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The Buzz About Bees

By on June 8, 2016 in Events, Featured, News



The Buzz About Bees: Conserving and Protecting Our Pollinators

Saturday July 30, 2016, 10 a.m to 12 p.m.

OVLC Office 370 W Baldwin Road, Bldg. A4

The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy will host Dr. Ruben Alarcon, specialist in native bees, as guest speaker. He will be covering the latest research at his “Pollination Ecology Lab” at California State University Channel  Islands,  but also his general knowledge of these diversified indigenous little Hymenoptera.

Pollination ecologists have typically studied a focal plant species and one or a few closely related pollinator taxa, such as bumblebees, which fostered the view that plant-pollinator relationships are highly specialized. However recent community-scale studies have revealed that many pollination systems are generalized, such that plants are visited by diverse, and spatiotemporally variable, pollinator assemblages. Dr. Alarcon’s goal is to reconcile traditional views of “specialized” floral adaptation with ecological generalization. Specifically he is incorporating aspects of pollinator foraging behavior and flower/pollinator phenotype, into the analysis of plant-pollinator communities using network techniques. To address this issue the lab is exploring several plant-pollinator systems, including sub-alpine meadows in Colorado and California, the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona, as well as the coastal sage scrub community surrounding the CSUCI campus.

From an applied perspective the lab is also working to maintain honeybee populations for crop pollination. In the United States over 130 crops require insect pollination, with nearly one-third of our diet coming from honeybee pollination services. However, over the last several years large numbers of honeybee colonies have been lost to Colony Collapse Disorder. Working with beekeepers and growers, the lab is trying to assess the benefits of providing supplemental forage for colonies transported to California every winter to pollinate almonds. They are also available to assist Ventura County beekeepers in identifying Nosema microsporidian infections and to monitor parasitic mites.

In addition to working with honeybees, the lab also studies the nesting and foraging behavior of native bees, including the Blue Orchard Bee, Osmia lignaria. By furthering their understanding of native bee biology, they hope to increase their use as sustainable pollinators. In collaboration with the UC Cooperative Extensions, Ventura County, they will also be studying how native bees could be used to improve avocado pollination.

This class is free to members and students and $10 for non-members.  Become a member today!  A family membership is just $35 per year.  Reservations are requested.  For more information or to make a reservation go to or contact Marti Reid at (805) 649-6852 ext 2 or


Members Register Here

Non Members Register Here


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