What is in this article?:
- UC Davis haven shows amazing life of honey bees
- Signage project
- The honey bee garden at UC Davis, is not only bee friendly, it’s people friendly, thanks to a major volunteer effort by a visiting biologist from Boston.
The honey bee garden at the University of California, Davis, is not only bee friendly, it’s people friendly, thanks to a major volunteer effort by a visiting biologist from Boston.
Veteran biology teacher Sarah Huber researched, created and installed two dozen illustrated signs, which provide a self-guided tour of the half-acre Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road.
The haven is as a year-around food source for bees, a demonstration garden and a research site.
Huber described the bee garden as “an amazing resource for anyone designing their own garden, taking their kids on a new adventure, or just meeting a friend for a walk.”
The haven is “a lasting source of inspiration for the public,” she said.
The numbered signs welcome visitors to the garden, relate why bees are amazing, why they are in trouble, and what folks can do to help.
Visitors can learn why beekeepers don’t eat bananas before they tend their hives (“A bee in danger releases an alarm pheromone which is also a chemical found in bananas”) how many flowers a colony must visit to make one pound of honey (“two million flowers”), and how fast a bee’s wings can beat (“12,000 times a minute”).
Huber’s signs also point out why the honey bee is considered both an immigrant and migrant worker. European colonists brought the honey bee (Apis mellifera) to America in 1662. Today U.S. farmers rent 2 million colonies a year to pollinate their crops.
“Some farmers own their own hives, but many rent hives from beekeepers to pollinate their crops,” Huber wrote. “Hives travel by truck from one flowering crop to the next each season. Smaller farms in less developed areas may rely on wild native bees and feral honey bees for pollination.
However, each year more than 2 million bee colonies are rented for U.S. crop pollination.”
The signage begins with: “Follow the numbered signs to gain an appreciation for the amazing adaptations of honey bees and the invaluable services they provide. Experience empathy for their plight and be inspired to take action to help save them as their population declines.”
The haven, open from dawn to dusk (admission is free), officially opened to the public on Sept. 11, 2010. Through its parent company Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Häagen-Dazs has gifted or pledged a total of $252,000 to the UC Davis Department of Entomology for the garden. Its other projects include funding the Häagen-Dazs Postdoctoral Scholar.