Oscar Bacon: 1919-2016
Noted agricultural entomologist Oscar Gray Bacon, who during his 41-year UC career, chaired the UC Davis Department of Entomology and served as a special assistant to UC Davis Chancellor Emil Mrak, died Nov. 16 at his home in Davis. He was 97.
The emeritus professor, who retired in 1987, was the last surviving member of the original entomology faculty.
Dr. Bacon chaired the department (now the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology) from 1967 to 1974. In 1964, Mrak appointed him to spearhead the UC Davis conversion of the two-semester system to four quarters.
Dr. Bacon was chair of the entomology department when it moved to the newly constructed Briggs Hall in 1972. An appreciative faculty presented him with a plaque thanking him for his “stewardship during a period when new teaching and research areas were initiated and when a great increase in the numbers of students enrolled in the department occurred has contributed significantly to the future of the department and to entomology." -more-
UC Davis Bee Courses Announced: Learn How to Keep, Manage and Breed Bees
If want to become a beekeeper or learn more about working your colonies, rearing queens, managing varroa mites, and breeding bees, the E.L. Niño Bee Lab at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Research Facility has announced its list of 2017 courses, which begin March 11 and continue through June 11.
The courses, directed by Extension apiculturist Elina Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and taught by her and her staff, will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Laidlaw facility on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. Registration is now underway, and gift certificates are also available. -more-
Spotlight on Charley Nye, Manager of Laidlaw Bee Research Facility
As an undergraduate at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, he enrolled in an introductory entomology class. “I remember seeing the research technician standing in and indoor flight cage, surrounded by bees,” Nye said. “They were flying from the hive to a feeder stand and completely ignoring her. We covered the long history of beekeeping in that class around that same time and I was just amazed at how much knowledge had been collected. I applied for a job and started working as an assistant to the research technician I saw that day that spring. I spent the next three summers working for the lab of Dr. Gene Robinson and learning as much as I could.”
He went on to spend eight years in Illinois working with the bees—three as an undergraduate assistant and five years as the facility manager and research technician. He joined UC Davis in December 2015. -more-
Stacey Rice Fuses Science with Art; Wins EGSA T-Shirt Competition
“My art is inspired by the harmony between nature and insects,” said Rice, a junior specialist in the Larry Godfrey lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. She studies the bagrada bug with postdoctoral fellow Ian Grettenberger.
“I am truly humbled by the complexity and beauty of many of them!” Rice said. “I'm captivated by insects' structural biology, ability to evolve over time and the intricate ways in which they communicate.”
The stag beetle t-shirt design not only incorporates her love for stag beetles (family Lucanidae) but illustrates the “geometric patterns that are hidden in the deciduous forests they dwell in,” said Rice, who enjoys fuses art with science. The t-shirt and other shirts are available for sale on the EGSA website. -more-
Red Blotch Disease Makes Cover of JournalFrank Zalom and research biologist Mysore "Sudhi" Sudarshana of the USDA's Agriculture Research Services (ARS), is featured as the cover story of this month's special focus issue, "Disease Management in the Genomics Era," in the journal Phytopathology.
The cover features a photo of feeding injury caused by the three-cornered alfalfa hopper, Spissistilus festinus. Last year the Zalom team hypothesized that the three-cornered alfalfa hopper could transmit the Grapevine red blotch-associated virus, GRBaV, based in part on phylogeneic analysis of coat protein sequences of 23 geminiviruses that revealed that GRBaV-CP was most similar to that of another geminivirus that was transmitted by another treehopper. Their research, published in the journal, confirmed that the alfalfa hopper “was able to both acquire the virus from a grapevine infested with GRBaV and transmit the virus to healthy grapevines in the laboratory.” -more-
Francis Ratnieks: 'How Can We Help Bees Via Research?'
Ratnieks focuses his research on honey bees and social insects and addresses both basic and applied questions. One current area of research is aimed at helping bees by carrying out research with practical benefits to bees and beekeepers: (1) the control of honey bee diseases, including natural disease resistance via hygienic behavior in honey bees and stingless bees and the setting up of a research spin-off business, LASI Queen Bees, to supply bees bred for high levels of hygienic behavior to beekeepers and (2) how to improve foraging, including using the honey bee waggle dance to investigate foraging ecology and how to put the process of recommending bee friendly plants onto a stronger scientific basis.
This is the last seminar of the fall quarter. Speakers for the winter quarter will be announced soon.
In the Spotlight
- Department News
- Department's Fall Seminar Schedule
- Bohart Museum's Special Weekend Open Houses
- Shirley Gee: 40 Years of Service
- Anthony Cornel: Novel Way to Render Female Mosquitoes Infertile
- Rick Karban's Plant Communication Book
- Watch UC Davis Bee Symposium Presentations on YouTube
- Eric Grissell: Giving Back
- History of Our Bee Garden
Blogs, Books, and Other Connections
- Alex Wild's Compound Eye Blog: Some of Best Nature/Science Photographs
- UC Davis Department of Entomology (Facebook)
- Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility (Facebook)
- Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven (Facebook)
- E.L. Niño Bee Lab (Facebook)
- Bug Squad blog (Kathy Keatley Garvey)
- Robbin Thorp Co-Author of California Bees and Blooms
- Robbin Thorp Co-Author of Bumble Bees of North America
- Apiary newsletter, from the UC apiaries (Elina L. Niño)
- Apiary newsletter, from the UC apiaries (archived, Eric Mussen)
- New Ant Book (free): Photos by Alex Wild
- Insect Note Cards, Benefitting UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center
|Francis Ratnieks Seminar||12/7/2016|
|Mead Making Bootcamp||1/12/2017|
|Western Apicultural Society 40th Anniversary Conference||9/5/2017|
Bee Biology (Website, the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility is under construction. See history of bee garden)
Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven Also see Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven Annual Report
Apiary Newsletters (archived copies, Eric Mussen)
How to Write Like a Professor (James R. Carey)
What's This Bug? (CDFA)