UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab - The Buzz, Volume 23, October 2019
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Honoring Professor Emeritus Dr. Robbin Thorp (1933-2019)
by Jaime Pawelek
It’s hard to know where to start when honoring a man that dedicated his life and career to the study of wild, native bees.  First off, we feel incredibly honored to have worked with Dr. Thorp, not only producing a wonderful book on California’s native bees, but teaching many workshops together, and collaborating on many research projects across California. 
The world lost an incredible advocate for bees and it’s felt not only here in California, but across the US and the world.  He was the number one bee taxonomist of California and worked for years describing new species, writing keys and assisting many other researchers with their bee identifications.  Everyone that was lucky to work with and be taught by Dr. Thorp will speak to his incredible patience and that he was extremely generous with his time and knowledge. 
While he had a prestigious teaching career at UC Davis for 30 years and was made Professor Emeritus in 1994, he continued working throughout all of his retirement.  He taught at the Bee Course in Arizona for 16 years, co-authored two books about native bees, co-authored dozens of peer-reviewed publications, raised awareness of endangered bumble bees and helped many graduate students and researchers with their bee identifications. 
Robbin was one of my biggest mentors and influencers here in the bee world and I can’t express how grateful I am to him for his guidance, kindness, and spirit.  One of my greatest achievements was teaching a bee identification workshop with him and I loved soaking up the knowledge that he shared so freely with everyone.  I am forever a wanna-bee Robbin and I feel so lucky that I get to still learn from him through his papers and reference material he has gifted all of us. 
To read more about Dr. Thorp’s incredible career and his vast achievements and contributions to science, please click here. 
Berkeleyside Bee Video featuring Jaime
Jaime was recently featured in a Berkeleyside Video series about local endangered species. The video speaks on how chemical use, climate change, and habitat loss are impacting the urban bees in Berkeley. You can watch it below!
Berkeleyside: "The Edge of Extinction, Episode 3: Bees in a squeeze" featuring Jaime Pawelek
Ventura Avocado Project
The Avocado project in Ventura continues to progress and new bee species are being detected at the farms each year. You can learn more about this project in Southern California at our site here.  

Notable Additions to our Collections
We just recorded our first Centris species (Centris rhodopus, the red-eyed Centris) for this project and a new digger bee, Anthophora bomboides, which is also our bee of the month!
Sonoma Bee Count
The Sonoma Bee Count, our citizen-intiated, citizen science project just wrapped up year 9! Next year will conclude our 10 year study of Sonoma’s native bee species in collaboration with Cittaslow Sonoma, so please stay tuned for results of this unique long-term study. Check out our page for more information!

Since our last newsletter, a couple of new members have joined the lab!

After a brief absence Sara has returned to work with us, helping out with our data collection, labeling work, and communications.

She has been so valuable to the lab, and we are happy to have her back! 

We also want to introduce Amanda Harmon, an undergraduate volunteer who started working with us Summer of 2019. In addition to helping out field work and labeling, Amanda will also be contributing to the social media for the lab.

Some more undergraduates have joined from the URAP (Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program) and SPUR (Sponsored Projects for Undergraduate Research) for the Fall 2019 semester. We will be introducing them in future newsletters!
Pictured: Sara Witt (top) and Amanda Harmon (bottom)
We have recently joined Instagram! Follow us on Instagram for upcoming posts and bee photos! Follow us at
Upcoming Events

October 13, 2019
Berkeley Bee Fair: 

We will be presenting some of the lab’s work at the Berkeley Bee Fair, and Dr. Frankie will be giving a talk at the event!

Click here for more information. 

November 11, 2019
Master Gardener Lecture Series: 
This lecture series is given by the Master Gardener Program, a volunteer group dedicated to providing residents of Merced County research-based information on gardening, landscape, and resource conservation. Dr. Frankie will be giving a talk as part of this series!

Click here to find out more. 

December 12, 2019
6th Annual Mary Bowerman Science and Research Colloquium: 

This presentation series organized by Save Mount Diablo is open to researchers, scientists, and the general public, and will be presenting recent findings and projects from California's Diablo range. Jaime will be giving a talk at this event!
Find registration and other information here.
Bee of the Month – Anthophora bomboides

Ever spotted a bumble-bee in your garden who didn’t act quite like a bumble-bee? It’s very possible that instead you had a different visitor, the easily mistakable Anthophora bomboides.

Unlike its fellow Anthophora, this particular species of “digger bee” has quite the atypical appearance; rather than sporting the usual black and white stripes of other Anthophora, bomboides fully lives up to its name as a “bumble-bee mimic,” with its variation on the bumble-bee’s fuzzy, black and yellow stripes. A bit smaller than the bumble-bee, however, Anthophora bomboides are usually medium-sized like other Anthophora.

Among the five sub-species that exist in the United States, the ones most common in California are out mid to late Summer, and can be found on Penstemon and California Lilac. Anthophora bomboides are found across much of California, but are more abundant along the coastal regions.

Look out for these sneaky bumble-bee mimics in your garden!

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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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