SUISUN CITY — Robin Thorp, an emeritus professor at University of California, Davis, is absolutely “Buzzed for Bees.”
Puns aside, Thorp shared his knowledge and enthusiasm as an a pollination specialist and entomology professor at Davis of more than 30 years for a full crowd during his “Buzzed for Bees” talk at Rush Ranch Saturday.
The talk targeted landowners and farmers as well as home gardeners, who Thorpe noted could use similar techniques to promote bee health by planting bee-friendly gardens.
Solano County agricultural products contributed $291 million to the region in 2011, with many crops dependent on honeybee pollination, according to an event press release. Managed honeybee colonies have decreased by half since the 1940s, but the need for pollination has increased.
Throughout his career, Thorp has researched honeybee pollination, the role of native bees in vernal pools and on farms and examined populations and ecology of bumblebees.
His lecture Saturday was more geared toward the casual bee enthusiast, giving some background on their pollination habits while offering simple techniques to increase the native bee population.
One of those techniques, Thorp said is giving bees a place to call home.
“Bees need more than just food – they need habitat,” he said.
Examples of habitats include green roofs, landfills, creating plan edging around a golf course and urban gardens. All of these techniques and more can be found at www.helpabee.com.
The diversity of bees in California means bees come out all year and need pollen and nectar during each season.
Spring is the best time for native bees and plants such as manzanita, germander and almond are good for pollination. Other examples include for different seasons include poppies and salvia for the late spring; sunflowers, squash and sage for the summer; and gumplant and buckwheat during early fall.
Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.