Following a Tree—September

September 10, 2014...Tulip tree is starting to turn color.

September 10, 2014…Tulip tree is starting to turn color.

Yep, they are definitely changing color.

Yep, the leaves are definitely changing color. According to Portland (OR) Parks and Recreation, fall foliage color is gold-yellow.  Featured is  a tulip tree that was planted in the 1890s.

Looking up into the umbrella, even those leaves are yellowing.

Looking up into the umbrella, even these leaves are yellowing.    A member of the Magnoliaceae family, these trees are native in the US, east of the Mississippi.  The record height is 200 feet (61 meters), but many grow to over 100 feet.

The seed pod is just starting to show a little browning on the tips.  I never noticed the seed pods before because they are hidden in the foliage,  but because of this "tree following" project, I'm pushing leaves out of the way to find them.  Luckily, the pods are within reach.

The seed pod is just starting to show a little browning on the tips. I never noticed the seed pods before because they are hidden in the foliage, but because of this “tree following” project, I’m pushing leaves out of the way to find them. Luckily, the pods are within reach.

 

According to Wikipedia… “The soft, fine-grained wood of tulip trees is known as “poplar” (short for “yellow poplar”) in the U.S., but marketed abroad as “American tulipwood” or by other names. It is very widely used where a cheap, easy-to-work and stable wood is needed. The sapwood is usually a creamy off-white color. While the heartwood is usually a pale green, it can take on streaks of red, purple, or even black; depending on the extractives content (i.e. the soil conditions where the tree was grown, etc.). It is clearly the wood of choice for use in organs, due to its ability to take a fine, smooth, precisely cut finish and so to effectively seal against pipes and valves. It is also commonly used for siding clapboards. Its wood may be compared in texture, strength, and softness to white pine.

Used for interior finish of houses, for siding, for panels of carriages, for coffin boxes, pattern timber, and wooden ware. During scarcity of the better qualities of white pine, tulip wood has taken its place to some extent, particularly when very wide boards are required.[3]

It also has a reputation for being resistant to termites, and in the Upland South (and perhaps elsewhere) house and barn sills were often made of tulip poplar beams.”

Bee Math for Bee-atrice

September 8, 2014...Post swarm day 33.  There's a shadow across her face.  I hope that's not a bad sign, but the bee math doesn't look good for her.

September 8, 2014…Post swarm day 33. There’s a shadow across her face. I hope that’s not a bad sign, but the bee math doesn’t look good for her.

I’ve looked at various charts explaining Bee Math, but I like the way Michael Bush puts it best…”If a hive just swarmed today, how long before the new queen is laying? Assuming this was the primary swarm, it usually leaves the day the first queen cell gets capped. So that means a new queen will emerge in 8 days. That queen may leave with another swarm or the workers may allow her to kill all the others and stay. Assuming she kills all the others (which are staggered in age, so they will emerge at different times if they do afterswarm) then she should be laying most likely two weeks later. So that’s about three weeks give or take a week. (two to four weeks).”

Bee-atrice swarmed a month and two days ago.  That makes it 33 days…(well past four weeks) She had built up fast having gotten occupied by a wild swarm only two months prior on June 6, 2014.

July 27, 2014...The most advanced stage of comb building before the swarm on August 7.  (I had planned to post a two month update on her strong progress, but she up and swarmed on me)

July 27, 2014…The most advanced stage of comb building before the swarm on August 7. (I had planned to post a two month update on her strong progress, but she up and swarmed on me)

 

August 8, 2014...Bee-atrice through the observation window exactly one month ago.  This shows how much comb was built in the two months the wild swarm occupied her.  This is the day after she had swarmed.

August 8, 2014…Bee-atrice through the observation window exactly one month ago. This shows how much comb was built in the two months the wild swarm occupied her. This is the day after she had swarmed.

August 8, 2014...Temperature holding steady at 93F.

August 8, 2014…Temperature holding steady at 93F…good for brood rearing.

September 8, 2014...And this is today.  Doesn't look like any more comb has been built, The number of bees hasn't increased.

September 8, 2014…And this is today. Doesn’t look like any more comb has been built, The number of bees hasn’t increased, and…

...and this is the awful final sign that things are not going well.  62F (16C) means there is no brood being laid.

…and this is the awful final sign that things are not going well. 62F (16C) means there are no eggs being laid.

Maybe I’m wrong, but math is math, and the numbers don’t look good for Bee-atrice.

Late Summer Blossoms

As soon as the nectar flow quit (blackberries), the bees started working the Phacelia.  It was then that I noticed the blue pollen. I can see why they preferred blackberries...these blossoms are hard to work.

As soon as the main nectar flow quit (blackberries), the bees started working the Phacelia. It was then that I noticed the blue pollen.
I can see why they preferred blackberries…these blossoms are hard to work.

A bee works the borage in late July.

A bee works the borage in late July.  A second batch of borage has reseeded itself and will hopefully bloom during autumn.

August 22, 2014...I finally visited Barbara's Mock Orange tree. It was everything she said it was. Covered in white blossoms with bees all over it.  Note:  this might NOT be a Mock Orange.  See below what Carol Quish of University of Connecticut had to say.

August 22, 2014…I finally visited Barbara’s Mock Orange tree. It was everything she said it was. Covered in white blossoms with bees all over it. Note: this might NOT be a Mock Orange. See below what Carol Quish of University of Connecticut had to say.

 

Two bees on Barbara's Eucryphia Tree

Two bees on Barbara’s Eucryphia Tree

August 29, 2014...When I think of summer, this is what I picture. SUNFLOWERS. Last year we had precious few. This year we grew a few more for the bees.

August 29, 2014…When I think of summer, this is what I picture. SUNFLOWERS. Last year we had precious few. This year we grew a few more for the bees.  It was hard to stay in the shop during the blue sky, bee-flying, sunny days.

September 1...I'm soooo glad I planted these Autumn Joy sedums a couple of years ago.  The bees get nectar from it from late August through September.  How many bees do you see?  It's easier to count them in the video.  When we first got the notion to buy these Autumn Joy sedums, it was mid September, 2012.  My wife was unloading the potted plants and the bees found them as she was carrying them out to the garden.  If you have some space, buy some right away.  Your bees will thank you. :)

September 1…I’m soooo glad I planted these Autumn Joy sedums a couple of years ago. The bees get nectar from it from late August through September. How many bees do you see? It’s easier to count them in the video.
When we first got the notion to buy these Autumn Joy sedums, it was mid September, 2012. My wife was unloading the potted plants and the bees found them as she was carrying them out to the garden. If you have some space, plant some right away. Your bees will thank you. :)

A Ctenucha Multifaria partakes of the nectar too.

A Ctenucha Multifaria partakes of the nectar too.

 

August 21, 2014...Bob and Jeff unpack the newly built and untested bee vac.

August 21, 2014…Bob and Jeff unpack the newly built and untested bee vac.

To the left is the cover which is sporting a spiffy observation window. Confidence is high that this will work.

To the left is the cover which is sporting a spiffy observation window.  The screened inside box is lined up with the intake tube.  Confidence is high.

Shop vac hooked up and plugged in, bee vac ready to go.  Note the the size of the hose at 2 1/4" or 5.7 cm.  The bigger diameter means the bees won't be tumbled as much.

Shop vac hooked up and plugged in, bee vac ready to go. Note the the size of the hose at 2 1/4″ or 5.7 cm. The bigger diameter means the bees won’t be tumbled as much.

We didn't know how big the swarm was.  Tim from the City Water Dept. called to say there was a swarm of bees he had to get rid of.   Jeff is taking precautions in approaching the area.

We didn’t know how big the swarm was. Tim from the City Water Dept. had called to say there was a swarm of bees he had to get rid of.  Jeff is taking precautions in approaching the area.

After some preliminary issues, the bee vac performed admirably, gently removing bees from the inside of the valve box lid.

After some preliminary issues, the bee vac performed admirably, gently removing bees from the underside of the meter box lid.

It didn't take long to suck up these bees, but there were more below ground level.

It didn’t take long to suck up these bees, but there were more below ground level.

Getting the bees removed from behind the below ground valve box would have been very difficult without the use of Bob's Bee Vac.

Getting the bees removed from behind the below-ground water meter box would have been very difficult without the use of Bob’s Bee Vac.  You can see more in the video.

How did the bees come through the hose?  Apparently very well.   Not a big swarm, but big enough to set up on Jeff's farm.

How did the bees come through the hose? Apparently very well.
Not a big swarm, but big enough to get a start on Jeff’s farm.

The transfer to Jeff's hive took place the following day.  The screened inner box is lifted out to be placed over Jeff's open hive.

The transfer to Jeff’s hive took place the following day. The screened inner box is lifted out to be placed over Jeff’s open hive.  On a quick inspection, no dead bees were found on the bottom of the box.

After removing some frames, the screened inner box is placed over Jeff's (bee-less) hive.

After removing some frames, the screened inner box is placed over Jeff’s (bee-less) hive.

Jeff pulls the bottom out so the bees can enter the hive.

Jeff pulls the bottom out so the bees can enter the hive.

Grass blocks the entrance for a couple of days to discourage absconding.

Grass blocks the entrance for a couple of days to discourage absconding.  A week later, the bees are flying well.

 

 

August 16, 2014...This anemone dahlia serves as a rest stop.

August 16, 2014…This anemone dahlia serves as a rest stop.

Looking over Kathy's dahlias at some of the 2500 kinds that must be whittled down to 100.

Looking over Kathy’s dahlias at some of the 2500 kinds that must be whittled down to 100.

Kathy grows dahlias…lots of them.  Knowing of my interest in bees, she has explained how bees have helped her to grow different kinds of dahlias.  For many years, she hand pollinated the dahlias she wanted to hybridize.  About a year and a half ago, a swarm of bees chose a nearby cedar tree as their future home and started visiting her dahlias.  Kathy says she gets much better results from the bees’ pollination.   She collected the seeds after pollination and grew over 2500 kinds.  Of the 2500, she will select only about 100 that make the grade.  (I’m glad I don’t have to decide, I like them all.)

This is one of 2500 varieties that Kathy grew this year.  She must whittle it down to about 100 keepers.

This is one of 2500 varieties that Kathy grew this year. She must whittle it down to about “100 keepers.”

 

This is known as a giraffe pattern.  Kathy says she is indebted to the bees for this one.

This is known as a giraffe pattern dahlia. Kathy says she is indebted to the bees for their pollination services.  I am intrigued by the variety of styles.

Orchette  Get this from Kathy.

An orchid form dahlia

 

August 16, 2014...Since the bees adopted this tree sometime last year, Kathy has let them pollinate her dahlias.

August 16, 2014…Since the bees adopted this high up cavity in a cedar tree, Kathy has benefited from them pollinating her dahlias.  In the video you can see how high up it is with a steady stream of bees flying in and out.

Is this a keeper or will it go into the compost?

Is this a keeper or will it go into the compost?  Kathy hasn’t decided yet, but she does like what she sees.  It started opening up yesterday and will look different tomorrow, “it’s promising,” she says.

Kathy says she is indebted to the bees for making this one.  She is planning to keep it.

Kathy says she is indebted to the bees for making this one which she is planning to keep.

Sunspot...a mignon dahlia creation that Kathy has let us grow for our bees.

Sunspot…a mignon dahlia creation that Kathy has let us grow for our bees.

 

August 11, 2014...The Tulip Tree is still going strong.

August 11, 2014…The Tulip Tree is still going strong, but is it possible some of the leaves are turning yellow?

According to an article in The Washington Post a long dry spell can cause the Tulip trees to shut down some of their leaves, which makes them turn a bright yellow.  I’m not sure that we are seeing the beginnings of yellow leaves, but we have come through a long dry spell.

I read on the web sites that people love their Tulip Trees, EXCEPT when they rain sap.  “Do not park your cars under a Tulip tree,” and yet I didn’t see much sap on the ground.  Maybe the trees in the Pacific Northwest are better behaved. :)

August 11, 2014...baby leaves are still being produced.

August 11, 2014…baby leaves are still being produced.

 

6 seed against sky

7 smallish leaf

Seed pod

We are going to have to wait at least another month before we see the inside of the seed pod.  This one is still green.

I recently picked up a book by Daniel Chamovitz, “What A Plant Knows.”  In the first chapter he writes, “Plants see if you come near them;  they know when you stand over them.  They even know if you’re wearing a blue or red shirt.”  I wonder if the Tulip tree sees me coming by occasionally to see what’s happening?

 

 

Bee Beard is Back!!!

August 9, 2014, 10:34 am...Waggle dancing takes place.

August 9, 2014, 10:34 am…Waggle dancing takes place.

After reading Honeybee Democracy, by Thomas Seeley, I sort of knew what to expect on swarm behavior.  The scouts would each go out and report back to the swarm.  They would indicate the direction of a possible future hive location by doing a waggle dance in relation to the sun.  Straight up meant “in the direction of the sun,” or angled off from straight up meant that angle direction from the sun.  If the scout bee thinks she’s got a real good location, she will dance more emphatically.  Other scout bees will look the location over, actually measuring the sides, and judging if it’s a good location.  They will report back to the swarm.  This can take several days.  This bee is waggling just a bit.  I wouldn’t call it a real hard sell at this point.

11:15 am...I had been seeing some scout bees around Bee Beard log hive.

11:15 am…I had been seeing some scout bees around Bee Beard log hive.  More now.

Since it got robbed out last month, after several weeks in decline, I made the decision to take Bee Beard out of circulation, sort of retire it, let it rest up til March whereupon, I could introduce a new swarm to it.  I was in the process of dismantling it, when this August swarm took place.  I had to work like a mad man.  My printing deadlines were just going to have to wait.  I hope my customers understand. (Do I have any left?)

I scorched out the inside of the hive, shortened up the quilt box so it fit looser, and melted small bits of comb to the five top bars.  I added new leaves and sawdust to the bottom cavity and new sawdust to the quilt box.  This time I drove a fence post into the ground and fastened it to the log hive to keep the winter winds from toppling it.

August 8, 2014...fence post fastened to Bee Beard log hive.

August 8, 2014…fence post fastened to Bee Beard log hive.

As a natural beekeeper, I was hoping maybe, just maybe, the swarm would choose Bee Beard for their new place.  I mean how much more natural is that?

At 70F (20C) it's a good day for a swarm.

At 70F (20C) it’s a good day for a swarm.

2:20 pm...As luck would have it, (and I do mean luck)  the swarm broke up to relocate to Bee Beard.

2:20 pm…As luck would have it, (and I do mean luck) the swarm broke up to relocate to Bee Beard.  In the video you can  feel the power of thousands of bees swirling around.  I’m afraid I got a little emotional in talking about  it.

2:30 pm...Bee Beard is covered in bees.  In the video you can see the bees crawling upward and circling the mouth before entering the mouth entrance.

2:30 pm…Bee Beard is covered in bees. In the video you can see the bees crawling upward and circling the mouth before entering.

I guess you could say we were ecstatic.  We just stood there in the middle of all that bee energy and talked about it what we were witnessing.

August 10, 2014...The next day was back to business with time out for reconnaissance flights.

August 10, 2014…The next day it was back to business with time out for reconnaissance flights.

August 10, 2014...the day after the swarm, shows the bees on the observation window.  They've got to build their own comb so they are hanging out here for a while.

August 10, 2014…the day after the swarm, shows the bees on the observation window. They’ve got to build their own comb so they are hanging out here for a while.

Bee Beard’s back story.

The swarm’s back story.

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