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Photographer Allan Jones Exudes Patience, Skill and Talent

Photographer Allan Jones of Davis focuses his camera on insects in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Photographer Allan Jones of Davis exudes patience, skill and talent from the moment he enters the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden operated by the University of California, Davis, Department of Entomology and Nematology on Bee Biology Road.  He pulls up a...

Californians must adapt their lives to fire

California is a place forged by fire, and its fierce fire-fighting policies are creating fuel-filled landscapes that will burn hotter and faster than ever, reported Lisa M. Krieger in the San Jose Mercury News.

"Unless we change course, we'll never work our way out of this dilemma," said UC fire scientist Scott Stephens. "Unless we can get ahead of it, it'll never get better."

 

The River Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex Fire, burned more than half of the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center in July 2018.

Strategies to live with fire were modeled at the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center when the Mendocino Complex Fire spread on its rolling oak woodland and chaparral landscape in late July. About 3,000 of the center's 5,300 acres burned.

In pastures where sheep had grazed, the oaks still have green leaves. In other areas not grazed since the 1950s, undergrowth provided a ladder for flames to reach oak canopies.

In areas were vegetation was reduced by grazing, "the fire was less intense. It skipped around more. It wasn't as complete a burn," said Hopland director John Bailey. "Having animals on the land reduced the hazard."

(Read more about the fire at Hopland in a blog post by community educator Hannah Bird.)

Prescribed burning is another strategy to maintain a forest that is resilient to fire.

“Prescribed burns are a really powerful and underused tool,” said UC Davis ecologist Malcolm North. When a wildfire hits pre-burned areas, “it just putzes along.”

Posted on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at 1:50 PM
Tags: John Bailey (1), Malcolm North (2), Scott Stephens (15), wildfire (131)
Focus Area Tags: Environment

'Bee There' Saturday at the UC Davis Bee Garden

This catch-and-release activity is especially popular among children in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. They catch, examine and release bees, including honey bees, bumble bees and carpenter bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Want to learn more about bees, and what to plant to attract them to your garden? The Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee garden operated by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will host an open house, the last one of 2018, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept....

Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 5:00 PM
Focus Area Tags: Environment Family Yard & Garden

Dogs enlisted to sniff out disease in citrus trees

The Citrus Research Board is arranging to bring specially trained dogs to the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center to test their ability to sniff out the devastating citrus disease huanglongbing, reported Bob Rodriguez in the Fresno Bee.

CRB president Gary Schulz is working with the USDA, which is training dogs in Florida to identify trees with huanglongbing soon after the trees are infected. HLB has ravaged Florida's citrus industry. In California, the disease has been found about 800 Southern California backyard trees, but officials have so far managed to keep it out of the state's commercial orchards.

"The USDA has invested million of dollars in detector dogs and they have proven to be a credible diagnostic tool for early detection and screening trees," Schulz said.

The USDA has trained dogs to detect huanglongbing disease in Florida. (Photo: USDA)

HLB is spread by Asian citrus psyllids. Psyllids can pick up the the disease from infected trees and spread it to other trees as they feed. Symptoms may not show up in the tree until a year or two after it is infected. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is the only way to positively identify huanglongbing infection in citrus. The process requires testing of many leaves or branches from the tree and may return a false negative if the samples selected for testing aren't infected, but other parts of the tree are.

Schulz said the HLB-detection dogs will start their California work in the southern part of the state before traveling north.

Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 11:34 AM
Focus Area Tags: Pest Management

Meet Some Crafty Insects at Bohart Museum of Entomology

A praying mantis dining on a cabbage white butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Talk about "crafty"--as in cunning or sneaky--insects. Ever seen a praying mantis ambushing a cabbage white butterfly? Or an assassin bug targeting a spotted cucumber beetle? Or European paper wasps attacking a Gulf Fritillary butterfly? And, how about the other kind of "crafty" insects--like...

Posted on Monday, September 17, 2018 at 4:41 PM

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