UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab - The Buzz, Volume 20, June 2018
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~Apologies for our long absence~

Due to a high turnover in our lab staff, we had difficulties in making time for our bimonthly newsletter. We are working to try and make more, consistent times for platforms such as this . We truly value outreach and hope to do better in the future! We hope you enjoy June's newsletter as we have a lot of new and exciting information to share! 
Summer just began and temperatures are heating up so we want to make sure your eyes are ready to spot as many bees as you can find! As we like to say, it's time to get your bee eyes ready! Below is a game we put together. Can you figure out which images are bees and which ones are other insect friends? (Answers are at the bottom of the page.)
Building a bee nesting block in your backyard? Here's what to do:
  1. WOOD - rot-resistant cedar and redwood are the best to use! Make sure, however, that the wood is not treated with any sort of chemicals. 
  2. DESIGN - a simple design is always best! Take a block of wood and drill holes 3, 4, and 5/16" wide and about 4-5" deep. Varying hole size helps to increase heterogeneity in the bees that choose to nest in your block. Sometimes less holes are best as it's possible to attract unwanted parasites, parasitoids, and predators. Big bee hotels and condos that you can find in stores are not ideal for this reason. 
  3. PLACEMENT - shade is key! Place your block in an area that will be shaded from the sun throughout the day. If that space doesn't exist in your garden, you can make the block a roof to go on top. Blocks that are in full sun will kill those nesting inside. Placement next to resources, i.e. flowers and water, can be convenient for female native bees as they provision the nest for their young.  
  4. MAINTENANCE - weekly check- ups! It's important to make sure you clear out any unfilled holes of spider webs, earwigs, and other unwanted animals. Making sure you do routine checks helps to make sure your block is available for native bee nesters. 
Save Mount. Diablo Project 

We are continuing our work on Mt. Diablo sampling for native bee species. We have been making a database of all species and continue to add new ones each year. We are altering collection methods to include both aerial net catching and pan-trapping. The weather has delayed some of our sampling, but with warming temperatures, we are hoping to add even more species to the list. 

Avocado Pollination Study / Ventura Farming Project

We just completed our last round of monitoring for our Ventura Farming Project. Similarly to our project in Brentwood, we are monitoring farms where we have installed native bee habitat, to see how native bee populations can increase when supplemented with resources. In addition to this, we have been sampling avocado crops to figure out what pollinates them. This will hopefully lead into new discoveries in how to supplement resources for those specific pollinators. 

Urban Brentwood Sampling 

We just recently received a grant from the Contra Costa County Fish & Wildlife to sample and monitor native bees in urban Brentwood. We are excited to start sampling in May. This is an important study as the relationship between urban and agriculture interfaces are not well understood, especially focusing on native bees that use both areas for foraging, shelter, etc.  We will be able to compare the species that exist on our farms sites in Brentwood, to the species that are found in the urban areas of Brentwood. 
XI International Symposium on Pollination
Berlin, Germany

In April of this year, Dr. Gordon Frankie was in Berlin as an organizer for the 11th International Symposium on Pollination. His presentations on urban pollination and public outreach were one of several dozen presentations from researchers across the world. In particular, his presentation and workshop on bridging the gap between research and outreach was well-received and served as a great opportunity to share with an international audience the importance of making science accessible to the public, a huge part of the lab's work here at home.
Upcoming Events:

June 30, 2018. Sonoma Bee Count. We will be conducting our annual citizen science project for the 8th time this year! The Sonoma Bee Count is a project-based learning experience that engages local volunteers in collecting, counting, and processing bees for later identification. Attendees get a glimpse into the day-to-day workings of our lab, and they'll also get to work with and speak to mentors who can help them along the way. Check out our website for a history on how this project got started.

Answers to 'Bee-Eye Ready'
Top left: Fly
Top right: Bee
Bottom left: Fly 
Bottom right: Bee 
Bee of the Month – Diadasia rinconis

Also known as the "mallow-loving digger bee," these stout-bodied, medium-sized bees have rounded heads, perfect for digging, and are densely covered with velvety hairs. Both sexes are light brown with striped abdomens, and females are larger than their male counterparts. Like most other digger bees, the females of this species are solitary and soil-nest in areas of bare, flat ground. Diadasia rinconis is one of 8 Diadasia species recorded visiting urban gardens, and one of 20 total recorded species in California. They have a flight season between April and August.

For pollen, females of this genera specialize in plants of the mallow family (hence the nickname), but D. rinconis can be found at this time of year foraging almost exclusively  in flowers of Opuntia sp. and is sometimes called the “cactus bee” for this reason. Females transport pollen in scopae on their hind legs, but are much less selective about their nectar sources. 

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UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab · Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley · 130 Mulford Hall #3114 · Berkeley, Ca 94720 · USA

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