Farming for Native Bees

Final report for SW14-011

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2014: $247,649.48
Projected End Date: 03/31/2018
Grant Recipient: UC Berkeley
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
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Project Information

Abstract:

In early 2014, in partnership with Western SARE, Dr. Gordon Frankie (PI) began work on “Farming for Native Bees”, an innovative project that constructs  and monitors high quality native bee habitats on avocado farms in Ventura Co. and vicinity, Southern California.  The following report describes  objectives and breakthroughs accomplished during the third grant period (Dec. 2016-Dec. 2017).  This includes:

  1. Standardized pan traps and aerial (net) collections were used to monitor bees and other visitors at 6 sites in 3 large avocado farms.  In contrast to the previous drought years, monitoring yielded substantial new visitor information, owing to greatly increased rainfall during winter of 2016/ 2017, which stimulated plant growth and visitor populations. Drought returned again in 2017/2018 winter, which impacted plants and flower visitors somewhat. 
  2. Intensive visitor frequency counts and collections from avocado flowers yielded 15 identified native bee species and several undetermined hover fly and wasp species.  These are the first documented records of non-Apis mellifera visitors to avocado flowers in California.  This work leads to an estimate of 30-35 potential pollinating insects visiting avocado flowers in this area.
  3. Installation of one additional acre of bee-attractive perennials at the Elwood Canyon Ranch in Goleta.  (one additional acre was also added to the Butler Ranch in 2016).
  4. Increased interest and cooperation form owners/mangers of the 3 farms in the form of offering more labor to help maintain bee habitat gardens, and offering more space to increase sizes of bee gardens; offers to buy bee plants as well.
  5. Increased outreach to other SoCal avocado growers on the form of 2 separate field demonstrations of bee habitat constructions.  Outreach done in collaboration with Ben Faber, UC Cooperative Extension, Ventura Co.
  6. General outreach to diverse audiences across CA through numerous presentations, conferences, and a large submitted peer-reviewed publication on the model study (Brentwood bees in NorCal) for the Ventura project in SoCal.
  7. Continuation of Pollinator Habitat Advisor (PHA) pilot project with a UC Berkeley student. Results indicate that the position calls for a horticulturalist and an entomologist working together. 
  8. Completion of a report on the socioeconomics of farmers cooperating on farming for native bee projects in Brentwood and Ventura Co. and vicinity (available upon request).
  9. Flip-card booklet on common native bees of California (and farms) was published by the UC-ANR Division of the University of California, Davis, CA (see attached advertisement).  A copy is available upon request.
Project Objectives:
  1. FIELD RESEARCH

Native Bee Monitoring:

We continued to conduct a standardized bee monitoring program in 2017 at all 6 study sites on the 3 SoCal farms.  At each farm (or ranch as they are called locally) there is a control site and a treatment site, where the constructed bee gardens are located.  Control and treatment sites at each ranch are separated by considerable distance.  Results of monitoring in 2017 produced increased collections of bees over previous drought years (as reported in last year’s progress report).  These collections also produced 12 native bee species (additional species recorded in 2018) and several hover fly and wasp species that were visiting avocado flowers.  The new flower host records are the first documented non-Apis insect visitors to avocado flowers in California.  Casual observations of a few insects have been mentioned in the past by growers, but this was the first time that bee collections were made, identified to species and curated.  Fly and wasp species are currently being prepared for identification.

Bee Garden Expansions:  Once the new visitor identifications were confirmed, we began installing more perennial plants in the treatment gardens, which were known to attract target native bee species and at least some fly and wasp visitors.  This gardening work started in late spring and was continued through Dec. 2017.  Further, we also announced this progress to each owner, and in response they offered additional space for more plantings.  In the case of the Jim Lloyd Butler Ranch, we have nearly doubled the size of the original bee garden and have plans to double it again in 2018, with the urging and financial support of the owner.  The Elwood Canyon Ranch in Goleta is in the process of being doubled in size (in 2018), and the Thille Ranch will be doubled as well in 2018, with the help of the owner.

Garden Maintenance:

Each of the 3 gardens has required periodic maintenance in the form of weeding, pruning, and some replacements or additions of new plants to keep the pollen and nectar flowing.  At each ranch owners have offered help by providing workers to assistance to the PI, who supervises all maintenance.  This action is part of the original collaboration agreement made with each owner.  An added value to this activity is the opportunity to continually interact with owners and managers of each property to share results and respond to questions.

Curation of Collected Insects:

Monitoring at control and treatment sites produced a wealth of insects and host floral records in 2017, owing to the strong rainy season of 2016/ 2017.  Each insect was labeled accordingly and curated into collections maintained at the Urban Bee Lab at UC Berkeley.  All bees have been identified to species by Jaime Pawelek and to a limited extent by Robbin Thorp at UC Davis.  Bee species were databased, which allowed for examining long-term patterns since monitoring began in 2014.  The examination also allowed us to assess the effects of the drought years.  This evaluation will continue with the planned monitoring of 2018 and hopefully in 2019, and we also expect that our case history will contribute to ongoing discussions on climate change, the effects of which are evident from our work.

  1. ECONOMIC ANALYSIS

We completed a report on the socioeconomic analysis of native bees and farmers’s responses to the concept of incorporating native bees into their farming operations (available upon request).  It is considered preliminary as it did not include the discovery of the several non-Apis visitors to avocado flowers that has stimulated some farmers.  It is clear that we will need to do more interview work in the future as interest on our results has picked up considerably with the new 2017 discoveries.

  1. FARMER & AGRICULTURAL OUTREACH:

Building on the 3 power point presentations to avocado growers in 2016, I gave 2 separate field demonstrations of our work at the Jim Lloyd Butler Ranch in summer, 2017.  The demos were arranged by Ben Faber, UC Coop Extension.  During the demos, I was able to share results of our non-Apis visitors finding, which were well received.  Approximately 100 growers from across the state attended these events.

Findings of our work are scheduled to be presented at an international conference on avocados that will be held in Istanbul Turkey in August, 2018.  Ben Faber will present the paper that will feature our work.

  1. POLLINATOR HABITAT ADVISOR (PHA):

The concept of the PHA is to develop a pilot program to train a person whose speciality would be working with farmers to develop bee habitat gardens within their agricultural fields to encourage native bees to visit crop flowers and thus provide crop pollination services to supplement honey bee pollination.  We had considered using the University of California extension service, but upon inquiry they are too over worked with all their other responsibilities to take on this special work.

We have been working with one UC Berkeley student to evaluate the feasibility of the approach. We learned that farmers are interested in making use of native bees, but they don’t know or have experience in setting up the bee habitat gardens. Further, we now believe that the position actually calls for 2 professionals; a horticulturalist and an entomologist. The issue of market demand for such a service needs further investigation. 

PROJECT EVALUATION TO DATE:

There have been a few problems encountered in 2017, but we have dealt with each of them as they arose, and have also depended greatly on the help of Ben Faber who guided us through some of the divergences, most of which were temporary.  We have been greatly motivated by the discoveries mentioned above and this is taking us into new questions and territories.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Stacy Pulice
  • Dr. Ben Faber (Educator and Researcher)
  • Dr. Gordon Frankie (Educator and Researcher)
  • Marissa Chase (Educator and Researcher)
  • James Lloyd-Butler
  • Phil McGrath
  • Jaime Pawelek (Educator and Researcher)
  • Dave Pommer
  • Dr. Robbin Thorp (Educator and Researcher)
  • Dr. Rollin Coville (Educator and Researcher)
  • Joanne O'Sullivan

Research

Materials and methods:

Monitoring is done 3 times during the avocado flowering period, usually late March to the end of May.  We use a standard sampling procedure for each count (described above).

Research results and discussion:

A list of all the collected and identified species is presented in Table 1.  The total number of species recorded to date for the combined collections was 82 species.  Five of the six sites had about an equal number of recorded species (30-35) throughout the Ventura area.  The bee garden site (treatment) at ECR had 45 species as compared to the other sites (Table 1).

We also looked at when each species was first collected during each year from 2014-2017 (Table 2).  It is noteworthy that there were new species recorded each year, which suggests that there are still more to discover (Table 2).  In 2017 the highest number of species was recorded, and this is probably due to each of the bee gardens becoming more mature and producing more flowers for bee food.  The increase in 2015 was due to an unusual rain event that occurred in SoCal that simulated a surge in bee species and abundance (see graphs).

All of the bee species were data based, and then graphs of bee species richness and abundance were plotted.  See 6 graphs.  We want to add the collections from 2018 and 2019 to be able to see if there are trends, but in the meantime, we cautiously suggest the following overviews.

A generally higher species richness was recorded in each of the 3 treatment vs control sites each year.  In 2015 there was an unusual rain event that produced a surge in bee abundance at all 6 sites.  With the exception of 2015, the abundance levels were relatively low, and this may be related to the general drought conditions that have prevailed for the past 6-7 years in California, and especially in SoCal, where drought conditions have been extreme.

We speculated that the ongoing garden expansions at each of the 3 treatment sites at each ranch will produce additional bee species and higher levels of abundance in future monitoring (sampling).

Comments on diversity of avocado flower visitors and visitation or frequency counts that are ongoing

The bee gardens at Jim Lloyd Butler Ranch are scheduled for demo use in 2018 and beyond for state-wide avocado growers.  This will be a collaboration project with UC Coop Extension specialist Ben Faber and Jim Lloyd Butler.  Thus, use beyond the scientific value of the gardens will be realized.  Goal of the project is to demonstrate how to set up a bee garden and what plant species to use (and where to resource them as well).

Selection of plants for the SoCal bee gardens is increasingly focused on several target plant species that attract native bee species, which are also visiting avocado flowers.  For example, some of the best plant species are:  Calandrina grandiflora, Grindelia stricta, G. camporum, Eschscholzia californica, Ceanothus ‘Yankee Point’, Salvia brandegei, S. ‘Dara’s Choice’, Echium candicans, Lavandula spp., Eriophyllum confertiflorum, and Vitex agnus-castus.

Pollinator Habitat Advisor (PHA)

We enlisted an undergraduate to work with us to learn about the feasibility of the PHA concept of developing a professional who could construct a bee habitat garden for farmers, and use this garden to attract native bees for their pollination services of targeted crop flowers.  Initially, we thought that one person could be the PHA, but after a year of observing this student and evaluating our own experiences with farmers, we decided that it was really a 2 person job, with each one providing a different but related expertise.  One of these would be the horticulturist who would deal with the plant side.  The second would be the bee person who would evaluate the bee side of the project.  We still feel that this is a viable concept as results from an increasing number of studies indicate that native bees can be very effective pollinators of crop flowers.  One just needs to know how to create habitat that keeps them reproducing and surviving.  In a related NorCal project, we have recorded 144 bee species in the Brentwood farms, and at least 23 of these are good pollinators of crop flowers.  We also now know which plant species to use to attract the bees that also will visit crop flowers.

Expanding bee gardens at the 3 farms (ranches)

Each of the bee gardens at the 3 farms (ranches as they are called) were expanded to include more bee plants.  Currently, each garden has about 25+ plant types.  Elwood Canyon Ranch at Goleta has doubled in size to be about 3/4 of an acre.  Another 1/4 acre is on the way.  Butler Ranch has doubled in size and will soon be doubled again in size ( see below).  Thille Ranch is moving towards doubling in size, and work will intensify on it during the summer of 2018.

The big development of size increase will be realized at the Butler Ranch as the owner has offered us about one acre of land for a new bee garden and has offered to buy the needed plants and install them.  He has told us on more than one occasion that he values the research work we are doing as it just makes sense to provide habitat for bees within a farm, knowing that the native bees are highly visible and are doing pollinating of crop flowers.  We are working on this expansion with the collaboration of Dr. Ben Faber, UC Coop. Extension, Ventura Co., SoCal. See picture in “Success Stories” section of report. 

Relationship building with ranches (growers)

We have made special efforts to interact with all the avocado growers every time we work on their properties.  We also supply them with general info on our work and related work of others.  We always take time to listen to their questions and use some of them for gathering extra and new data.  We are in regular contact with all of them by email.  They all have received copies of our published papers and relevant papers from our colleagues.  They all have posters of the bee species that they can expect to encounter on their ranches.

Figures & Tables: 

Table 1: 

Bee Species ECR Control ECR Treat JLB Control JLB Treat Thille Control Thille Treat
ANDRENIDAE = 13            
Andrena atypica   X        
Andrena auricoma X X        
Andrena candida   X        
Andrena sp. ECR-1   X        
Andrena sp. ECR-2   X        
Andrena sp. ECR-3 X          
Andrena sp. ECR-4   X        
Andrena sp. V-1   X        
Andrena sp. V-2   X        
Andrena sp.       X X  
Andrena spp. (males)   X        
Calliopsis sp.     X      
Panurginus sp.   X        
Perdita sp.     X X X  
Totals: 2 9 2 2 2 0
APIDAE = 28            
Anthophora californica   X X X   X
Anthophora curta       X    
Anthophora edwardsii       X    
Anthophora urbanba         X X
Apis mellifera X X X X X X
Bombus melanopygus   X X   X X
Bombus vosnesenskii   X X X X  
Ceratina acantha X X X X X X
Ceratina arizonensis     X X X X
Ceratina nanula X X   X X  
Diadasia australis     X X X  
Diadasia bituberculata X   X X X X
Diadasia laticauda X         X
Diadasia ochracea X     X X  
Diadasia opuntiae     X   X  
Diadasia rinconis X X   X    
Diadasia sp.     X     X
Eucera actuosa X X        
Eucera edwardsii X          
Eucera frater albopilosa   X        
Eucera nr. virgata   X        
Eucera sp.   X        
Melissodes communis alopex     X      
Melissodes lupina     X      
Melissodes robustior           X
Nomada sp.           X
Xylocopa tabaniformnis orpifex   X        
Xylocopa varipuncta   X   X    
Totals: 9 13 12 13 11 12
COLLETIDAE = 5            
Hylaeus mesillae X X X X X X
Hylaeus polifolii X X   X X X
Hylaeus rudbeckiae X          
Hylaeus sp. (all female)   X X X    
Hylaeus spp. (all female)         X X
Totals: 3 3 2 3 3 3
HALICTIDAE = 29            
Agapostemon texanus X X X X X X
Augochlorella pomoniella         X  
Dufourea sp.   X        
Halictus ligatus X X     X X
Halictus tripartitus X X X X X X
Lasioglossum (Dialictus) sp. (females and males)     X      
Lasioglossum (Dialictus) sp. B-1     X      
Lasioglossum (Dialictus) sp. V-1     X X   X
Lasioglossum (Dialictus) sp. V-2 X   X X X X
Lasioglossum (Dialictus) sp. V-3     X X    
Lasioglossum (Dialictus) sp. V-4 X X X X X X
Lasioglossum (Dialictus) sp. V-5       X   X
Lasioglossum (Dialictus) spp. (females and males) X X X X X X
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) sp. (females and males) X X   X    
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) sp. 3 X X        
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) sp. 4     X X    
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) sp. E X X X   X X
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) sp. ECR-1   X        
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) sp. ECR-2 X X        
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) sp. ECR-3 X X        
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) sp. V-1 X       X  
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) spp. (males)         X X
Lasioglossum diversopunctatum       X    
Lasioglossum incompletum X X X X X X
Lasioglossum kincaidii   X       X
Lasioglossum nr. tegulariforme     X   X X
Lasioglossum ovaliceps   X        
Lasioglossum sisymbrii X X X X X X
Lasioglossum tegulariforme X X X X X X
Sphecodes sp.         X  
Totals: 15 17 15 14 14 14
MEGACHILIDAE = 7            
Anthidium collectum       X    
Ashmeadiella salviae X   X      
Megachile coquilleti         X  
Megachile lippiae         X  
Osmia clarescens X X   X X X
Osmia coloradensis X X        
Osmia nemoris X X        
Osmia sp. (males)   X        
Totals: 4 3 1 2 3 1
Total Spp. = 82 spp. 33 spp. 45 spp. 32 spp. 34 spp. 33 spp. 30 spp.

Table 2: 

Bee Species 2014 2015 2016 2017
ANDRENIDAE = 13        
Andrena atypica       X
Andrena auricoma   X X X
Andrena candida     X X
Andrena sp. ECR-1       X
Andrena sp. ECR-2       X
Andrena sp. ECR-3       X
Andrena sp. ECR-4       X
Andrena sp. V-1     X  
Andrena sp. V-2     X  
Andrena sp.       X
Andrena spp. (males)       X
Calliopsis sp.   X    
Panurginus sp.     X X
Perdita sp. X X X  
Totals:        
APIDAE = 28        
Anthophora californica       X
Anthophora curta     X  
Anthophora edwardsii       X
Anthophora urbana     X X
Apis mellifera X X X X
Bombus melanopygus X X X X
Bombus vosnesenskii   X X X
Ceratina acantha X X X X
Ceratina arizonensis X X X X
Ceratina nanula   X X X
Diadasia australis X X   X
Diadasia bituberculata X X X X
Diadasia laticauda   X X  
Diadasia ochracea X X    
Diadasia opuntiae   X   X
Diadasia rinconis X   X  
Diadasia sp.    X    
Eucera actuosa       X
Eucera edwardsii   X    
Eucera frater albopilosa       X
Eucera nr. virgata       X
Eucera sp.   X   X
Melissodes communis alopex   X    
Melissodes lupina   X    
Melissodes robustior   X    
Nomada sp. X      
Xylocopa tabaniformnis orpifex     X  
Xylocopa varipuncta   X X X
Totals:        
COLLETIDAE = 5        
Hylaeus mesillae X X   X
Hylaeus polifolii   X X  
Hylaeus rudbeckiae     X  
Hylaeus sp. (all female) X X X X
Hylaeus spp. (all female)   X    
Totals:        
HALICTIDAE = 29        
Agapostemon texanus X X X X
Augochlorella pomoniella X X    
Dufourea sp.       X
Halictus ligatus X X X X
Halictus tripartitus X X X X
Lasioglossum (Dialictus) sp. (females and males)     X X
Lasioglossum (Dialictus) sp. B-1     X  
Lasioglossum (Dialictus) sp. V-1 X X X X
Lasioglossum (Dialictus) sp. V-2 X X X X
Lasioglossum (Dialictus) sp. V-3 X     X
Lasioglossum (Dialictus) sp. V-4 X X X X
Lasioglossum (Dialictus) sp. V-5 X     X
Lasioglossum (Dialictus) spp. (females and males) X X X X
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) sp. (females and males) X X X  
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) sp. 3   X   X
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) sp. 4 X      
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) sp. E X X X X
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) sp. ECR-1   X    
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) sp. ECR-2   X X X
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) sp. ECR-3   X   X
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) sp. V-1 X     X
Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) spp. (males)   X    
Lasioglossum diversopunctatum X      
Lasioglossum incompletum X X X X
Lasioglossum kincaidii   X X X
Lasioglossum nr. tegulariforme X     X
Lasioglossum ovaliceps       X
Lasioglossum sisymbrii X X X X
Lasioglossum tegulariforme X X X X
Sphecodes sp.       X
Totals:        
MEGACHILIDAE = 7        
Anthidium collectum       X
Ashmeadiella salviae   X X  
Megachile coquilleti       X
Megachile lippiae       X
Osmia clarescens   X   X
Osmia coloradensis   X X  
Osmia nemoris   X    
Osmia sp. (males)   X X  
Totals: 31 46 40 54
Total Spp. = 82 spp.        
         
24 new species in 2015        
10 new species in 2016        
17 new species in 2017        

Graphs attached in Excel PDF. Ventura-Farm-Graphs-5-9-182

  • Graph 1: Elwood Canyon Ranch Control Site 
  • Graph 2: Ellwood Canyon Ranch Treatment Site 
  • Graph 3: Jim Lloyd Butler Farm Control Site 
  • Graph 4: Jim Lloyd Butler Farm Treatment Site 
  • Graph 5: Thille Farm Control Site 
  • Graph 6: Thille Farm Treatment Site 

 

Research conclusions:

We met all the goals that we set out to achieve in this project, and then we went beyond these to test out some new ideas for future work. After 4 years of bee monitoring at all 3 ranches (3 treatment and 3 control subsites), we collected 82 species of bees.  Each year produced a relatively high number of new species, indicating that there are more species to discover.  In this regard, more species, including kleptoparasitic bee species, are expected as the bee gardens mature through time, and bee populations are expected to increase overall.  Two more years of monitoring will be required to confirm this important pattern.  Note: Presence of kleptoparasitic bees are regarded as evidence of stability in bee communities. 

We were able to demonstrate that we could construct effective bee habitat gardens in all 3 of the farms (ranches) that we worked on.  We also demonstrated that these constructions could be done in collaboration with the owners and their workers.  In fact, the owners provided us with irrigation equipment and installation services.  They also helped with weeding and with checking drippers occasionally. Once we were able to show how the gardens and their flowers were attracting bees and other beneficials, the owners began offering us more space for additional bee gardens.  They noted that the gardens were also attracting honey bees for pollen and nectar, which represents added value to the newly created habitat.
 
One of the owners suggested that we could construct several bee habitat gardens on their property.  We have 2 completed on this property and a third one planned out with many of the plants already purchased.  We have begun talking with the other 2 owners about expansions, and they have already offered to let us do more gardens on their properties.  This is an education process and we are moving slowly on it.
 
The big discovery for us was finding several non-Apis visitors to the avocado flowers.  The native bees may number up to 15 species, and, many of these were carrying pollen.  The other visitors such as flies and wasps may also do some pollination, but at a reduced level compared to the bees. Regarding the bee species that were collected from avocado flowers, the main groups are Bombus vosnesenskii (Apidae), Halictus spp., Agapostemon texanus (Halictidae), Ceratina spp. (Apidae), Lassioglosum spp. (Halictidae), and Andrena spp. (Andrenidae).  With host flower records for all these species we use this information to select plants to enhance our developing bee gardens and their attraction for bees at each of the 3 ranches in SoCal.  We promote these plants at talks that we give to growers interested in habitat gardens, and stress that it is important to know what plants the bees like, and that includes natives, nonnatives, and even some weed species.
 
With this basic ecological information, we have now started to do visitation counts with the native bees vs. honey bees, and are finding that the native bees are more common than we once thought.  Flies and wasps are also groups to consider as they may be scattering pollen with just their casual visits.  Because they don’t have use for pollen and don’t have carrying structures for pollen, these organisms may be considered potential pollinators that could be contributing some minor pollination services through their behavior of “scattering pollen” around from flower to flower.
 
We are currently looking into fly pollination with our colleagues who are advising us accordingly.  We are also working on fly identification with a new colleague. Together with UC Coop Extension Ben Faber and Jim Lloyd Butler we will be using the large Butler bee gardens for on-site education of avocado growers in the region and state-wide who would like to construct bee habitat gardens.  I have already given several field talks to growers, and more are planned.  One grower in San Diego wrote recently to me about his project to use the info that I had provided to set up his own bee garden.  He also claims to have observed many native bees in his avocado orchard.  The important message here is that he did his garden on his own initiative.  We will be offering to help other growers in the future who may want to start a bee garden.  In this regard, Ben Faber and I will be developing a simple guide to help growers get started with the gardens.  We have such a guide that we developed for urban gardeners that is available through the Univ. of California ANR special publication series.
 
We compiled all of our bee monitoring data from our spring samples from 2014-2017, databased it, and developed graphs that are beginning to show trends through time.  We cautiously offered some suggested trends in the main text, recognizing that more years of results are needed.  One of these is that ranches with bee gardens are beginning to show consistent increases in species richness and abundance.  They also show the effects of the ongoing drought on the plants and bees were are monitoring.  It is important to mention that these gardens are not static.  They continue to mature and produce more flowers (that is, pollen and nectar), and we expect this upward trend to continue.
 
 
Participation Summary
3 Farmers participating in research

Education

Educational approach:

We present our findings to the growers in the form of tables and graphs that are tailored to their understanding.  We also have supplied them with copies of our CA bee book (Heyday Books, 2014), our flip-card booklet on common CA bee groups (2017), posters with photos of native bees close up, and occasional relevant literature that some of our colleagues produce.  We almost always present this info in person and explain it and solicit questions.  We learn a lot with these discussions, and especially about lingering questions they may have about how they can use our info to keep their productivity at a steady or increasing level.  We have a policy in my lab of “looking for any excuse to have meaningful direct interactions with growers”.

Apart from educating our farmers and growers, we have given many presentations, talks, hosted workshops, visited classrooms and schools, and participated in festivals and museum exhibits in order to disseminate our information to the public (see tables above for list of presentations). We work extensively with gardeners (clubs and individuals), botanists, K-8 students, “bee-people,” etc. We also work with 4-5 undergraduate students here at UC Berkeley each semester. They help with all avenues of our research including field work and collections, specimen processing, data analyses, and outreach activities. 

Educational & Outreach Activities

3 On-farm demonstrations
25 Published press articles, newsletters
3 Tours
129 Webinars / talks / presentations

Participation Summary

Education/outreach description:

From 2015-April 2018, this is the outreach we have participated in:  

Urban Bee Lab Presentations: 2015
Date Name of Group Name of Event Time of Event Location Presenter Public or Private Type of Presentation # of Attend Quest. Type of Attend Notes
1/13/-1/14 CA Native Plant Society 2015 Conservation Conference: Celebrating 50 years of progress and promise   San Jose, CA Jaime   Conference 134   Professional botanists, land managers, consulting firm staff, agency staff, environmental non-profit organizations, academics, grad students Subject is Urban Survey
1/13-1/14 CA Native Plant Society 2015 Conservation Conference: Celebrating 50 years of progress and promise   San Jose, CA Gordon   Conference 1000     Lightning Talk on Bot Garden Signage Project
1/22/2015 Contra Costa Public Library Author Event   Contra Costa Gordon   Book Signing/Talk 22      
3/8 – 3/13 Wildlife Management Institute 2015 North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference   Omaha, NE Gordon   Conference 90   Federal agencies, scientists Urban Wildlife Workshop.
3/8/2015 Frog Hollow Farm Blossom Walk 1:00 PM Brentwood Gordon & Sara   Talk 30   Frog Hollow CSA members, Brentwood community memebers  
3/9/2015 Merritt College Edible Landscape Class Guest Lecture 2:00 PM Oakland Sara   Talk 35   college students  
3/9/2015 Oaktown 4-H Monthly Meeting 6:30 PM Oakland Sara   Talk 50   4-H members (ages 5-8) and parents. 20-min talk w/ hands-on activiity  
3/19/2015 East Bay Waldorf School Bee gardening talk 7:00 PM El Sobrante Jaime   Talk 8      
3/24/2015 KZYX – Mendocino Public Radio Ecology Hour–Science Edition 7:00 PM Mendocino Gordon   Radio Show        
3/25/2015 Pegasus Books Author Event 7:30 PM Berkeley Gordon   Book Signing/Talk 15      
3/27/2015 Copperfields Books Author Event 7:00 PM Sebastopol Gordon   Book Signing/Talk 15   general public  
4/8/2015 American River Conservancy CA Naturalist Course   Coloma Gordon   Workshop 15      
4/9/2015 El Cerrito Garden Club Monthly Meeting 10:45 AM El Cerrito Sara   Talk 45      
4/13/2015 SF Bot Garden Docent Training   San Francisco Sara   Talk 30      
4/14/2015 Contra Costa Public Library — Danville Author Event 6:30 PM Danville Gordon   Book Signing/Talk 7      
4/18/2015 Milo Baker CNPS Chaper Oxford Tract Garden Tour   Berkeley Jaime   Garden Tour 10      
4/18/2015 East Bay Regional Parks Sunol Wildflower Festival   Sunol Regional Wilderness Sara   Table & Talk 200   General public; mostly families with young children  
4/19/2015 San Francisco Zoo Earth Day Event   San Francisco Sara   Table 200   General public; mostly families with young children  
4/23/2015 UCB Landscape Architecture Guest Lecture 8:00 AM Berkeley Jaime   Garden Tour 20      
5/1/2015 Eastern Sierra Land Trust Garden Fest 3:00 PM Bishop Jaime   Table 60   general public  
5/3/2015 Bringing Back the Natives Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour   Berkeley Gordon, Jaime, Sara   Garden Tour 400      
5/5/2015 Castro Valley Library Author Event   Castro Valley Gordon   Book Signing/Talk 32      
5/7/2015 Collins Elementary School General bee talk   Cupertino Sara   2 Talks/Garden Tours 120   fourth grade students  
5/9/2015 Regional Parks Botanic Garden (Jaime) Gardens All Abuzz: Partnering with Pollinators 10am to 12pm Berkeley Jaime   Talk/Garden Tour 11   General Public  
5/27/2015 Bristlecone CNPS Guest Lecture 7:00 PM Bishop Jaime   Talk 18   CNPS chapter meeting  
5/28/2015 Collins Elementary School Monitoring demonstration   Cupertino Sara   Talk 120   fourth grade students Rescheduled activity from 5/7/15 talk due to bad weather
6/1/2015 KZYX – Mendocino Public Radio Pledge Drive Event   Philo Gordon   Radio Show        
6/3-6/7 Jepson Herbarium California’s Native Bees: Biology, Ecology, and Identification All day Hastings Reserve Gordon, Jaime, Sara, Robbin   Workshop 18      
6/7/2015 East Bay Regional Parks 16th Annual Butterfly and Bird Festival 10-3:30 Coyote Hills, Fremont Chris   Table 300      
6/11/2015 St. Helena Library Pollinator Talk   St. Helena Gordon   Book Signing/Talk 34      
6/13/2015 Markham Arboretum Pollinator Week Event   Concord Sara   Talk 25      
6/18/2015 St. Helena Library Pollinator Talk 7:00 PM St. Helena Jaime   Talk/Garden Tour 30      
6/24/2015 Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Buzz in the Garden Series 4-6pm Santa Barbara Gordon   Talk/Garden Tour Book Signing 30      
6/27/2015 CittaSlow Sonoma Bee Count   Sonoma Gordon, Jaime, Sara, Laura   Workshop 11      
3/7/2015 Oakland Public Library Author Event 1:00 PM Oakland Gordon   Book Signing/Talk       Rescheduled for June
7/15/2015 Lawrence Hall of Science (Teachers) Teacher Workshop 1:00 PM Berkeley Jaime Private Garden Tour 42   Teachers from all over US  
7/16/2015 Santa Clara Co. Master Gardener Bee Workshop 9 -1:30pm San Jose, CA Jaime Private Workshop 122   Master Gardeners  
7/18/2015 Oxford Tract Bee Garden Tour Garden Tour 1:30 – 3:30pm Berkeley, CA Carol and Lisa Public Talk/Garden Tour 35      
7/27/2015 NRCS CIG and Soil & Water Conservation Society 70th Annual SWCS Conference: CIG Showcase   Greensboro, NC Sara Private Poster 20      
8/9-8/14 Ecological Society of America 2015 Annual Meeting- Celebrating the ESA Centennial   Baltimore, MA Gordon Private Conference 50   Scientists  
8/10/2015 San Diego Horticultural Society Monthly Meeting   San Diego Rollin Public Talk 300      
8/15/2015 Oxford Tract Bee Garden Tour Garden Tour   Berkeley Carol Public Talk/Garden Tour 2      
9/2/2015 Santa Clara Co. CNPS Monthly Meeting 6:00 PM Santa Clara Co. Jaime Public Talk 32      
9/17/2015 Shasta Co. CNPS Monthly Meeting   Redding Jaime Public Talk 25      
9/19/2015 Oxford Tract Bee Garden Tour Garden tour   Berkeley Carol Public Talk/Garden Tour 12      
9/20/2015 Sonoma Nature Wine Country Nature and Optics Festival 10 AM – 4 PM Sonoma, CA Chris Public Table 400   General Public Must pay $25 for table and chair rental
9/20/2015 UC Gill Tract Community Farm Harvest Festival 12 PM- 1 PM Berkeley Sara Public Workshop 25      
10/3/2015 Watsonville Wetlands Watch Habitat Festival and Native Plant Sale 1:00-2:00 PM Watsonville, CA Sara Public Talk 40   General public Can offer a stipend
10/5/2015 Happy Valley Garden Club Monthly Meeting 9:30-11:00 AM Lafayette, CA Sara Private Talk 35      
10/6/2015 SPAWNERS Monthly Meeting 6:30 PM El Sobrante Jaime Private Talk 25      
10/6/2015 UC Agriculture and Natural Resources 2015 Joint Strategic Initiatives Conference   Sacramento Gordon Private Talk 35      
10/11/2015 Pleasant Hill Instructional Garden Open House Celebration 2:00-5:00 PM Pleasant Hill, CA Sara Public Talk/Activity 25      
10/12 – 10/14 Michigan State and North Carolina State Universities Protecting Pollinators in Ornamental Landscapes Conference   Hendersonville, NC Jaime Private Poster 175      
10/20/2015 SF Jewish Community Center Dave Goulson Talk 7:00 PM San Francisco, CA Carol and Lisa Public Table 150   Public  
10/20-10/22 Pollinator Partnership 2015 Annual NAPPC Conference   Washington D.C. Gordon Private Conference 100   Non-profit employees, scientists, agency people  
10/24/2015 Bay Area Science Festival North Bay Science Discovery Day 10:30-4:00 Santa Rosa, CA Sara Public Table/Activity 300   General public; mostly families with young children  
10/26/2015 Prescott Elementary School – Lorraine Mann Classroom Visit 10-11 AM Oakland Chris Private Talk/Activity 23   Children ages 4-5  
10/27/2015 Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning General bee talk 9:30-noon Grass Valley, CA Sara Private Talk 50   10th graders  
11/6/2015 Women Food and Ag Network Annual Conference: Women Protecting Pollinators, Protecting Food   Davenport, IA Sara Private Conference 40   Iowa women land owners and farmers  
11/17/2015 Berkeley Garden Club Nov. General Meeting   Berkeley Sara Public Talk 60   Home gardeners  
11/20/2015 UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources Fall 2015 Poster Session 12-1:30 PM Berkeley Chris Public Poster 30   Students, faculty, staff  
12/10/2015 Save Mt. Diablo Speaker Colloquium 9 AM – 2 PM Berkeley Gordon Public Talk 30   General Public  
12/11/2015 Essig Museum of Entomology Essig Brunch 10:00 AM Berkeley Rollin Public Talk 15   Faculty  
Urban Bee Lab Presentations: 2016
Date Name of Group Name of Event Time of Event Location Presenter Public or Private Type of Presentation # of Attend Quest. Type of Attend Notes
1/12/2016 Alameda County Beekeepers Association Monthly Mtg 7:30 PM Oakland Sara Public Talk 40   Beekeepers  
1/20/2016 Organic Farming Research Foundation Organic Agriculture Research Symposium   Asilomar Sara Public (requires registration) Conference 25     Farming for Native Bees talk (Tech Modules)
1/19/2016 Avocado Society CA Avocado Growers Seminar Series 1:00-3:00PM SLO CE Office Gordon Private Talk 25   Avocado Growers Farming for Native Bees: Ventura (Avocado)
1/20/2016 Avocado Society CA Avocado Growers Seminar Series 9:00-11:00AM Ventura CE Office Gordon Private Talk 80   Avocado Growers Farming for Native Bees: Ventura (Avocado)
1/21/2016 Avocado Society CA Avocado Growers Seminar Series 1:00-3:00PM Fallbrook Utility Building Gordon Private Talk 50   Avocado Growers Farming for Native Bees: Ventura (Avocado)
1/23/2016 SLO CNPS Annual Banquet   SLO Gordon Public Talk 120     Keynote Lecture
2/27/2016 Anderson Valley Land Trust General talk   Boonville Sara Public Talk 35      
3/7/2016 CA Small Farms CA Small Farms Conference   Sacramento Sara & Al Public (requires registration) Conference 40     Farming for Native Bees talk (Tech Modules)
3/18/2016 Manor School Classroom Visit 11:15-12:15 Fairfax Chris Private Classroom Visit 22      
4/3/2016 UC Gill Tract Harvest Day Festival 10:00-2:00 Albany Chris Public Talk 15   UCB Students  
4/9/2016 EBRPD Sunol Wildflower Festival 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM Sunol Chris Public Tabling 150   Public  
4/10/2016 Anderson Valley Land Trust Interpretive Walk   Boonville Sara Public Garden Tour 20      
4/14/2016 Merrit College Landscape Hort class Class bee garden tour 9:30am – 12:30p Berkeley Jaime Private Garden Tour 20      
4/16/2016 Richmond Garden Club Monthly Mtg 1:00pm – 4:00pm El Sobrante Jaime Public Talk 30      
4/16/2016 UC Berkeley CNR Cal Day 11:30-1 Berkeley Chris Public Poster 40   Public  
4/17/2016 Regional Parks Botanic Garden Bee Friendly Habitat Gardening in CA 10:00AM- 12:30PM Berkeley Jaime Public Garden Tour 10      
4/18/2016 CNPS Marin Co. Garden talk and tour 1:30-3:00PM Novato Jaime Public Talk 25      
4/21/2016 Landscape Architech Plant ID class UCB CA Native Bee Talk and Garden Tour   Berkeley Jaime Private Garden Tour 45   UCB Students  
4/21/2016 Napa Agricultural Commission Healthy Pollinator Symposium 8:00AM-2:00PM Napa Library Sara   Talk 60   Decision-makers for public spaces (agency staff)  
4/24/2016 San Francisco Zoo Earth Day Festival 11:00-3:00 San Francisco Chris + Carol Public Tabling 150      
4/24/2016 UC Gill Tract Earth Day Celebration 10:00-5:00 Albany Marissa Public Tabling 40      
5/1/2016 Bringing Back the Natives Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour 10:00-5:00 Berkeley All Public Garden Tour 400      
5/5/2016 CNPS Santa Clara Valley Chapter Creating a Bee-Friendly Garden Talk 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM Redwood City Chris Public Talk 20      
5/7/2016 Society for Conservation Biology 17th Annual Bay Area Conservation Biology Symposium 9:00-5:00 Palo Alto Chris Public (requires registration) Poster 40      
5/12/2016 North State Public Radio Cultivating Place   Chico Gordon Public Radio Show 45 downloads      
5/14/2016 Alameda County Beekeepers Association Garden Tour 10am to Noon Berkeley Sara   Garden Tour 8      
5/17/2016 Woodside Garden Club Monthly Mtg   Woodside Gordon & Rollin Private Talk        
5/20/2016 Visalia Garden Club Monthly Mtg 6:30 PM Visalia Gordon   Talk        
5/21/2016 Annie’s Annuals Mother’s Day Party 11:00 AM Richmond Sara Public Talk        
6/1-6/5/16 Jepson Herbarium CA Native Bees Workshop   Hastings Reserve Gordon, Sara, Rollin, Robbin, Chris Public (requires registration) Workshop 18      
6/18/2015 Urban Bee Lab Bee Garden Docent Tour 1:00 PM Berkeley Lisa + Chris Public Garden Tour 7      
6/19/2016 UC Botanical Garden Bug Days 11:00 AM Berkeley Chris Public Garden Tour 30      
6/25/2016 CittaSlow & Sonoma Ecology Center Sonoma Bee Count All Day Sonoma Gordon, Sara, Chris Private Workshop 8      
7/6/2016 Science@Cal Science Cafe 7:00 PM Albany Gordon Public Talk        
7/13/2016 Clayton Garden Club Monthly Mtg   Clayton Sara Private Talk 50      
7/13/2016 Napa Co. Resource Conservation District Wild Napa Wildlife Talk Serices 7:00 PM Napa Library Gordon Public Talk 95      
7/27/2016 Environmental Protection Agency SF Branch     San Francisco Sara Private Talk     EPA Agency staff  
8/17/2016 Contra Costa Co. Fish and WIldlife Committee Meeting 3:00 Martinez Gordon Public Talk        
9/11/2016 SonomaBirding & CA State Parks Sonoma Nature and Optics Festival 10:00-4:00 Sonoma Chris, Ingrid Public Table 200   Public  
9/17/2016 Hopland Research and Extension Center Native Bees in Your Backyard   Hopland Gordon, Rollin Public Workshop        
9/17/2016 Santa Clara Valley Native Plant Society Native Horticultural Symposium 9:00 – 5:00 Los Altos Hills Sara Public Talk 120   CNPS  
9/25-9/30/16 Entomological Society of America 2016 XXV Int’l Congress of Entomology – “Beyond Pests: Biodiversity in the Urban Environment”   Orlando Gordon Public (requires registration) Conference 80   Academic  
9/26/2016 Piedmont Garden Club     Piedmont Sara   Talk        
10/2/2016 Cornernstone Sonoma Bees + Bee-Friendly Gardens in California 1:00-2:30 PM Sonoma Gordon and Kate Frey Public (requires registration) Talk        
10/2/2016 First Lego League Annual Allies Challenge Private Talk 5:30-7:30 PM Saratoga Chris Private Talk 15   Students (Age 8-16)  
10/11/2016 Pinole Garden Club Garden Club Meeting   Pinole Chris Private Talk 25   Garden club members  
10/19/2016 Fremont Garden Club Monthly Mtg 7:00 PM Fremont Jaime   Talk     Garden club members  
10/19-10/20 NAPPC 16th Annual Conference   Washington Chris, Chiara Private Conference 80   Professionals  
10/23/2016 Friends of Sausal Creek Fall Plant Sale     Carol Thornton Public Talk/Table 20      
10/29/2016 St. Louis Public Radio     St. Louis Gordon Public Radio        
11/1/2016 Napa Co Agricultural Commisoner 5th Annual Vineyards and Wineries Continuing Education Class 7:30-1:30 Napa Sara Public Talk 85      
12/8/2016 Save Mount Diablo Mary Bowerman Science and Research Colloqium 9:00 – 12:30 Berkeley Gordon Public Talk        
Urban Bee Lab Presentations 2017
Date Name of Group Name of Event Time of Event Location Presenter Public or Private Type of Presentation # of Attend Type of Attend Notes  
1/11/2017 Carmel Public Library Foundation Community Night with the Library 7:00 PM Carmel, CA Gordon Public or Private Talk 95      
3/12/2017 Frog Hollow Farm Spring Stroll 12:30 PM Brentwood, CA Gordon, Ingrid Public or Private Talk/demos 40 Brentwood public    
4/5/2017 Entomological Society of America, Pacific Branch Annual Meeting   Portland, OR Gordon Public Conference 60      
4/9/2017 EBRPD Sunol Wildflower Festival 11AM-4PM Sunol, CA Ingrid, Kristen Public Table 300 Public    
4/22/2017 UC Botanical Garden Cal Day 11:00 AM – 3:00PM Berkeley, CA Marissa Public Table 50 Public    
4/26/2017 Longfellow Middle School Career Day 9 AM – 11 AM Berkeley, CA Sara Private Classroom Visit 80 Students    
4/27/2017 American River Conservancy California Naturalist Course   Coloma, CA Gordon Private Workshop 25      
5/4/2017 Quail Glen Elementary School Class Presentation via Skype 2-2:30 PM Roseville, CA Chris Private Classroom Visit 20 Students    
5/5/2017 UC Cooperative Extension, Ventura County Avocado Day I 1:00 PM Saticoy, CA Gordon Private Talk 100 Avocado growers    
5/10/2017 Santa Barbara High School Class Presentation 7:30 AM – 8 AM Santa Barbara, CA Chris Private Classroom Visit 20 Students    
6/4/2017 East Bay Regional Parks District Butterfly & Bird Festival 10:00AM-4:00 PM Fremont, CA Ingrid, Marissa Public Table 300 Public    
6/12/2017 Santa Clara Valley Native Plant Society Creating a Bee-Friendly Native Garden 6:30 PM Pacifica, CA Chris Public Talk 8 Public, gardeners    
6/14/2017 UC Cooperative Extension, Ventura County Avocado Day II 1:00 PM Saticoy, CA Gordon Private Talk 50 Avocado growers    
6/24/2017 CittaSlow, Sonoma Ecology Center Annual Sonoma Bee Count All day Sonoma, CA Gordon, Sara, Chris, Ingrid, Marissa Public Workshop 10      
7/25/2017 Delta Informal Gardeners Monthly Meeting 7:30 PM Brentwood, CA Chris Public Talk 30 Garden Club Members    
8/22-25/2017 UC Master Gardeners UCMG Conference All day Long Beach, CA Gordon Public Conference 200      
9/9/2017 UC Master Gardeners Contra Costa Master Gardener plant sale All day Walnut Creek, CA Gordon and Marissa Public Talk/demos 50      
9/23/2017 UC Hopland REC Annual Recreo Weekend All day Hopland, CA Gordon, Marissa, and Ingrid Public Talk/demos 100 Public    
10/12/17 Manor Elementary School Laura Honda’s 4th Grade Class 2:30 – 3:30 Fairfax, CA Gordon, Ingrid, Marissa Private Classroom Visit 20      
11/17/17 ASCEND School Program 3rd Grade Class 11:45am-2:00pm Oakland, CA Gordon, Marissa Private Classroom Visit 65      
Urban Bee Lab Presentations 2018
Date Name of Group Name of Event Time of Event Location Presenter Public or Private Type of Presentation # of Attend Type of Attend Notes  
January 17, 2018 Contra Costa Co. Monthly meeting 5:00 PM Martinez, CA Gordon Private Talk 20 Botanists/Gardeners    
March 3, 2018 Annie’s Annuals Annie’s Presentations 11:00 AM Richmond, CA Gordon Public Presentation 85 Gardeners    
(cancelled due to weather) March 4, 2018 Frog Hollow Blossom Walk 11:00 AM Brentwood, CA Gordon & Marissa Public Talk Expected 40 Public    
April 16-20, 2018 International Commission for Plant-Pollinator Relations XI International Symposium on Pollination N/A Berlin, Germany Gordon Private 3 presentations given, 2 symposium abstracts 150 Researchers    
April 26 & 27, 2018 CA Naturalist Society CA Naturalist Society presentations N/A Coloma, CA Gordon Private 2 presentations 23 Naturalist people    
May 2, 2018 Master Gardener (MG) MG Plant Sale 10:00 AM Walnut Creek, CA Gordon Private Talk 50 Master Gardeners    

 

Our website, helpabee.org, reached ~62,000 viewers annually. Our Facebook page has ~1,250 members and our bimonthly newsletter ~1,150 subscribers.

Learning Outcomes

4 Farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness as a result of their participation
Key areas taught:
  • Non-Apis visitors to avocado flowers were more common than originally expected. We are now gearing up to deal with them.
  • We have developed close working relationships with avocado growers, and this has led to more productive conversations with growers and more trust, and the offering of more resources and land for installing bee gardens. We have had the same experience in Ag Brentwood with the farmers there.
  • We have also developed more closer relations with UC Cooperative Extension in Ventura Co. We meet and interact more directly when we are in Ventura Co. This organization provides a good resource for farmers to access our data and information and continue contact with us. Forming a network for these farmers was a major goal for us.
  • We have been invited by the owners of Elwood Canyon Ranch to share our results with local high schools in the Goleta area. We did one of these talks last year and know what to present. Local people are interested in our work and findings.
  • We have met professionals in the SoCal area who have offered to help us with data gathering. One of these people is Joanne O'sullivan who also works with Ventura UC Coop Exten. on the Psyllid - Citrus disease problem. She has been collecting avocado flower visitors when we can't come to SoCal from Berkeley.
  • Discussion of competitive interactions between native bees and honey bees
  • How to build better communication with growers / farmers
Key changes:
  • Awareness of native bees

  • Less control of weeds (which supply food for native bees)

  • How to get information from us (i.e. information about pollination, native bees, other pests etc.)

Project Outcomes

3 Farmers changed or adopted a practice
3 Farmers intend/plan to change their practice(s)
1 Grant received that built upon this project
7 New working collaborations
Project outcomes:

ACCOMPLISHMENTS / MILESTONES IN 2017:

  1. Completion of 3rd year of bee monitoring and identification of all bees to species level.
  2. Recognition that certain fly and wasp species appear to be able to pollinate avocado flowers.  Steps are underway to get species names on the flies and wasps.
  3. Addition of new bee garden extensions to existing treatment (garden) sites.  Plans have been made to add more gardens at all farms.
  4. Talks to local avocado growers, sharing research results.  Well received!
  5. Submission of 2 relevant papers to peer-reviewed journals (mss available upon request).
  6. Publication of flip-card booklet on common bee groups by the Univ. of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.  Available upon request (see attached ad).
  7. Outreach to numerous audiences in California.

Overall, we have developed a great amount of understanding on how well-constructed bee gardens can function to attract native bees and other visitors to avocado flowers.  We have also learned which are the most attractive and practical plants to use in these gardens, and how to maintain them.  Working closely with growers and managers and the UC Coop. Extension has allowed us opportunities to share our results in effective ways, leading to the potential for practical applications into farming operations.  Finally, the drought conditions early in the project years (2014-2016) have provided us with a case history of monitoring for interpreting how this type of climatic pattern affects native bee populations and other visitors of avocado flowers.

The recent fires in SoCal partially burned one of our control sites (Thille Ranch).  Monitoring in 2018 here and overall in the Ventura area will allow for an evaluation of the local effects of fire on bee populations, assuming that we get a normal or near normal amount of rainfall this winter.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS / MILESTONES IN 2018:

1.  Developed a method for gathering quantitative visitation counts of honey bees and non-Apis visitors to avocado flowers.  This method will be use extensively in 2019 as it gives us frequency info on how to evaluate contributions of at least native bees to the pollination of avocado flowers.  In is important to mention that this information was also requested from avocado growers in 2016 and 2017.
 
2.  All of the bee collections from each sample of each ranch from 2014-2017 were data based.  These data in turn were used to generate the attached graphs of bee activity through 2014-2017.
 
3.  The Elwood Canyon Ranch (ECR) bee garden site (Treatment) was expanded 2-fold with new plants that were known to attract the same bees that go to avocado flowers.
 
4.  At Jim Lloyd Butler Ranch, my lab met with Dr. Ben Faber (UC Coop Esten.) and Jim Lloyd Butler several times in 2018 to plan for the ~1 acre garden adjacent to the original bee garden there.  See photo of garden site with Ben Faber standing at one end of site.  This plant installation will be an industrial project that the Butler workers will conduct. This will be the largest bee garden project we have attempted anywhere in the state. 
 
5.  More non-Apis visitors to avocado flowers were collected in spring 2018 at the 3 ranches.  The number of non-Apis visitors continues to grow.  We have also made arrangements with colleagues at Berkeley and with the USDA to have the fly and wasp visitors identified.  As of this writing we are still collecting specimens.  The new estimates of non-Apis visitors is growing to between 30-35 species (15 of these are bee species).

 

Success stories:

1.One of the many success stories of this project was our collaboration with UC Cooperative Extension. Throughout this study we have done demonstrations in our gardens in order to show farmers / growers what a native bee habitat garden looks like and how they can install similar habitats on their farms. Our collaborators at Jim Lloyd Butler’s Ranch are extremely interested in this idea. We are currently expanding the garden to double its size so we can use the space as a continuous demonstration garden for farmers and growers. This will be used by not only our research team at UC Berkeley, but also researchers, farmers and growers at the UC Cooperative Extension. Our demonstration garden will continue our research efforts and allow us to disseminate our findings and information past the time constraints of this project. The amount of space that Jim Lloyd Butler is providing reiterates to us that we were able to communicate our findings well enough to allow for full collaboration and support by our growers/farmers. This is truly a huge success to us! 

Attached is a photo of Ben Faber, a collaborator at UC Cooperative Extension, standing at the site of our future demonstration garden (completion date: end of 2018). 

2. After attending a Master Gardener conference that we presented at, a person wrote an email to us and said the following: 

“I attended your talk at the Master Gardener conference last August in Long Beach and then emailed with you a bit about native bees that visit avocado flowers. I’m now noticing many native bees on my avocado flowers that I’d never noticed before. I’m also growing more flowers to attract and feed them. Thank you for opening my eyes to all of this! Also, I write about gardening and just published an article about my new knowledge and interest in bees. So I thought I’d share it with you: http://gregalder.com/yardposts/oh-mistakes-ive-made-thinking-flowers-girls/.”
 
3. Throughout the years we have been interviewed by several newspapers, magazines, etc. These interviews and publications allow us to share more information with the public. Attached is a recently published article in the magazine Wild Hope. (Wild Hope article: NativeBees)
 
Recommendations:

As mentioned previously, there are potentially up to 35 pollinating insects visiting avocado flowers. One future study/recommendation would be to more extensively measure these native bees, wasps, and flies. We have conducted preliminary frequency counts in order to look at the number of visitors (we are currently working on identifications) foraging from avocado flowers. However, more extensive frequency counts would need to take place. Additionally, the efficiency of these pollinating insects could also be studied. 

We also would recommend that a set of guidelines for developing gardens on farms be constructed for farmers and growers. Although our farm collaborators know of the value of gardens on farms, actually constructing a garden themselves would be a challenge. We would want to develop a document that contained these guidelines so our collaborators and other farmers/growers could construct gardens independently from us. 

Finally, we would recommend that 2 more years (at least) of monitoring take place on these farms in order to obtain a more apparent and significant pattern of native bee populations in comparison to our established habitat gardens.  

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.