Purple Poppy Pollen

A frame from the video shows the bee covered with purple pollen.

A frame from the video shows the bee covered with purple pollen.

This bee fell from the poppy which was wet from the sprinkler.  I spotted it here before it took off.

This bee fell from the poppy which was wet from the sprinkler. I spotted it here before it took off.

June 19...Unidentified street performers provide the perfect background music for the bee gathering poppy pollen video.

June 19…Unidentified street performers provide the perfect background music for the bee gathering poppy pollen video.

Big Swarm in Escallonia hedge.

Big Swarm in Escallonia hedge.

Another look at the swarm after removing some branches.

Another look at the swarm after removing some branches.

 Using a stick of bamboo, I positioned the Steinkraus-Morse Swarm Catcher as close as I could.  Steve slowly lifted the branch and yanked it down.  Most of the bees fell into the sack, some missed and landed on the white sheet below.


Using a stick of bamboo, I positioned the Steinkraus-Morse Swarm Catcher as close as I could. Steve slowly lifted the branch and yanked it down hard. Most of the bees fell into the sack, some missed and landed on the white sheet below.

That sack was heavy, heavier than any other swarm I've ever caught.  I had to be careful not to crush any bees when I flipped it over into the bucket.

That sack was heavy, heavier than any other swarm I’ve ever caught. I had to be careful not to crush any bees when I flipped it over into the bucket.

First bucket is full.

First bucket is full.

After another catch in the sack, this bucket was full.  The rest of the bees were clinging to the branch, so I tried out my homemade bee vac for the first time...

After another catch in the sack, this second bucket was full. The rest of the bees were clinging to the branch, so I tried out my homemade bee vac for the first time…

Even more bees in the bee vac which I recently built using a vacuum made for a 5 gallon bucket lid.  I used a dimmer switch (as seen to the right of the bucket) so I could adjust the suction to avoid harming the bees.  I'm happy to report that no dead bees were found.  The dimmer switch worked perfectly.  Plans were found at beesource.com .

…which I recently built using a vacuum made for a 5 gallon bucket lid. I used a dimmer switch (as seen to the right of the bucket) so I could adjust the suction to avoid harming the bees. I’m happy to report that no dead bees were found. The dimmer switch worked perfectly. Plans were found at beesource.com .

Judging from the bees gathered on the outside of this bucket, I think it's safe to say, the queen is within.

Judging from the bees gathered on the outside of this bucket, I think it’s safe to say, the queen is within.

Big Swarm has a new home.

Big Swarm has a new home.

June 18, 2015...Steve reports that his 'girls' are doing well.

June 18, 2015…Steve writes, “Just an update, “girls” doing well.  Happy pollinators week!

The above swarm worked out well, but it was only after we abandoned our efforts to try to bag the swarm below.

This was a 'pancake' swarm,' lying on the ground in front of a recently occupied Warre hive.   Are they going in? It looks like it...but they decided not to enter the bait hive.

This was a ‘pancake’ swarm,’ lying on the ground in front of a recently occupied Warre hive.
Are they going in? It looks like it…but they decided against it.

I replaced the bait hive with Steve's Langstroth hive, then tried sweeping them into a dust pan and dropping it into the Lang...not so fast, they break for the Warre hive.

I replaced the bait hive with Steve’s Langstroth hive, then tried sweeping them into a dust pan and dropping it into the Lang…not so fast, they break for the Warre hive.

I figured,

I figured, “okay, they made their choice,” but a couple of hours later, I found them going back to the Lang.

...all grouped up on the SIDE of the hive.

…eventually grouping up on the SIDE of the hive.

Since the swarm had been without water, I provided some sugar water to try to entice them into the Lang.  They would have to go into it to access the sugar water.

Since the swarm had been without water or sustenance for a few days, I provided some sugar water to try to entice them into the Lang. They would have to go into the hive to access the sugar water.  That ought to work…it didn’t.

Then the bees move over here about 5 feet.  I set up some moss water...

A day later, the bees moved over here about 5 feet away. I set up some moss water…

...and an inverted swarm catcher.  I called Steve saying I didn't think he would want this little swarm.  It's possible that it's a cast swarm with a virgin queen that can't fly.  He agreed.    Four days later we get the swarm call for the one in the escallonia hedge.  We both agree we're glad we waited.

…and an inverted swarm catcher. I called Steve saying I didn’t think he would want this little swarm. It’s possible that it’s a cast swarm with a virgin queen that can’t fly.
Four days later we get the swarm call for the one in the escallonia hedge. We both agree we’re glad we waited.

Where else would you see a sign like this?

Long Live the Bees! My daughter sent me this photo as seen on one of her walks in the

Long Live the Bees! My daughter sent me this photo as seen on one of her walks in the “Friendly Street” neighborhood. When I visited Eugene, I made an effort to find out the story of the sign.
The kids who live here attend the school where Jen Hornaday has donated a bee hive as a school project. In learning about bees, the kids have found out about their importance in nature, importance to our food supply, and how important it is to grow gardens in a poison-free environment.
Hence the sign.

Friendly Street, Eugene, Oregon.

Friendly Street, Eugene, Oregon.

In walking through the Friendly Street neighborhood, I noticed quite a few gardens in the front yards.

In walking through the Friendly Street neighborhood, I noticed quite a few gardens in front yards.

This is Scott's garden.  I was particularly impressed by his ambitious poles for pole beans.  I wondered how he would pick the beans at the top.

This is Scott’s garden. I was particularly impressed by his ambitious poles for pole beans. I wonder how he will pick the beans at the top.

Scott had to point out another of his creations.  I asked him what it was...

Scott pointed out another of his creations entitled “Coyote eating garden gnome,” sculpted during a wild creative evening of gin.

The blue flowers are Black Cumin.

The blue flowers are Black Cumin.  Black Cumin seeds are some of the most revered medicinal seeds in history.  Photo Credit to Crow Feather Farm, Eugene, OR.

I wanted to ask the owner of Crow Feather Farm, about the solar panels array, but I was taken by all the flowers and time was short.

I wanted to ask the owner about the solar panels array, but I was taken by all the flowers and time was short.  Photo credit to Crow Feather Farm, Eugene, OR.

I need a sign like this.  Photo credit to Crow Feather Farm, Eugene, OR.

I need a sign like this. Photo credit to Crow Feather Farm, Eugene, OR.

George explained while this is his garden, he shares space with the kids down the street who tend the squash.

George explained while this is his garden, he shares space with the kids down the street who tend the squash.

Carmella's corner lot garden.

Carmella’s corner lot garden.

This one year old is intent on one thing only...getting the sweetness out of the strawberry.

This one year old is intent on one thing only…getting the sweetness out of the strawberry.

This is Jim's front yard.  He apologized for the fence, but he says it keeps the deer out.  I can relate.

This is Jim’s front yard. He apologized for the fence, but he says it keeps the deer out. I can relate.

Where does the Friendly Street go?  To the Friendly Park, of course.

Where does the Friendly Street go? To the Friendly Park, of course, which is how I discovered this lovely neighborhood when my daughter walked us to it.

Playing at the park...You just might see the resemblance on

Playing at the park…You might just see the resemblance on “The Grand Kids Log Hive.”

Other reasons to like Eugene…

…Beyond Toxics is located in Eugene.  Beyond Toxics works to guarantee environmental protections and health for all communities and residents;

Sam Bonds Brewery,  just celebrated the first anniversary of the Tasting Room Opening;

Eugene Bike trails are quite extensive;  and it’s a great place to live.

May 31...The Bee Garden is shaping up after Sue added her brick work.  We like it so much we're going to add more on the other side.   The photo shows just some of the bee-loving plants we're growing...some from seed, some from our favorite nursery.

May 31…The Bee Garden is shaping up after Sue added her brick work. We like it so much we’re going to add more on the other side.
The photo shows just some of the bee-loving plants we’re growing…some from seed, some from our favorite nursery.

I just noticed these ferns practically overgrowing the little Birdhouse Bee hive.

I just noticed these ferns practically overgrowing the little Birdhouse Bee hive.

I successfully trimmed the ferns without getting stung.  The bees probably don't care one way or the other, but it gives me a clear shot with the camera.

I successfully trimmed the ferns without getting stung. The bees probably don’t care one way or the other, but it gives me a clear shot with the camera.

Are these drones?  It almost looks like it.  Drones sometimes mean swarms (before or after)...I'm hoping this is before so I can encourage them into an empty Warre hive with their name on it. :)

Are these drones? It almost looks like it. Drones sometimes mean swarms (before or after)…I’m hoping this is before so I can encourage them into an empty Warre hive with their name on it. :)

May 31...The hugelkulture bed needs a little more work for sure.  This is a 'before' picture.

May 31…The hugelkulture bed needs a little more work for sure. This is a ‘before’ picture.  I’d like to make a little path going past the hive and circling back past the sunflowers I just planted (if the slugs don’t eat them first.

May 21, 2015.....Hal stands proudly next to his log hive #4. The bees voted his hive as their top favorite place and moved in about two weeks ago. How tall is it...? Eight feet tall (2.4 meters) Bee hive capacity is 7524 cubic inches (123 liters)

May 21, 2015…..Hal stands proudly next to his log hive #4.  Bees voted his hive as their top favorite place and moved in about two weeks ago. How tall is it…? Eight feet tall (2.4 meters) Bee hive capacity is 7524 cubic inches (123 liters)

Frames are cut away to be able to see the comb being built through the observation window.

Frames are cut away to be able to see the comb being built through the observation window.

Looking inside the hive during the construction phase, you can see the screen Hal nailed in to let the mites fall down.

Looking inside the hive during the construction phase, you can see the screen Hal nailed in to let the mites fall through.

Bottom board holder slot

Bottom board holder slot

Hal explains the construction of it.

Hal explains the construction of it.

May 18...Comb length after about two weeks 3 days.  Note the mid entrance hole.

May 18…Comb length after about two weeks. Note the mid entrance hole.

May 21...Three days later, the comb is even with the mid entrance hole.

May 21…Three days later, the comb is even with the mid entrance hole.

Log hive #5? Hal already has the wood for it. He will be using cedar this time.  Solarbeez might have to build one too. :)

Log hive #5? Hal already has the wood for it. He will be using cedar this time.
Solarbeez might have to build one too. :)

It's Garden Time...and time for Patti to show off her garden.

It’s Garden Time…and time for Patti to show it to us.

Patti, a young 80 year-old,  built this fountain and pond completely by herself.

Patti, a young 80 year-old, built this fountain and did all the landscaping for the garden.  The surface she’s standing on are old recycled roofing tiles.

Lobelia grows between the steps that lead to the deck.

Lobelia grows between the steps that lead to the deck.

Cosmos is blooming already.

Cosmos are blooming already.

Sedum will provide much needed nectar during August and September.  I'm very grateful to Hal and Patti for alerting me to this wonderful nectar source for my bees.

Sedum will provide much needed nectar during August and September. I’m very grateful to Hal and Patti for alerting me to this wonderful nectar source for my bees.

What do you do with a log hive that has rotted out?  If you're Hal and Patti Strain, you'll make a pretty flower bed out of it.  They've already had some requests to make more.

What do you do with a log hive that has rotted out? If you’re Hal and Patti Strain, you’ll make a pretty flower bed out of it. They’ve already had requests to make more.

I was beginning to think the swarms were not going to materialize.  I thought maybe I wasn't trying hard enough to entice a swarm to look over the log hive.  I decided to step up my game plan.  Kids like honeycomb and I know bees like honeycomb.  I cut off a small piece for each kid.

I was beginning to think the swarms were not going to materialize. I thought maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough to entice a swarm to look over the log hive. I decided to step up my game plan. Kids like honeycomb and I know bees like honeycomb. I cut off a small piece for each kid (after sampling it myself first, of course).

My wife was busy working in the greenhouse.  She could hear the swarm coming from over the trees.  She ran into the print shop to alert me.  I grabbed my camera while they were descending in the area by the log hive.  I groaned…”not another little swarm” as that’s exactly what it looked like.  But that was only the advance party.  As they started landing on the log, more and more of them floated down, landing on the log hive, but waiting to enter.  My wife wondered if the honeycomb was in the way.  Ha ha, I agreed and popped it into my mouth. :)

5-13-15...Big news today:  A ginormous swarm is moving INTO my Grand Kids Log hive today!  I don't know if it was because of the honeycomb or spacious accommodations, but I think this is the swarm I was looking for.

5-13-15…I don’t know if it was because of the honeycomb or the spacious accommodations, but this  swarm came to stay.

It was unclear exactly when this second swarm came along, but it wasn't much later, probably less than half an hour.  It was another big one.  At first I wondered if the first one had decided to back out, but I checked the probe thermometer which showed 76F.

It was unclear exactly when this second swarm came along, but it wasn’t much later, probably less than half an hour. It was another big one. At first I wondered if the first one had decided to back out, but I checked the probe thermometer which showed 76F.

Internal temp at 76F at 5:20 pm.  That means the original hive is in there.

Internal temp at 76F at 5:20 pm. That means the original swarm is still in there.

The next day, the second swarm is still 'hanging out.'  They hung around until about 3:15 pm when I was collecting a big swarm from Bee-atrice log hive.  (When you're hot, you're hot!)

The next day, the second swarm is still ‘hanging out.’ They hung around until about 3:15 pm when I was collecting ANOTHER big swarm, this time from Bee-atrice log hive. (When you’re hot, you’re hot!)

Temperature at 80F (26C).  After they, I spotted wax flakes.  (The bees were all ready to build comb in this hive, I felt bad for them)

Temperature at 80F (26C). After the swarm left at about 3:15 pm, you can see wax flakes.  (The bees were all ready to build comb in this hive, I felt bad for them)

Brian Vorwaller, you did an beautiful job sculpting my grand kids faces on the log.

This video shows the play-by-play of the Grand Entrance of the swarm into the Grand Kids Log Hive

The set up…before bees

Bee Beard Log Hive is BACK!

Many thanks to Jeff Ollerton and HB for giving me the identity of this tree.

It just so happened that at the same time I was trying to identify the tree, we walked by Barbara's house.  She grows many bonsai trees.  We asked her if she knew what the tree was.  "Clearly it's a River Birch," she says, "compare it to my little River Birch on the left."

It just so happened that at the same time I was trying to identify the tree, we walked by Barbara’s house. She grows many bonsai trees. “Clearly it’s a River Birch,” she says, “compare it to my little River Birch on the left.”

This leaf shows a wedge-shaped base typical of the River Birch.

This leaf shows a wedge-shaped base typical of the River Birch.

The weird thing about the leaf is that there are two different shapes.  This one shows a more squarish base.  That really threw me when trying to identify the type of tree.  Both leaves are from the same tree.  Does the age of the leaf determine the shape?

The weird thing about the leaf is that there are two different shapes. This one shows a more squarish base. That really threw me when trying to identify the type of tree. Both leaves are from the same tree. Does the age of the leaf determine the shape?

May 13, 2015...Looking at a bunch of leaves together, we can see various wedge shaped bases...some more acute than others.

May 13, 2015…Looking at a bunch of leaves together, we can see various wedge shaped bases…some more acute than others.

May 13, 2015...Looking upward into the umbrella, you can see the white bark limbs...

May 13, 2015…Looking upward into the umbrella, you can see the white bark limbs…

Cinnamon bark

…but looking at the trunk, you’ll see cinnamon colored bark.

According to Wikipedia, “Betula nigra (black birch, river birch, water birch) is a species of birch native to the Eastern United States from New Hampshire west to southern Minnesota, and south to northern Florida and west to Texas.”

It grows in the East, not the West.  I guess the jury is still out on the type of birch it is.

5-13-15...Big news today:  A ginormous swarm is moving INTO my Grand Kids Log hive today!

5-13-15…Big news today: A ginormous swarm is moving INTO my Grand Kids Log hive today!  Detailed post to follow.

 

 

 

 

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