UC Berekley Urban Bee Lab - The Buzz, Volume 1, Nov 2014
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          Introducing the official UC Berekley Urban Bee Lab newsletter.  Created with the goal of providing current and personalized updates to our supporters and native bee enthusiasts, we have compiled a list of emails received over the years that expressed interest in our research.  We hope to provide you with insights into our projects and contributors, share talks and conferences at which The Lab will be represented, and share exciting native and urban bee news with you!
Hot off the press:

California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists

"...the vibrant hum of tiny wings, the ungainly bob of bumble bees in flight, flower heads gently tousled by the shimmying dance of pollen collection." 
(above) Dr. Frankie poses with his new book
We are excited to announce that our new book, California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists is now available from Heyday Books! This book draws on more than a decade of research and features over 200 full color pictures, diagrams, and illustrations to describe 53 bee-friendly plants and how to grow them!  For a more in-depth look at the new book, please read this insightful interview with Dr. Frankie by Heyday Books. But don't just take our word for it! California Bees and Blooms has been reviewed by the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and been commended for appealing to diverse audiences with its comprehensive coverage. 
Upcoming Events
  • November 17  Sara Leon Guerrero is presenting at the Mendocino Coast Audubon Chapter monthly meeting (Casper, CA).
  • November 18  Jaime Pawelek is speaking at the Milo Baker CNPS monthly meeting in Santa Rosa.  7:30pm.
  • November 18  Sara Leon Guerrero is presenting at the Ukiah Audubon Chapter monthly meeting.
  • November 20  Sara Leon Guerrero is presenting at the Red Bud Audubon Chapter monthly meeting (Kelseyville, CA).
  • November 24, 2014.  Jaime Pawelek is speaking at the Eden Garden Club in Castro Valley at 9:30am.
Late Bloomers:
Resources for a Winter Garden
As the weather cools and days shorten, here are a few resources to keep your garden in shape! Fall is a great time to plant natives, since there is less of a chance of over-watering. The same applies for other drought-resistant Mediterranean plants, like rock rose or rosemary, even though they’re much less sensitive. A list of year round bee plants is available from Farmer Fred. Start prepping beds to seed spring-flowering CA annuals and when rains are predicted, sprinkle them in big patches. By and large, most trees, shrubs and ground-covers do best when planted in autumn, as well. The chief exceptions to the rule are subtropical plants which need warmth. Northern California residents, here is a good checklist to prepare your garden for the cooler days ahead. Southern California residents here is one for you! Remember, it's never too soon to start planning your garden for next year! 

Featured Article: Gourmet Bees

Dr. Frankie's work with Costa Rica bees in urban areas has been featured in National Geographic! Foodie Bees: Insects Head Downtown for Dinner provides a great introduction to the diversity of Costa Rica bees and how urbanization affects pollinator populations. In the past decade, The Costa Rica Bee Project has cataloged visits from 112 of Costa Rica's 800 bee species in both urban and wild-land environments. Preliminary data shows that on average city specimens attract about the same number of species as wild specimens (sometimes, city plants actually attract more bee species). This supports the idea that urban spaces could be designed to provide a suitable environment for native species. Some next steps include determining if bees are living in the urban gardens, or simply visiting; starting educational programs about native pollinators; and designing the first Costa Rica bee-habitat garden. For more information about the Costa Rica Bee Project, visit our webpage.

For an extra treat, read Ima Rymes' ode to a city bee at the bottom of the comments section!
November Bee of the Month:
Carpenter bee (Xylocopa
California is home to 3 species of carpenter bees, the California Carpenter bee, the Mountain Carpenter bee, and the Valley Carpenter bee.  Females are large, black and shiny (left).  The male Valley Carpenter bee is all golden brown and fuzzy and is so called the teddy bear bee (right)!

Carpenter bees build their nests in wood and are relatively long-lived, with some females living several years.  Female carpenter bees excavate nests in trellises, old flowering stalks of Agave, or any large piece of untreated wood.  They fill the nests with nectar and pollen, lay their eggs (which are up to 2/3” long!), then separate the cells with partitions made of sawdust.  

Some of their favorite plants include Wisteria sinensis, Salvia melissodora, Cercis occidentalis, and Parkinsonia spp.  They also visit flowers illegally if they can’t fit in them properly.  Their spear-like tongues pierce the base of flowers to drink the sweet nectar, essentially bypassing the reproductive parts of the flower – we call this nectar-robbing.  Honey bees have taken to using these holes made by the carpenter bees and are called secondary robbers.

These large bees can sometimes be intimidating, but are very docile. Males are territorial and often set up outside nests in search of females.  They may buzz around your head to check you out, but don’t forget, male bees can’t sting!!  We've still seen a few of these guys buzzing in our garden, what about you?
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