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Posts Tagged: Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility

Häagen-Dazs Boosting Honey Bee Research at UC Davis: There's a Concerto for That!

Honey bee on almond. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Just before you open your carton of premier ice cream, you may want to enjoy the sound of violins and cellos.

There's an app for that. More specifically, there's a concerto for that.

And it all deals with the Häagen-Dazs premier ice cream brand supporting bee research at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis.

This is one business that's very concerned about the worldwide declining bee population.  One-third of the food we eat is pollinated by bees. Häagen-Dazs ice cream is dependent upon bees--some 50 percent of its flavors are bee-dependent. 

Häagen-Dazs is a longtime and generous supporter of UC Davis bee research. Background: in 2009 the brand launched the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly and educational garden planted next to the Laidlaw facility on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.  It's a year-around food source for the Laidlaw bees and other pollinators. It provides an educational opportunity for visitors; they learn about the plight of the bees, and what they can plant in their own gardens to feed the bees.

Häagen-Dazs also funded the Häagen-Dazs Postdoctoral Fellowship at UC Davis. It went to Michelle Flenniken, an insect virus researcher based at UC San Francisco. She's now a research assistant professor at Montana State University.

So, first a bee garden and then a fellowship for a scientist to study bee diseases. And now...drum roll...the Häagen-Dazs Concerto Timer app. 

Häagen-Dazs officials today announced the introduction of the Häagen-Dazs Concerto Timer app, described as "the first iOS mobile app to integrate detailed 3D Kinect technology and video data that delivers a cutting edge augmented reality experience."

According to a press release, “The Concerto Timer app features two-minute-long music concertos that help consumers understand the exact amount of time needed to prepare their Häagen-Dazs ice cream in order to get the full, rich consistency and allow all the flavors to fully bloom. Allowing the ice cream to soften slightly – also called tempering – for two minutes enhances the texture and exposes fans to the craftsmanship of premium ingredients that is characteristic of Häagen-Dazs ice cream, gelato, sorbet and frozen yogurt."

So, basically, you download the free app, open your freezer and remove the Häagen-Dazs product,  set it on your counter, and point your I-Phone at the lid of the cartoon. Voila! Two minutes of concerto music! Just the right amount of time to have your ice cream soften.

Now here's the good news for the bees: for every download, Häagen-Dazs will donate $5 to UC Davis bee research, up to $75,000.

Now that's a sweet gift!

Said Cady Behles, Häagen-Dazs brand manager: “The app concept came directly from our brand loyalists who recognized the necessity of tempering to enjoy all of the flavors in our ice cream. We took their feedback and developed an advanced mobile experience – something never seen before in the ice cream industry – that would be functional and also entertain them during the optimal time period.”

Developed by creative agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners and digital production company JAM3, the Häagen-Dazs Concerto Timer app is now available for download in the iTunes App Store.

The video begins with the text: "Just as wine needs to breathe, Haagen-Dazs ice cream needs to soften for two minutes. Now there’s a concerto  for that."

Check out the online video at http://www.multivu.com/mnr/62528-haagen-dazs-mobile-concerto-timer-app-classical-music-preparing-ice-cream and read about the app. You can download the app from I-Tunes. 

The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, home of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility and the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven thanks you; the bees thank you; and somewhere Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. (1907-2003), the father of honey bee genetics who devoted his entire life to the study of bees, must be smiling.

Sweet music indeed!

(Editor's Note: You can also donate to UC Davis bee research by accessing this page.)

The sign in front of the Laidlaw facility includes bees, a skep, almond blossoms and DNA. It is the work of artist Donna Billick of Davis, a co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The sign in front of the Laidlaw facility includes bees, a skep, almond blossoms and DNA. It is the work of artist Donna Billick of Davis, a co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The sign in front of the Laidlaw facility includes bees, a skep, almond blossoms and DNA. It is the work of artist Donna Billick of Davis, a co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Beekeeper Billy Synk, manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, demonstrates the Haagen-Dazs Concerto Timer with a cell phone and ice cream carton. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Beekeeper Billy Synk, manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, demonstrates the Haagen-Dazs Concerto Timer with a cell phone and ice cream carton. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Beekeeper Billy Synk, manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, demonstrates the Haagen-Dazs Concerto Timer with a cell phone and ice cream carton. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 10:37 PM

Bugfest at Dixon May Fair

Children can make this bee art on Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Floriculture Building. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
If you think that every insect on a flower is a honey bee, you should see what the UC Davis Department of Entomology is showcasing at the Dixon May Fair, May 9-12.

You'll not only see honey bees in a bee observation hive, but specimens of bumble bees, cuckoo bees, carpenter bees, long-horned bees, squash bees, plasterer bees, mining bees, leafcutter bees, wool carder bees and sweat bees. 

The exhibit is in the Southard Floriculture Building on the May Fair grounds, located at 655 S. First St., Dixon.

Participating are the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility and the Bohart Museum of Entomology, both part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology; and the newly formed UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, headquartered at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

Beekeeper Brian Fishback of Wilton, owner of BD Ranch and Apiary and a volunteer at the Laidlaw facility for several years, is providing the bee observation hive, a glassed-in box that enables viewers to observe the activity that goes on inside a bee hive. 

Fishback, a past president of the Sacramento Area Beekeepers' Association and member of the California State Beekeepers' Association, is an educator as well as a beekeeper. He speaks about bees at schools, organizations and festivals. His daughter, Emily, 2, accompanies him on many of his talks.

“Emily loves bees,” said Fishback, who keeps 125 hives on his property in Wilton. She knows that a bee has six legs, four wings and five eyes, and that each bee has three body parts: the head, thorax and abdomen. She knows that a honey bee eats pollen and nectar, pollinates flowers and makes honey.”

UC Davis graduate students, including squash bee expert Katharina Ullmann and area beekeepers (among them Jesse Loren of Winters and Lindsay Weaver of Sacramento) will be available during part of the fair (weekend) to share their experiences with fairgoers. 

Children attending the Dixon May Fair on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 12 can make a "Honey Bee on a Stick," an arts and crafts project that doubles as a hand-held fan and puppet. Executive director Amina Harris of the Honey and Pollination Center, an area beekeeper and a former school teacher, will help the children create the take-home art. The free activity is from from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Southard Floriculture Building. Harris crafts the bee art using a yellow paper plate, duct tape, googly eyes, a stick, and pipe cleaners (for antennae). 

The Dixon May Fair's floriculture building, staffed by superintendent Kathy Hicks of Dixon, includes stunning garden displays and a myriad of plants and cut flowers.   It is open from 4 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

Beekeeper Brian Fishback shows his daughter, Emily, his bee observation hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Beekeeper Brian Fishback shows his daughter, Emily, his bee observation hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Beekeeper Brian Fishback shows his daughter, Emily, his bee observation hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 10:25 PM

Going Native

The first thing you notice when you walk up to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis, are the natives.

Native plants, that is.

California golden poppies and phacelia are among the plants sharing the "Pollination Habitat" bed. The golden poppies literally light up the landscape. The phacelia, not so much.

The next thing you notice are the bumble bees, carpenter bees, honey bees and syrphid flies foraging on the natives. An occasional butterfly flits by.

Today a bumble bee, Bombus vandykei, buzzed from one phacelia to another. She was interested only in phacelia. Nothing else, thank you.

She quickly found herself competing with honey bees for the nectar and pollen. 

A sign, "Pollinator Habitat," tells the story: 

"This area has been placed with a range of flowering native plants to provide hgh waulity habitat for native bees and other pollinators. To learn how you can create good habitat for pollinators please visit www.xerces.org."

Phacelia is one of the bee plants recommended in G. H.Vansell's booklet, Nectar and Pollen Plants of California (Bulletin 517). Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, mentions phacelia in his list of good bee plants in a 2002 edition of his newsletter, from the UC apiaries.

And phacelia is also a plant that pollination ecologist Neal Williams, assistant professor of entomology at UC Davis, is studying.

Bumble bee, Bombus vandykei,  foraging on phacelia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Bumble bee, Bombus vandykei, foraging on phacelia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bumble bee, Bombus vandykei, foraging on phacelia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Side view of bumble bee, Bombus vandykei. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Side view of bumble bee, Bombus vandykei. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Side view of bumble bee, Bombus vandykei. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Competition for the phacelia! (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Competition for the phacelia! (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Competition for the phacelia! (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 11:01 PM

Doesn't Get Any Better Than This

It was a gorgeous day to be out in an almond orchard.

Staff research associate Billy Synk of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, University of California, Davis was out tending the research bees earlier placed in two Dixon almond orchards. 

Volunteer Randall Cass, who is seeking his master’s degree in international agricultural development at UC Davis, accompanied Synk on his rounds. Cass has previous experience working with beekeepers in Chile. And the Laidlaw bees? The 49 bee boxes are part of a research project launched by Brian Johnson, assistant professor of entomology.

The almond blossoms perfumed the air as bees buzzed back and forth carrying their loads of pollen to feed the offspring. They're gearing up for the big spring build-up. Soon the queen bee will be laying 2000 eggs a day.

The grass looked exceptionally green and the almond blossoms exceptionally delicate. You could almost hear the quiet and the excitement of spring.

Billy Synk (left) shows Randall Cass a frame. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Billy Synk (left) shows Randall Cass a frame. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Billy Synk (left) shows Randall Cass a frame. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Beekeeper Billy Synk checks the productivity. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Beekeeper Billy Synk checks the productivity. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Beekeeper Billy Synk checks the productivity. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Checking out the bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Checking out the bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Checking out the bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of the Laidlaw research bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of the Laidlaw research bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of the Laidlaw research bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 9:44 PM

Symphony in the Almonds

Symphony in the almond blossoms...

There's a wild almond tree planted in a field off Bee Biology Road at the University of California, Davis, that's incredibly beautiful.

Honey bees from the nearby apiary at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility reunite on the blossoms, each bee seemingly vying for the best pollen to take back to her hive.

The tree is not quite in full bloom, but don't tell that to the bees. We captured a few images of them in flight, a moving symphony performance in the almonds.

Honey bee heading toward almonds blossoms on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee heading toward almonds blossoms on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Honey bee heading toward almonds blossoms on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Honey bee, packing pollen, in mid-flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee, packing pollen, in mid-flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Honey bee, packing pollen, in mid-flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A blur of bee wings.  (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A blur of bee wings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A blur of bee wings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, February 22, 2013 at 8:43 PM

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