All About The Bees at UCCE

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Pollinators are important! At UCCE San Diego, we're contributing to several studies and programs that provide education and solutions on how we can better protect them. 

The California Master Beekeeper Program 

In 2019, our new class of certified apprentice beekeepers graduated, trained by the California Master Beekeeper Program. The Program is designed for beekeeping at the urban and homesteader levels, and for small hobbyists who would like to share their knowledge. The mission of the California Master Beekeeper Program is to provide science-based education to future stewards and ambassadors for Honey bees and beekeeping. The Apprentice Level is designed to build a solid foundation of basic beekeeping skills and knowledge. Participants may stop at the Apprentice Level or continue on to the more advanced levels: Journey and Master.

UCCE San Diego's Five Year Pollinator Research Project

As part of a multi-state multi-institutional research project funded by USDA-NIFA to help protect pollinators in the ornamental plant market, we study the relationship between pollinators and different ornamental plants commonly used in southern California. Many pollinators rely on pesticide-treated garden plants for nectar, pollen, and other crucial resources—but some plants may help save the bees more than others. As wild habitat shrinks, it’s important that pollinators can safely access the resources they need, while still allowing nursery businesses to control damaging pests.  We found that commercially available native perennials were visited at almost twice the rate as commercially available non-native perennials, and native perennials had significantly higher rates of visitor diversity.

Another part of our project studies systemic insecticides applied to a variety of ornamental plant species, and analyzes residue levels in the nectar, pollen, flower petals, and other plant parts to determine how long they persist after treatment. We examine several commonly used systemic insecticides applied in different quantities to see which have the greatest impact. Plants that retain pesticide residue for long periods of time should be treated earlier in the cropping cycle and offered for sale later in their life span, while plants that have little residue remaining can be safely offered to consumers without harm to pollinators. Results are forthcoming.

Our data, along with data from eight other collaborating institutions, will be submitted to the EPA to determine future pesticide regulations. Growers can control pests with safely applied pesticides in regulated amounts that won’t damage bees, while gardeners can choose the plants that will help support pollinators in their own landscapes and backyards. We anticipate that our final results will be collected in 2020.

4-H Honors Congressional Award to Sissy Sugarman

The Congressional award is the highest honor Congress can bestow upon a civilian recognizing achievement, initiative and service in America's youth, ages 14-23. Sissy Sugarman, a senior San Diego 4-H member, won that award last year with the added distinction of being a S.T.E.M. star for her Honey Bee Road Show initiative. 

The Honey Bee Road Show is a program Sissy developed after growing up learning about bees in 4-H. She now teaches schoolchildren about bees and their vital role in our world. Congratulations to Sissy on her achievements.







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