie Park-Burris of Palo Cedro, who owns Jackie Park-Burris Queens, kindly let us post some of her photos so our readers can see what bear damage looks like.  A past president of the California State Apiary Board and the California State Beekeepers' Association, she's a member of the noted Homer Park beekeeping family and has been involved with bees all of her life. She's been breeding Park Italian queens since 1994.

But back to Eric Mussen, the bee guru who has answered tons of questions during his 38-year academic career and who's now serving his sixth term as president of the Western Apicultural Society. (The society, founded in Davis, will gather \Sept. 5-8 in Davis for its 40th annual meeting, returning to its roots.)

"Bears eat both meat and plants (berries) etc. whenever they can find them," Mussen says. "Most people think that a bear has a sweet tooth, since it is attracted to beehives. While it is true that bears will eat some honey if it gains access to a hive, a closer look shows that it will eat all of what we call 'brood' first, and then eats a little honey."

Eric MussenMussen describes bee brood "as made up of bee eggs, larvae, and pupae."  Since the queen may be laying between 1000 and 2000 eggs a day, "quite a bit of brood can accumulate before the end of the 21-day period that it takes to complete development from egg to adult female worker bee (24 days for the drones)."

"Bears have a pretty good sense of smell, so they can smell a beehive if they get downwind of a nearby colony," Mussen points out. "If the colony is living in a tree, often the bear literally tears the tree apart to get to the bees.  Unfortunately, they will claw and dig into a man-made beehive, as well.  They leave the covers scattered all over; the hive boxes scattered and often broken; the combs pulled out, broken, and strewn about in the apiary; and the combs that had brood in them will have the comb eaten out.  The colony will not survive and there may be very little undamaged equipment to salvage."

"To a small-scale beekeeper," Mussen says, "the financial loss is not too severe.  However, losing the colony, that requires so much effort to keep healthy these days, is quite a blow.  For commercial operators, who may not revisit the apiary for a couple weeks, it can mean a very substantial economic loss."

"The correct type of well-maintained bear fence usually is very effective at keeping bears away from the hives.  However, that holds true only for situations in which the bear has not had previous positive experiences ripping apart man-made beehives.  In that case, the bear expects a substantial reward for barging through the stinging fence and getting into the hives."

What to do? "Most beekeepers have no desire to kill bears, but they do desire to keep their colonies alive," Mussen says. "Often, attempts are made to capture the offending bear, tag it, and move it away far enough that it should not return.  Some of the wildlife specialists marvel in how far away a bear can be taken away and still return. Bears that cannot stay away from apiaries, or away from people's houses, or away from trash containers, etc., sometimes have to be eliminated.  It is best to have this done by agency personnel, but sometimes in remote areas the beekeepers get deprivation permits and kill the bear themselves.  In Northern California, the beekeeper has to notify the wildlife people of the kill, and the carcass has to be inspected to be certain that specific, black market body parts have not been removed from the bear.  The carcass then is buried in a landfill, or once in a while used in institutional food."

Occasionally Bug Squad hears of bears raiding honey bee hives in rural Solano County. We remember a story about a beekeeper/queen breeder in Mix Canyon, Vacaville, who was losing his hives to a "wild animal." The loss? Reportedly about $30,000. He set up a stealth camera and....photographed a 300-pound black bear. 

"Bears have a pretty good sense of smell," as Mussen says, and the result can be "a very substantial economic loss."

This is what bear damage to a hive looks like. This photo was provided by Jackie Park-Burris of Palo Cedro, who owns Jackie Park-Burris Queens. (Photo courtesy of Jackie Park-Burris.)

A bear scattered frames all over this bee yard, as it went for the brood and then the honey. (Photo courtesy of Jackie Park-Burris, Palo Cedro.)

A bear wreaked havoc in this bee yard. (Photo courtesy of Jackie Park-Burris, Palo Cedro.)

 This image of a bear snagging fish was taken at Lake Tahoe by Eric Mussen, Extension apiculturist emeritus, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. He's been answering questions about bears and bees for more than three decades.

http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=24145

Why Honey Is Neither Bee Vomit Nor Bee Barf!

Bug Squad   By Kathy Keatley Garvey    June 2, 2016

  • "Honey is bee vomit!"
  • "Honey is bee barf!"

How many times have you heard that?

Strong-willed arguments flash rapidly, pointedly and furiously, much like guard bees defending their colony in the fall from would-be robbers.  Just when you think the issue is settled once and for all, the arguments circle again. Non-beekeepers, in particular, gleefully maintain that the sweet mixture you spread on your toast in the morning is "bee vomit." Or they may label that spoonful of honey in your tea as "bee barf."   (It's usually accompanied by "How can you eat THAT?")

So, what's the answer?

We consulted  "honey bee guru" Extension apiculturist emeritus Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who completed 38 years of service in 2014 to the apiculture industry and the general citizenry of California. (However, as an emeritus, he continues to maintain an office in Briggs Hall and answer questions.)

The answer? "In one word--No!" he says.  "Honey is neither bee vomit nor bee barf."

Then, what is honey?

"To answer that question, we have to define a few important words," Mussen says. "We will use Wikipedia as our source.

  • Vomit – “Forceful expulsion of the contents of one's stomach through the mouth.”
  • Regurgitation – “Expulsion of material from the pharynx or esophagus.”
  • Crop – “A thin-walled expanded portion of the alimentary tract used for the storage of food prior to digestion.”

"Here is how these terms relate to honey," Mussen says. "Honey begins as a dilute (5-20 percent) sugar solution that is called nectar, which is sucked up by foraging honey bees as they visit the flowers or extra-floral nectaries of bee-attractive plants. The nectar is pumped through the 'tongue' of the bee into an expandable crop, which in honey bees is called the honey stomach. While in the crop, two salivary enzymes begin the honey-making process. Diastase catalyzes the conversion of starch into maltose. The equivalent enzyme in human saliva is alpha amylase that catalyzes the conversion of starch to maltose and dextrins. A second honey bee enzyme, glucose oxidase, catalyzes the conversion of glucose to hydrogen peroxide and gluconolactone. The hydrogen peroxide prevents microbial growth in the pre-honey solution." 

Wait, there's more, and yes,  it gets technical.

"While residing in the crop, a curious, pulsating valve, called the proventriculus in insects, extends curved, rake-like bristles into the crop that filter out particles from the nectar," Mussen points out. "The particles can be moderate in size to quite small, such as a pollen grains or infectious spores of the intestinal parasites Nosema apis and N. ceranae. The size is limited by the diameter of the tubular mouthparts through which all honey bee food must be consumed. Some squash pollens are too large to swallow. Once a number of particles have accumulated, they are passed back (swallowed) into the midgut as a bolus. As the bolus leaves the proventriculus, it is wrapped in a sausage skin-like wrapper called the peritrophic matrix (formerly the peritrophic membrane). Once passed into the midgut inside the peritrophic membrane, there is no way for it to return to the honey stomach."

No way. No way for it to return to the honey stomach.

Mussen says that "the most time-consuming step in converting nectar to honey is the dehydration process, during which the moisture content of the honey is reduced to a fermentation-inhibiting 20 percent or lower. To accomplish this, the nearly particle-free nectar is pumped (regurgitated) out of the crop and suspended as a thin film, hanging directly below the horizontally extended mouthparts. Bees fan the films with their wings to hasten evaporation of water. As the film thickens, it is pumped back into the crop, blended with the remaining nectar, and pumped back out to be dried some more."

So, what happens then?

"When it reaches the appropriate moisture content, the 'ripened' honey is pumped into a comb cell and capped with a beeswax cover. This is the honey that beekeepers provide for us to eat. The color and flavor of the honey depends upon the floral sources from which the nectars were collected. The moisture content of the honey is markedly influenced by the relative humidity of the ambient air surrounding the hive."

So, bottom line is this: Sorry, honey, honey is not bee vomit.

"It never reaches the true digestive tract of a honey bee," Mussen emphasizes.

 

http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=21199

Ask the Naturalist: Why Do Bees Clean Themselves?

Bay Nature  By Eric Mussen and Elina Nino   July 30, 2015

Photo: Dann Thombs/Flickr
Bay Nature’s marketing director had a recent experience with a very tidy-looking honeybee:

“I was sitting in my car this afternoon when I noticed a cute little bee on my windshield appearing to desperately clean something off itself. At first I thought, oh no, it fell into something and now it’s going to die from whatever contaminated it. I took a cup and put the bee inside, but it rebelled and flew out. When I returned home I googled it and learned that bees do this — clean off pollen, etc. — and especially their eyes before flying home to their hives!”

We decided to get to the bottom of this extraordinary bee behavior and reached out to Eric Mussen, an entomologist at the Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis. He and colleague Elina Nino, an Extension apiculturist, sent in this explanation:

———–
Answer: The inside of a bee hive is considered to be a pretty clean environment. The bees produce honey there and we eat it. But, why are honey bees and their hive so clean? It is in their genes.

Honey bees are akin to animated robots that move around in their environment responding to stimuli with behaviors that have served them well for millions of years. Building wax combs to use for food storage and baby bee production allows the bees to keep tens of thousands of bees huddled close together. However, if any type of microbial outbreak occurs, all this closeness could lead to an epidemic and colony death.

The bees exhibit a behavior that deals with that problem. They collect resins from various plant sources. They return to the hive with these sticky masses where their sisters help to unload them. Beekeepers call this substance bee glue (propolis) because it is used to fill small cracks in the hive and cements the boxes together. It also is mixed with beeswax and used as a thin varnish to line the walls of the hives and sometimes portion of combs. Those resins have surprising antimicrobial properties that are effective against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. So, the bees are encased in a shell of antibiotics. Some have suggested that the inside of a hive is as clean as a hospital room, but we are not quite sure about that.

As for the bees themselves, it is common to see them using their legs or mouthparts to clean off other parts of their bodies. For bees, we might think that they are simply moving around or brushing off pollen that they picked up when foraging. However, honey bees live in a suit of armor called an exoskeleton. The exoskeleton is waterproof and protects the insects from invasive microbes. But bees also have to sense what is going on around them, so they have sensory receptors on the surface of their exoskeleton. The most obvious sensory organs on bees are their compound eyes. Honey bees can see objects, detect polarized sunlight, and have good color discrimination, similar to that of humans, but shifted a bit in the color spectrum. Bees wipe their eyes every so often to keep them clean. We humans have eye lids that keep our eyes clean and moist.

The rest of the sensory organs on the exoskeleton are sensilla (stiff hairs and protuberances) or pits that serve as sensory receptors. The tips of honey bees’ antennae have many touch receptors, odor receptors, and a special sensory organ called Johnston’s organ that tells them how fast they are flying. Other sensilla bend when the bee changes positions, so it remains aligned with gravity when it is building comb cells. Sensilla on a queen bee’s antennae help her determine the size of a comb cell, which determines if she lays a worker- or drone-destined egg. So, all those sensilla must remain dust and pollen-free to function properly, allowing bees to remain as busy as, well, bees.

Read at: https://baynature.org/articles/ask-the-naturalist-why-do-honeybees-clean-themselves/

SEE MORE ARTICLES IN: ASK THE NATURALIST

A Gathering of Beekeepers: Follow That Buzz!

Bug Squad - Happenings in the Insect World    By Kathy Keatley Garvey   October 21, 2014

Follow that buzz! 

When the California State Beekeepers' Association, founded in 1889, meets Nov. 18-20 in Valencia for its 2014 convention, it will mark a milestone: 125 years of beekeeping. Not so coincidentally, the theme is "Celebrating 125 Years of California Beekeeping."

And to think that California's first honey bees are "fairly new" newcomers: they didn't arrive in the Golden State (San Jose area) until 1853.

The conference promises to be educational, informative, timely and fun. "We will hear about things going on in the world of beekeeping on the local, state, and national levels," said CSBA president Bill Lewis, who lives in the San Fernando Valley and maintains 650 colonies of bees (Bill's Bees) with his wife, Liane, and business partner, Clyde Steese.

Topics range from “Keeping Bees Safe in Almonds" and “Land Trusts Working with Beekeepers," to "Mead Making" and "Urban Beekeeping, Beginner to Advanced."

Among the hot topics: Entomologist Reed Johnson of The Ohio State University will speak on  “The Effects of Bee Safe Insecticide" on Wednesday, Nov. 19.

Biologist Thomas Seeley of Cornell University will speak on "Survivor Population of European Honey Bees Living Wild in New York State” at the research luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 20. He is also scheduled for two other talks, "Honeybee Democracy" (the title of one of his books) and "The Bee Hive as a Honey Factory," both on Nov. 20. In addition, speakers will address such topics as forage, land management, queen health, genetic diversity, and pests and diseases.

One of the featured presentations will be the richly illustrated documentary, "Almond Odyssey," a look at California's almond pollination season, the world's largest managed pollination event. The state's 900,000 acres of almonds draw beekeepers and their bees from all over the country.

The gathering of beekeepers will include multiple generations of family-owned commercial beekeeping operations, bee hobbyists, and those hoping to start their very first bee hive, Lewis says. They're there to learn the latest about beekeeping from world-renowned researchers and industry authorities. 

The University of California, Davis, is expected to be well represented. Amina Harris, director of theHoney and Pollination Center, UC Davis, will speak Wednesday, Nov. 19 on  “Honey Wheel” and “California Master Beekeeper." Extension apiculturist (retired) Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology serves as the organization's current apiculturist and parliamentarian (as well as a frequent speaker). He will introduce the new Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Nino in a Nov. 20th presentation titled "California Extension Apiculturist--Passing the Torch." (For a complete list of sessions and speaker biographies and to register for the conferene,  access the CSBA website.) 
 
CSBA's mission is to support and promote commercial beekeepers and pollination services in California's agricultural farmlands. Each year funds raised at the CSBA convention go to research. Researchers attend the conference and provide updates. They are in "the front lines of the bee health battle," Lewis noted.  

The conference (as well as membership in CSBA) is open to all interested persons.

  

 

Read at

 

UC Davis Department of Entomology Newsletter for July/August 2014

from the U.C. Apiaries   By Dr. Eric Mussen    July/August 2014

With the permission of Dr. Eric Mussen, we have attached latest newsletter:"from the U.C. Apiaries," the U.C. Davis Department of Entomology July/August 2014 Apiary Newsletter.

"This is the last newsletter for which I will be solely responsible.  Our newly acquired Extension Apiculturist, Dr. Elina Nino, will decide shortly on how she will handle the newsletter business, but I will keep the list available for her use.  Unlike Dr. Malcolm Sanford, I am signing off.  So, Malcolm your “Apis” newsletter will outlast my nearly 39-year run.

I wish everyone the best of luck in all your beekeeping and bee-related endeavors in the future."  Eric.

(Note: For more on Dr. Eric Mussen and Dr. Enina Nino, see Kathy Keatley Garvey's September 5th blog:http://ucanr.edu/blogs/bugsquad/index.cfm)

Better Statistics for the Bees

Bug Squad - Happenings in the insect world    By Kathy Keatley Garvey   September 5, 2014

The bees. What about the bees? How are they doing?

Better, says retired Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who today published the last edition of his newsletter, from the UC Apiaries. Last? "Or, it's the last edition I'm solely responsible for."

Mussen retired in June after 38 years of service. Now it's "Welcome, Elina Lastro," who joined the department this week. 

"The summary data from this spring's suvey on winter colony loss is available for review on beeinformed.org, the public's entry to information from the...

Read more...http://ucanr.edu/blogs/bugsquad/index.cfm

Keeping Bees

Bug Squad - Happenings in the insect world   By Kathy Keatley Garvey    August 19, 2014 

So you want to keep bees in your backyard...

When do you start? What should you do?

Newly retired Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, continues to field questions. He's kindly agreed to respond to beekeeping queries until the new Extension apiculturist, Elina Lastro Niño of...

Read More...

Honey Bees Need Water, Too!

Bug Squad - Happenings in the Insect World   By Kathy Keatley Garvey  July 8, 2014

These triple-digit temperatures make us all thirst for water.

Honey bees need water, too.

If you see them taking a sip from your birdbath or taking a dip in your pool, the "sip" means they're collecting water for their hive, and the "dip" could mean they're dying, says retired Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.

"Like most other animals, the bodies of honey bees are mostly water," he points out. "Thus, they need to drink water routinely as we do.  Additionally...

Continue reading: http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=14566

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

UC Davis Department of Entomology Apiary May/June 2014 Newsletter

With the permission of Dr. Eric Mussen, we have a attached from the U.C. Apiaries, the UC Davis Department of Entomology May/June 2014 Apiary Newsletter.

To subscribe to the apiculture newsletters, access this page. Subscriptions are free. Cooperative Extension Apiculturist Eric Mussen, who joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty in 1976, serves as the editor of from the U.C. Apiaries
http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/Faculty/Eric_C_Mussen/Apiculture_Newsletter/.

Bees and Onions Go Together:

Bug Squad - Happenings in the Insect World   By Kathy Keatley Garvey    4/9/14

The University of California, Davis, is a world leader in seed, plant and agricultural sciences. Some 100 seed and seed-related companies are located near UC Davis and benefit greatly from its proximity, but the influence of UC Davis extends throughout the USA and far beyond.--Seed Central

So it stands to reason that Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology will keynote a Seed Central-affiliated conference on Thursday, April 10 on the Davis campus. He'll speak on "Honey Bees in Seed Crop Pollination" at 6 p.m. in the UC Davis Conference Center.

Mussen serves as the Extension apiculturist for the entire state, but is...

Read more... 

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

Eye on the Buckeye

Bug Squad - Happenings in the Insect World   By Kathy Keatley Garvey  3/26/14

It won't bloom until summer, but already many eyes are on the California buckeye.

The tree's blossoms are poisonous to honey bees.  Bees are attracted to them and forage on them, but the end result of the food provisions to the colony can be deformed larval development.

We've seen bee hives within a quarter of a mile of California buckeyes (Aesculus californica). And we've seen honey bees, native bees and other pollinators foraging on the blossoms. 

 

At the recent UC Davis Pollinator Gardening Workshop hosted by the California Center for Urban Horticulture, Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen talked about the poisonous plants. (See PowerPoint presentations.) That led to one workshop participant wondering if the flowers of the California buckeye are poisonous to native bees. (Honey bees are not native; the European colonists brought them to the Jamestown colony, Virginia, in 1622).

Responded Mussen...

Read More...

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

UC Davis Dept of Entomology Newsletter for January/February 2014

With the permission of Dr. Eric Mussen, we have a attached from the U.C. Apiaries, the UC Davis Department of Entomology January/February 2014 Apiary Newsletter.

To subscribe to the apiculture newsletters, access this page. Subscriptions are free. Cooperative Extension Apiculturist Eric Mussen, who joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty in 1976, serves as the editor of from the U.C. Apiaries
http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/Faculty/Eric_C_Mussen/Apiculture_Newsletter/.

 

Can a aBee Unscrew the Sting?

Bug Squad - Happenings in the Insect World   By Kathy Keatley Garvey   2/24/14

When a honey bee stings you, she makes the supreme sacrifice and dies.  She's usually defending her colony. In the process, she leaves behind part of her abdomen. A beekeeper simply scrapes the sting with a fingernail or a hive tool to stop the pulsating venom and continues working.

But is it ever possible for a bee to "unscrew the sting?"

A beginning beekeeper asked Extension apiculturist Eric...

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

Someone's Going Home with a Piece of Him!

Bug Squad - Happenings in the Insect World   By Kathy Keatley Garvey  11/15/13

There's no doubt about it.

Honey bee guru Eric Mussen, Extension apiculturist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology since 1976 and an upcoming retiree, will be "roasted" at the California State Beekeepers' Association conference, to be heldNov 19-21 at Lake Tahoe, Nev.

But someone will be going home with a little...

Read More...

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

About That Bee Nutrition

Bug Squad - Happenings in the Insect World   By Kathy Keatley Garvey   9/10/13

Honey bee guru Eric Mussen never misses an opportunity to talk about the importance of honey bee nutrition

It's critical issue.

Mussen, an Extension apiculturist based at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology since 1976, says malnutrition is a major factor in the declining bee population. That, along with pesticides, pests, diseases and stress.

"You, no doubt, have lost track of how many...

Read More...

 

 

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

UC Davis Department of Entomology Apiary May/June 2013 Newsletter

With the permission of Dr. Eric Mussen, we have attached the UC David Department of Entomology Apiary May/June Newsletter

To subscribe to the U.C. Davis Apiary Newsletter send an e-mail addressed to: https://lists.ucdavis.edu/wws/ subscribe/ucdavisbeenews, fill in the blanks and click Subscribe. 

Congrats to "The Bee Team"

Bug Squad - Happenings in the Insect World   By Kathy Keatley Garvey  4/25/13

Congrats to “The Bee Team” at the University of California, Davis.

The one-of-a-kind team, comprised of five Department of Entomology faculty members, received the coveted team award from the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America (PBESA), for their collaborative work specializing in honey bees, wild bees and pollination issues through research, education and outreach.

Their service to UC Davis spans 116...

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