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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Bee expert calls for habitat support

A valley carpenter bee feasts on salvia. Robbin Thorp/Courtesy photo

By
From page A3 | January 10, 2013 |

Learn more

What: “Buzzed for Bees” with Robbin Thorp

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19

Where: Rush Ranch, Suisun

Directions: From Highway 12 in Suisun City, head south on Grizzly Island Road for about two miles. The entrance gate is on the right. The workshop takes place in the Nature Center past the big white barn.

Admission: Free

Robbin Thorp, a UC Davis professor emeritus, will share his knowledge of California’s native bees, discuss their importance as crop pollinators and encourage participants to enhance bee habitat on farms and in gardens during a free event this month in Suisun.

The two-hour event begins at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Rush Ranch Nature Center. Plenty of time will be allowed for questions and to view bee specimens.

The Yolo-Solano region is dependent on agriculture. Agricultural products contributed $291 million to the region in 2011, with many crops dependent on honeybee pollination.

According to USDA, managed honeybee colonies have declined by half since the 1940s while the need for pollination has increased. Each year, beekeepers lose about one-third of their colonies to colony collapse disorder.

Thorp will discuss ways in which several of California’s 1,600 species of native bees can help ease the pressure on managed honeybee pollination, and how landowners and home gardeners can promote bee health by planting hedgerows and bee-friendly gardens.

Local farms that use hedgerows to support bees, and the UC Davis Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven demonstration garden will serve as examples. His talk, “Buzzed for Bees,” is for farmers, gardeners and everyone who eats pollinated crops, which is all of us.

Thorp joined the UCD department of entomology in 1964. Throughout his career, he has researched honeybee pollination; studied the specialized role of native bees in vernal pools and on farms; and examined the populations and ecology of bumblebees. Although he retired in 1994, he remains active as a researcher, lecturer and bee expert.

Thorp also serves as a docent and instructor at Solano Land Trust’s Jepson Prairie Preserve.

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