THE DOWNLOAD: ‘First’ Bumblebee Is a YouTube Star

“First” bumblebee of the new year? Check. “First” cabbage white butterfly? Still waiting.

To win the Robbin Thorp Memorial First Bumblebee of the Year Contest, sponsored by the Bohart Museum of Entomology, you have to be the first person to send in a photo of a bumblebee in the wild, Jan. 1 or later, in Yolo or Solano counties. Pollinator enthusiast Ria de Grassi ’83, M.S. ’87, sent a photo AND a video (watch it above ... it’s short, because as de Grassi says, bumblebees don’t say in one place very long!).

She spotted it Sunday afternoon (Jan. 8), a black-tailed bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus, foraging on a ceanothus plant in her backyard in Davis.

Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist, Department of Entomology and Nematology, has a detailed account of de Grassi and her find.

The “first” Pieris rapae, subject of the Beer for a Butterfly Contest that Art Shapiro, distinguished professor of evolution and ecology, has been running since 1972, is yet to be captured. Shapiro blames it on the rain: “Periods of rain are expected every day through perhaps the 19th,” he wrote in a group email Jan. 5, his birthday, as quoted by Garvey in an update on her Bug Squad blog. “Do not expect any butterfly records any time soon. Everybody stay safe and prepared for whatever may eventuate.”

Read more about both contests.

Looking back ...

“I’d say 2022 was a pretty productive year,” Chancellor May says in a LinkedIn post noting the Aggie Square groundbreaking (Feb. 16), Edwards Family Athletics Center grand opening (Sept. 27), Teaching and Learning Complex grand opening (Oct. 4), Tschannen Eye Institute grand opening (Oct. 5) and the Resnick Center for Agricultural Innovation announcement (Oct. 13). See the photos.

... looking ahead

While you were gone ...

Media Resources

Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556,; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932,

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