From the UC Blogosphere...
Especially when the result is an auction item.
Take the case of "The Sting," a memorable lunch-hour photo that went viral. Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen and I were walking through the apiary of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis, when he stopped abruptly. "Kathy, get your camera ready," he said. "A bee is about to sting me."
The resulting image shows a trail of abdominal tissue, aka "guts."
It's copyrighted, registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, but after being named one of Huffington Post's Most Amazing Photos of 2012 and one of the World's Most Perfectly Timed Photos, it now appears on the Internet as owned by thousands of others--people with no qualms about removing my copyright; inserting their own copyright; uploading it; tagging it with the URL of their website; or trying to use it for commercial purposes.
All copyright infringements.
Meanwhile, the photo keeps traveling 'round the world, accompanied by assorted comments:
- "So, you sat around all day torturing bees to get that photo, right?" (Wrong. I've never killed a bee in my entire life, except for the one I accidentally stepped on in Hawaii.)
- "That poor guy. What kind of friend are you? Why didn't you put the camera down and help him?" (Sorry, that's not what happened.)
- "It's posed." (Nope.)
- "It's Photo-Shopped." (Nope.)
- "That abdominal tissue is fake. That's a piece of string." (Nope.)
- "It's a wasp." (Nope.)
- "It's not a real bee." (Wrong. It is--or was--a Carniolan bee reared by bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, now of Washington State University.)
Fast forward to November of this year. Eric and his wife, Helen, decided to offer the mounted image as an auction item at the California State Beekeepers' Conference, held Nov. 19-21 at Lake Tahoe. Both Eric and I signed it, hoping that it would net a few dollars for CSBA.
So, how much did CSBA receive?
Ready for this? $900.
John Miller of Newcastle, outgoing president of CSBA, placed the winning bid. "The photo," he said, "will be in my house for visitors to enjoy/squirm while viewing."
And yes, he's been stung like that, with the abdominal tissue trailing. Usually a bee sting is a clean break.
"If you keep bees – sooner or later – you're going to take an ugly stinging," Miller commented. "I feel sorry for the bee. Usually, she is merely reacting to my own behavior – which ran outside her ability to understand. I 'act out' - she dies."
You may remember John Miller from the book, The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America, written by award-winning journalist Hannah Nordhaus.
Nordhaus describes Miller as a guy who loves bees, spreadsheets, humor and his friends. He's descended from Nephi Ephraim Miller, a Mormon farmer known as "the father of migratory beekeeping" and the first beekeeper to produce "the nation's first million-pound crop of honey."
Miller, based in Gackle, N.D. and Newcastle, Calif., maintains one of the biggest beekeeping operations in the country. Nordhaus hints that it's not quite as big as South Dakota's Richard Adee, who has 80,000 hives.
Miller has a "Jimmy Stewart-like voice and an eternally bemused expression," Nordhaus writes. Miller doesn't cuss. No, indeed. Nordhaus points out that he uses "cowboy words" (especially when he gets stung).
Now "The Sting" is in Miller's house "for visitors to enjoy/squirm while viewing."
Me thinks that once they see his prized auction item, they will not only squirm, but utter a few choice words of their own. Non-cowboy words.
This image, "The Sting," drew $900 at the California State Beekeepers' Association auction. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Happy Holidays to All!
This Thanksgiving I finished up my bulb planting project and reflected on all of the things I am grateful for. If you’ll indulge me - I’d like to share a few of them with all of you.
- I am thrilled to be a part of the UCCE Master Gardener community and am still reveling in the warm welcome, patience and support as I have been making the transition.
- New staff and positions at the statewide office will help us better address the needs of the UCCE Master Gardeners! Aubrey Bray is enjoying her new position as training coordinator. Aubrey is doing the formative work for online training modules to complement the CA Master Gardener Handbook (new handbook’s ETA is fall 2014). Melissa Womack is settling is as program coordinator and has already shown us how valuable her talents will be to harness the power of our Web based assets throughout the state.
- The University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) has a beautiful new home. Now all programs and functions within UC ANR are housed in the same building in Davis, Calif. The statewide Master Gardener office moved in early November, and now has direct access to Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Information Technology (IT) and increased visibility to ANR leadership!
Master Gardener Program
University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources
2801 Second Street
Davis, CA 95618-7779
I am looking forward to a fruitful 2014 with exciting opportunities, including the 2014 Statewide Master Gardener Conference next October. Please keep your eyes open for blog posts and updates – the theme is appropriately Growing Together, a tagline we are actively putting into practice now and for years to come.
Wishing you a safe and family filled holiday season!
"The toads use water areas and the cattle use drier meadow areas, which provide better forage," said Ken Tate, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis.
The study, "Determining the Effects of Cattle Grazing Treatments on Yosemite Toads in Montane Meadows," found "no benefit of fencing to Yosemite toad populations." Researchers said their results "do not support previous studies that found a negative impact of grazing on amphibian populations."
The Yosemite toad was once among the most prevalent amphibians in the high Sierra including Yosemite National Park, where it was first discovered and after which it is named, according to a UC Davis news release. But its population and habitat has declined sharply since the early 1980s, disappearing from much of its historic range — meadows at elevations between 6,500 and 11,500 feet from Alpine to Fresno counties.
Besides grazing, other possible reasons for the amphibian's decline include habitat modifications, disease, invasive species, climate change and pesticides, the AgAlert article said.
Combined with other recent students of water quality and meadow vegetation grazed areas, the research shows that conditions are improving and compatibility between livestock production and other ecosystem services provided by forests are increasing, Tate said.
More information about the studies can be found on the Rangeland Watershed Laboratory website.
As its name implies, it's native to Asia. It was first detected in North America in Wisconsin in July 2000. Technically, it’s Aphis glycines Matsumura. In lay language, that's spelled "p-e-s-t."
Now found throughout much of the Midwest, it sucks.
With its mouthparts.
Enter George Heimpel, professor of entomology at the University of Minnesota's Department of Entomology. Heimpel, who received his doctorate in entomology in 1995 from UC Davis, will return to the UC Davis campus Wednesday, Dec. 4 to speak on “Specificity and the Process of Biological Control Using Aphid Parasitoids."
His seminar takes place from 4:10 to 5 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall. It is scheduled to be recorded for later posting on UCTV. (Editor's Note: The seminar was initially scheduled for noon, but due to midwest storms, Heimpel's flight was delayed.)
"Over the past 25 years or so, importation ('classical') biological control of arthropod pests has undergone a paradigm shift in which emphasis has shifted from an exclusive focus on efficacy to a focus on the actual and potential risks of biological control introductions," Heimpel says. "Host specificity testing is the cornerstone of risk assessment in this new paradigm, and only highly specialized agents are currently approved for release. Here, I describe the process of importation biological control of an invasive agricultural pest in the North-Central U.S.--the Asian soybean aphid."
"Numerous parasitoid species were imported from Asia as potential biological control agents and I focus on five species for which host-specificity testing was done," he says. "Each of these three species tells a different story in terms of host-specificity, the potential for biological control efficacy, and actual success of field releases. Together, these case studies illustrate some potential relationships between safety and efficacy in biological control, and the importance of various traits in mediating safety and efficacy of biological control agents."
Born in Germany, Heimpel grew up mainly in California. He received his bachelor’s degree in conservation and resource studies in 1988 from UC Berkeley and his master's degree in 1991 in entomology and applied ecology from the University of Delaware before heading over to Jay Rosenheim's lab at UC Davis to receive his doctorate in 1995. Heimpel then spent two years as a USDA post-doctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin in Mike Strand’s lab.
Heimpel now teaches biological control and insect behavior.
And one of his targets is the Asian soybean aphid.
Asian soybean aphid. (Courtesy Wikipedia, Claudio Gratton, University of Wisconsin)
Ode to Cabbage
By Andrea Peck
Cut your cabbages when they are firm, but leave the plant in the ground for tasty “small” cabbages that are a nice addition in salads.
Wow. Did I miss a season? Just yesterday I took out my seed packages, determined to plant a few edibles before the forecasted rain began. Amongst the little seed packets, I greedily seized my cabbage seed. Hi, Ho! This was a perfect time to plant! But, as I read the fine print on the packet, it dawned on me that I was mistaken. According to the package cabbage seeds should be sown during late summer or early spring. Hmph.
The sky outside was a perfect, moody, cloudy vignette that promised healthy water free of charge. A slight breeze, neither cool nor warm, wafted from the open door.
Little cabbage heads danced before my eyes. But, alas! I had missed my window.
I have not grown many cabbages in my lifetime, but I have grown enough to know that they are far superior when grown in your own backyard. Cabbage is a funny thing; it doesn’t elicit a sense of craving like, say, a peach would. But backyard cabbage is delicious and when you grow one and finally pick it, you might find yourself taking bites out of it as you chop it up for your meal. It is that amazing.
Well, I might have missed my opportunity, but I decided to push the envelope. We live in California after all, isn’t that what we are supposed to do?
It didn’t take long for me to discover that, according to the California Master Gardener Handbook, cabbage can be grown year-round along the coast. I was overjoyed to hear this, but I have read about (and experienced firsthand) the requirements for seed germination. Just to be on the safe side, I decided to seek further truth from my hefty Master Gardener tome.
Because my home is subject to some frost, I decided to find the optimal seed germination temperatures for cabbage. According to the Master Gardener Handbook, cabbage seeds have the best chance of germinating between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, that is the optimal range. Technically cabbage seeds can germinate as low as 40°F and as high as 95°F. Currently our temperatures fall within that range. I might just take a little time to plant a few seeds, after all.
Cabbage requires rich soil and a pH that falls between 6.0 – 7.5. Despite its stalwart appearance, it is subject to invasion by many pests and diseases. Maintaining consistent soil health and irrigation practices helps your cabbage heads resist complete attack. They appreciate a bit of fussing. On your garden walks, take time to visit with your spherical bug collectors. Handpick worms, bugs, snails and slugs. Keep your cabbages well mulched to keep moisture in. They like it cozy.
If you get lucky and your cabbage makes a showing, you can wait until the head is firm before harvesting. Don’t wait too long, however. My book says right here on page 367 that over mature cabbage may burst.