Re-Blogged from the University of Florida. Read more here: http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/global/

 

Recently discovered genetic knowledge of two nuisance western honey bee subspecies will help commercial and hobby beekeepers.

new UF/IFAS study identified genetic characteristics relevant to the production and behavioral attributes of these two key bee subspecies. For example, researchers found Cape bees to be significantly darker than Africanized bees. This dark coloring could be genetically correlated to their undesired behavior.

Both subspecies are undesired in the United States. The first, the “killer bee” or “Africanized honey bee,” known scientifically as A.m. scutellata, is a light-colored bee known for its territorial and defensive nature. This subspecies was taken from its native habitat in South Africa to Brazil in the 1950’s. There, it hybridized with the European bee subspecies kept by Brazilian beekeepers, and then moved into the U.S. A.m. scutellata are considered invasive bees and can take over colonies of managed honey bees, which can lower profits for beekeepers. They also are known for their heightened defensive behavior.

The second subspecies studied, the “cape honey bee,” known scientifically as A.m. capensis, presents a slew of problems to beekeepers. These bees are more docile but are more likely than African honey bees to take over hives. Cape bees are considered social parasites. Unlike other honey bee subspecies, cape worker bees can clone themselves, producing female eggs without first mating. These clones can take over a hive. These workers cannot reproduce at the same rate as a traditional queen and the colony will eventually dwindle and collapse, a phenomenon coined “capensis calamity.”

“More amazing than the cape bee worker’s ability to clone itself is the rate at which it can take over other colonies,” said Jamie Ellis, UF/IFAS professor. “We are working to ensure these bees do not make their way to the United States because in most cases, when these bees take over a colony, the colony is doomed.”

Genetic studies can be used to understand “why the way things are” for an organism. In this case, researchers sought to understand what genetic traits contribute to the appearance of these bees and their behavior. Using data collected from South African bees from a previous USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service funded study in 2013 and 2014, scientists sought to understand what genes are responsible for the physical characteristics of these subspecies.

“We found really interesting variations in the genes of these bees that can help explain why they look and behave differently,” said Laura Patterson Rosa, UF/IFAS graduate student and co-lead author of the study. “There are a lot of implications to what we found. We have not yet been able to verify these new discoveries in additional populations, but if our findings stand the test of time, it could partially explain why we see behavioral changes, why they do not acknowledge the existence of queens of other subspecies and why they can clone themselves when other bees cannot.”

“Color phenotype is an important aspect to beekeeping management,” said Ellis. “It can help beekeepers know what type of honey bee they have.”

Cape bees are significantly darker than the Africanized bees. This dark coloring could be genetically correlated to their cloning and colony takeover behavior.

“There are potentially over 30 subspecies of honey bees. We investigated only two in the published study,” said Ellis. “Does this finding hold true for the other dark colored honey bee subspecies? It would be interesting to look for these mutations across all western honey bee subspecies to determine if this is the case.”

Curiosity about traits, characteristics and color and how they impact behavior persists as researchers hope to use these findings for future research.

Special thanks to supporters of this research including USDA APHIS and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services through the guidance of the Honey Bee Technical Council.

Re-Blogged from the University of Florida. For more Blog Posts, visit http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/global/

 

January 21st marks Florida’s Arbor Day, and throughout the state, there will be events with tree giveaways and plantings. New trees are an important component of the environment, but they don’t grow in isolation. When planting trees, it’s important to consider what trees to plant, where you plant them, how you plant them, and why.

Two new books at the IFAS Extension Bookstore look at trees within the context of human environments.

Urban Ecology for Citizens and Planners

Gail Hansen and Joseli Macedo

University Press of Florida

Parks, gardens and greenspaces offer necessary benefits for cities—they filter pollution, mitigate temperatures and offer areas of beauty and contemplation for city dwellers. However, it takes careful planning and maintenance to make urban ecology thrive.

This book is ideal for city residents, developers, designers, and officials looking for ways to bring urban environments into harmony with the natural world and to make cities more sustainable. It offers a wealth of information and examples from urban forests around the world to guide green initiatives and inform environmental policies.

A valuable resource for real-world solutions, this volume encourages citizens and planners to actively engage and collaborate in improving their communities and quality of life.

Dr. Gail Hansen is an associate professor in the ornamental horticulture department at the University of Florida. Dr. Joseli Macedo is professor in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at the University of Calgari.

368 pp.

$45.00

Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants

Douglas W. Tallamy

Timber Press

“In too many areas of our country there is no place left for wildlife but in the landscapes and gardens we ourselves create.”

With great detail and insight, naturalist Douglas Tallamy uncovers the complex interdepence between plants and wildlife and explains how, when non-native plants take over a landscape, insects and other wildlife soon disappear. Using ecological science, plant lists and eye-catching photos, Tallamy shows how anyone with access to a patch of earth can make a significant contribution toward sustaining biodiversity by planting native trees and other plants.

360 pp.

$19.95


Also at IFASBOOKS:

Trees: North & Central Florida

Andrew Koeser, Gitta Hasing, Melissa Friedman, Robert Irving

This field guide to 140 tree species–the only one of its kind for north and central Florida–is designed for landscape professionals, arborists, naturalists, gardeners, and anyone seeking to know the trees around them.

Full color photographs of leaves, bark, flowers and full trees, together with clear descriptions and other information make identifying trees easier than ever. The book also features a handy diagnostic key, an introduction to plant parts, a glossary and a ruler to guide you, whether you’re a trained botanist or a total beginner.

320 pp.

$24.95

(A companion guide, Trees: South Florida and the Keys, published by University Press of Florida, is currently out of print.)

Trees of the Southeast Playing Cards

If you’re someone who “hearts” trees and card games, this unique deck will “bridge” both interests. Perfect for “clubs” or “solitaire”, you’ll increase your knowledge of regional tree species in “spades” as you play. One look at these colorful and educational cards and you’ll want to “hold ‘em”!

$5.95


For more, visit http://ifasbooks.ifas.ufl.edu/

Join Us on May 14, 2022 for the Lakeland Cardboard Boat Challenge & Lakeshore Festival


  • On-Site Built Registration 8 A.M. – 8:30 A.M.
  • Cardboard Boat Building On-site 8:30 A.M. – 10:00 A.M.
  • Pre-Built Registration 9:00 A.M. – 9:30 A.M.
  • Race Starts at 10:00 am

Purchase Entries Here “Coming Soon”


This event helps raise awareness about our water resources and how we all must play a role in protecting them. People can reduce their impact on the environment through the lifestyle choices they make every day. Celebrate our lakes and join the fun!

To reinforce the reason behind this event the theme of your cardboard boats need to have a “Lakes” awareness theme. Each team must name their boat with a Lakes awareness theme, and turn in a short bio explaining the name choice to be announced prior to launch. Register your team, create a boat out of cardboard and duct tape, and race to the finish line. Environmental Exhibitors will provide children’s activities, information on ways to protect our lakes, water ways and other environmental fun facts.

THE CHALLENGE:

To build a boat out of cardboard and duct tape, and then put 2 people inside to race around a course, be the first to make it across the finish line without sinking.

THE CATEGORIES:

On-Site Built Groups: Cardboard boats are built on site, the morning of the event, and all supplies are provided.

Race teams will be in the following divisions:

  • Community/Corporate: Both paddlers must be 18 years of age or older to paddle the boat.
  • Youth: Must be elementary/middle/high school age youth to build or paddle the boat. Both paddlers will need to be under 18 years of age. Teams must have an adult to supervise construction and handling of knives.
  • Family Team: Must have at least one child between the ages of five and 18 paddling and an adult supervising the construction and handling of knives. The second paddler is over the age of 18.

Pre-Built Groups: Cardboard boats are built before the event, and teams must provide their own supplies.

Race teams will be in the following divisions:

  • Community/Corporate: Both paddlers must be 18 years of age or older to paddle the boat.
  • Youth: Must be elementary/middle/high school age youth to build or paddle the boat. Both paddlers will need to be under 18 years of age. Teams must have an adult to supervise construction and handling of knives.
  • Family Team: Must have at least one child between the ages of five and 18 paddling and an adult supervising the construction and handling of knives. The second paddler is over the age of 18.

Cardboard Boat Challenge Rules:

The Challenge: To design, construct and race a boat made of cardboard across a body of water.

Objectives: The boat should float, carry lots of weight, go fast and Raise Lake Awareness.

Team Guidelines:

  1. Minimum of four and maximum of 10 people. Only two members will set sail in the boat.
  2. Race teams will be in the following divisions, (these apply to both Pre-built and On-site Built Boats):
  • Community/Corporate: Must be 18 years of age or older to build and/or paddle the boat.
  • Youth: Must be elementary/middle/high school age youth to build or paddle the boat. Teams must have an adult to supervise construction and handling of knives.
  • Family Team: Must have at least one child between the ages of five and 18 paddling and an adult supervising the construction and handling of knives.
  1. Each team must designate a team captain and provide a boat name (with a lakes awareness theme). Team captains will be the only ones allowed to sign the team in the day of the race.
  2. Teams are encouraged to have a cheering squad of friends, family and associates supporting them at the challenge event. Supporters are encouraged to bring banners and mascots to cheer on the teams.
  3. Two team members will power your team’s boat. While aboard your boat, each sailor must wear an approved life jacket (provided for you or you may bring your own).
  4. Your team will be given two oars to propel your boat. Team members cannot place their hands or feet in the water to steer or navigate. This will result in disqualification.
  5. The committee reserves the right to disqualify teams that are deemed inappropriate for a family event.
  6. The committee reserves the right to adjust team category as necessary.
  7. USE YOUR IMAGINATION!

Time:

  • Preparation – It is recommended to dedicate time for designing the boat before the day of the race, but you can “wing it” and still make it just fine!
  • On-Site Cardboard Boat Building – Approximately 1 ½ hours to build the boat.
  • Racing – Approximately 1.5 hours to race the boats in heats of teams. We will end with a “survivors” race. (Depending on the number of teams in each division, multiple heats may be necessary and winner will be determined by best time in overall division.)
  • Awards and Cleanup – Thirty minutes for awards and final cleanup. Each team is to place boat and remnants in dumpster.

Overall Judging is based on: Speed – how you place in the race.

Specialty Awards: Design and construction ― be creative and have a blast!

  • LE/AD’er in Lakes Awareness – The boat and team that does the best job in promoting Lake Awareness
  • Spirit Award – given to the team that shows the most spirit
  • Survivor Award – This is the winner of the final Survivors Race (if there are multiple heats the 1st & 2nd place winners will be invited to the final showdown for the Survivors Award.)
  • Titanic Award – the team that has the best sinking boat!
  • People’s Choice (Pre-built boats only) – Be creative and attract the votes of the crowd.

On-Site Boat Building Rules

  1. Only those tools and materials we provide may be used, and you cannot exchange supplies with other teams!
  2. Teams that do not return all construction tools (utility knives, yardsticks, pencils, markers) will be eliminated from the challenge.

Tools and Materials (All tools and materials will be provided to you on race day.):

8 sheets cardboard 2 utility knives

2 yardsticks 2 pencils

1 pack of markers to decorate boat 2 life jackets

3 rolls duct tape 2 oars

* No other tools or equipment may be used during the construction or racing of the boat.

Pre-Built Boat Building Rules

  1. The boat may be no more than four (4) meters long.
  2. Participants must procure their own building materials and supplies.
  3. The boat must be made entirely of corrugated cardboard. This includes the hull, superstructure, seats or any other functional part of the boat. You may add items that are not made from corrugated cardboard for decorative purposes only; provided any such items otherwise comply with these rules and are environmentally friendly.
  4. You may use only corrugated cardboard for any functional part of the boat. Any thickness is permitted. You may not use any type of cardboard other than corrugated cardboard (e.g., carpet tubes, spools, composite papers, etc.), unless such use is strictly decorative.
  5. You may use water-soluble single-part glue.
  6. You may use latex (water based) paints, caulks or sealers.
  7. Any glue, paints, caulks or sealers used on the boat must be environmentally friendly and dry as of the start of the race.
  8. The boat must be free of any sharp edges, pointed objects, or any other material that could cause injury, either to the occupants of the boat, or other participants.
  9. You absolutely may not use any tar based substances, two-part varnishes, two-part epoxies, fiberglass resin, or any other two-part or catalyzed substance, or any corrugated cardboard that is bonded to any material other than more corrugated cardboard.
  10. All boats must be propelled only by the passengers, using paddles. Paddles will be available at the race, or you may bring your own paddles. All paddles must be hand held and not affixed to the boat in any way. No oar locks or other fixed-fulcrum paddles! No motors of any type!
  11. The organizers have the right to disqualify, or require modification of, any boat at anytime if the organizers decide, in their sole discretion: (i) that any part of a boat violates the rules set forth above, (ii) any boat or portion thereof otherwise poses a safety risk; (iii) that the boat is composed of any non-environmentally friendly material; or (iv) that any part of the boat is in bad taste or offensive in any manner.

May, is Water Safety Month. Here is a great article from the University of Florida.

Florida leads the nation with many impressive statistics such as having the most IGFA fishing world records (925), being the state with most amount of coastline in the lower 48 (1,350 miles) and having more boats registered here than any other state (954,731 recreational and 30,274 commercial registered vessels)! With almost half of the 836 reported 2020 accidents happening between the months of May-August. This is a great time to brush up on some safety information as you approach the water’s edge!

Keep Reading……

The Board of Directors of LEAD in partnership with Polk County and the City of Winter Haven is happy to announce the inaugural 7 River Water Festival 5k.

CHECK BACK, MORE INFORMATION COMING SOON!

Location: Downtown Winter Haven, Florida
Date: Saturday, September 18, 2021
Time: 7:30AM – 9:00 AM

Now taking applications for sponsorship

Evidence points to the fact that children gain their most powerful understanding of their natural environment through exploring it for themselves. However, within formal education, educators are often hampered from facilitating this exploration beyond the classroom by the pressures of the curriculum, health and safety concerns, and restricted budgets.  LE/AD, with help from a grant from the George W. Jenkins Fund within the GiveWell Community Foundation and its fundholders and Polk County Parks and Natural Resources is bridging the gap on this issue by offering a program to youth groups in Polk County.  This program will consist of:

1. A field trip to Circle B Bar Reserve, where the children will participate in many outdoor hands-on activities including dip-netting, hiking and bandana rubbing.

2. Participants in the afterschool program will have the opportunity to enter into a poster contest to describe what they learned during the sessions.  The contest will be judged by members of the LE/AD Board of Directors and the top three selections will be awarded prizes.

Funding Partner

The GiveWell Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity serving Polk, Hardee, and Highlands counties in Central Florida. The Community Foundation holds more than 300 charitable funds established by individuals, families, organizations, and private foundations and serves a wide variety of charitable services.

For more than 20 years, the GiveWell Community Foundation and its fundholders have been investing in the future of our communities through impactful, philanthropic giving.

Activity

LE/AD will provide programs to community partners with limited budgets in Polk County.  This program would consist of minimum of 10 groups participating in:

  1. An interactive, hands-on learning experience field trip, where the children will participate in many outdoor activities including dip-netting, hiking and bandana rubbing.  They will learn each phase of the water cycle and the importance of water conservation. An on-site hands-on learning experience with the watershed model that shows how fertilizers, pesticides, oil and erosion affect our watersheds. Staff from Polk’s Nature Discovery Center will assist LE/AD with supervision and implementation of this program. 

Evaluation

For their Field Studies visit, each group will take a pre and post test. Follow up will be provided with additional materials sent back to camp locations, and a poster competition will be an elective.

LE/AD would like to thank the Southwest Florida Water Management District for providing educational materials for children participating in this program.

Poster