Posts Tagged ‘bees on Oregon Coast’

We planted fennel this year to attract bees and butterflies.  We never saw the butterflies, but we spotted the caterpillars and later on the bees.

August 22, 2014...we started seeing caterpillars on the fennel.

August 22, 2014…we started seeing caterpillars on the fennel.

Caterpillars are voracious eaters.  Michael Marlow has an up close video of one eating a stem.  It doesn't waste any time.  I started noticing my fennel branches were getting bare, then I saw the caterpillars.

Caterpillars are voracious eaters. Michael Marlow has an up close video of one eating a stem. It doesn’t waste any time. I started noticing my fennel branches were getting bare, then I saw the caterpillars.

This is could be one of the earlier stages of growth.  More information about the many stages

This is could be one of the earlier stages of growth. The life cycle of the Black Swallowtail Butterflies can be found here.

Fennel can grow quite tall.  This one is at least 7 ft. tall.

Fennel can grow quite tall. This one is at least 7 ft. tall.  I wonder if the chrysalis will be hidden in the undergrowth.

The honeybees have been visiting the fennel since early September.

The honeybees have been visiting the fennel since early September.  I don’t know what the insect at the top is, but it’s very colorful.  My wife thinks its a Great Golden Digger Wasp.

This shows the color of gathered pollen.

I’m happy the bees like fennel too.

The parsley muncher

 

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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.

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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.

 

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June 8, 2014...Bee-atrice has BEES.  It's been a rough time for her, but I think this one will take.

June 8, 2014…Bee-atrice has BEES. It’s been a rough time for her, but I think this one will take.

June 16, 2014...10th day of bees in Bee-atrice.  I think they will stay this time.

June 16, 2014…10th day of bees in Bee-atrice Log Hive.   I think they will stay this time.

While I was out of town, a huge prime swarm chose Bee-atrice Log Hive for a home.  I knew if we waited long enough, we’d get lucky…I just wish I could have witnessed the swarm moving in.  Bee-atrice was happy.  She had been rejected twice.  I had tried to console her after she had been rejected by two small swarms that I had given her.  I told her that “rejection” might more appropriately be referred to as “redirection.”  Those small swarms would not have made it anyway.  I told her that she just had to be patient until the right swarm came along.

April 27, 2014...Pat drops the little cast swarm into Bee-atrice.  They stay a total of two days, then take off to parts unknown.

April 27, 2014…I drop the little cast swarm into Bee-atrice log hive. They stay a total of two days, then take off for parts unknown.

May 25, 2014...A second chance presents itself, in the form of a swarm in the apple tree.  I get the swarm bucket ready.

May 25, 2014…A second chance presents itself, in the form of a swarm in the apple tree.   I bag it and drop it into Bee-atrice.  I thought for sure it would stay, but after 8 days, it took off for the Asian Pear tree.  I started thinking something was wrong with Bee-atrice…then it dawned on me…maybe I was the problem.  Maybe I should just back off and let nature take it’s course…thirteen days later (while I’m away), a huge swarm picks out Bee-atrice.   She later tells me, SHE rejected those little swarms, not the other way around.  I guess she didn’t want to hurt my feelings.

June 9. 2014...lots of bee traffic at the entrance.

June 9. 2014…lots of bee traffic at the entrance.

June 10, 2014...This is the first time I've ever seen 94 degrees register on the thermometer.  This is the optimal temperature for brood.

June 10, 2014…This is the first time I’ve ever seen 94F degrees (34C) register on the thermometer. This is the optimal temperature for brood.  Three days ago it read 60 degrees (the ambient temperature)

June 9, 2014...the bees can be seen through the observation window.  If they stay, we'll be able to watch the comb building process.

June 9, 2014…the bees can be seen through the observation window.  If they stay, we’ll be able to watch the comb building process.

June 16, 2014...10th day, natural comb can be seen already, through the top side entrance.

June 16, 2014…10th day, natural comb can be seen already, through the top side entrance.

June 19, 2014...Day 13, this is where the bees hang out at night while they are waiting for the comb to be built.

June 19, 2014…Day 13, this is where the bees hang out at night while they are waiting for the comb to be built.

June 19, 2014...In this slightly out of focus shot, you can see how far the bees have built the natural comb...almost to the top of the observation window...a length of about 14 inches (35 cm).

June 19, 2014…Day 13, in this slightly out of focus shot, you can see how far the bees have built the natural comb…almost to the top of the observation window…a length of about 14 inches (35 cm).

Drones dropping down every time I uncover the observation window…

The carving of Bee-atrice.

Getting her ready for a swarm last year.

Bee-atrice’s debut

A Bonnet for Bee-atrice

 

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May 29, 2014...At one time there were five bees in here.  By the time I grabbed the camera they had all left the scene.

May 29, 2014…My wife said there were five bees on this earlier, but when I grabbed the camera, I only caught one bee.

May 28, 2014...The New Zealand Cabbage trees are blooming.  Our bees love it.

May 28, 2014…My neighbor’s  New Zealand Cabbage trees are blooming. I’m glad it’s on someone else’s property because there is a strong odor associated with it.  Our bees love it.

May 28, 2014...New Zealand Cabbage has been blooming awhile.  There is  a strong odor that attracts the bees as they are numerous.

May 28, 2014…New Zealand Cabbage has been blooming awhile.  Our bees are all over it, all day.

May 27, 2014...A skipper is probing the depths for nectar.  In the video, you can see it try several spots before finally succeeding.  The bees love this plant as well.

May 27, 2014…A skipper is probing the depths of this Pink Chintz Thyme for nectar. In the video, you can see it try several spots before finally succeeding. The bees love this plant as well.

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May 11, 2014...This little nuc hive survived the winter without any help from me.  No sugar feeding or pollen paddies. (Tough love)

May 11, 2014…This little nuc hive survived the winter in a tree without any help from me. No sugar feeding or pollen paddies supplied. (Tough love) No honey was taken.  It came from a swarm on April 18, 2013.  Now it’s ready to swarm.

Bees revving it up to make their move

Bees revving it up to make their move

Ten minutes later, the bees appear to be headed back into the hive.

Ten minutes later, the bees appear to be headed back into the hive.  Later in the day, all was quiet.

May 19, 2014 (8 days later)...A swarm starts to form in the bamboo.   Could this be two swarms from the same hive?

May 19, 2014 (8 days later)…A swarm starts to form in the bamboo.
Could this be two swarms from the same hive?

May 19, 2014...While the swarm is forming on the bamboo, bees are fanning at entrance to tree hive.

May 19, 2014…While the swarm is forming on the bamboo, bees are fanning at the entrance to the tree hive.

By late afternoon, all the bees returned to the tree hive.

May 20, 2014 (next day)...A small swarm in the blackberries...

May 20, 2014 (next day)…A small swarm in the blackberries…

...and a small swarm in the bamboo.

…and a small swarm in the bamboo.

Again, a small group of bees are fanning at the entrance, while other bees are flying around the two swarms.

Again, a small group of bees are fanning at the entrance to the tree hive, while other bees are flying around the two swarms.

Could it be that the queen can’t/won’t fly?  It came from a swarm, so I know it’s wings haven’t been clipped.  I guess I’ll find out in the next few days what is going on, but if a more experienced beekeeper wants to hazard a guess, I’d be curious.

In looking back at where this swarm originated from…from my log hive, on April 18, 2013.  The swarm picked this patch of bamboo to settle in.

May 21...I checked to see if the swarm was still in the bamboo this morning.  It was.

May 21…I checked to see if the swarm was still in the bamboo this morning. It was.

A closer look reveals that while small, this swarm might be big enough to make it.

A closer look reveals that while small, this swarm might be big enough to make it.  I called Bob to see if he still was interested in getting  swarms for his Kenyan Top Bar Hives.  He was.

Bob bags his first swarm.

Bob bags his first swarm.  Bee Beard Log Hive looks on, as patient and quiet as ever.

Bob said he was interested in getting the blackberry swarm too.  It went very well.  Here the bees are fanning to indicate the queen is within.

Bob said he was interested in getting the blackberry swarm too. It went very well. Here the bees are fanning to indicate the queen is within.

Bob was patient when I asked him to pose with the blackberry swarm in bucket...hey, I've got to bid them 'goodbye.'

Bob gets his second swarm.  “Two in one day,” not bad for a new beekeeper!

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…that’s when she called me.

May 1, 2014 Mid afternoon...Photo by Mary Schamehorn.  I'm glad Mary got a shot of this.  When I got there, they were relatively peaceful.

May 1, 2014 mid afternoon…Photo by Mary Schamehorn. I’m glad Mary got a shot of this. When I got there, they were relatively peaceful.

4:38 pm...By the time I got there, the bees had settled in.

4:38 pm…By the time I got there, the bees had settled within the birdhouse.  I looked at it, determined I could remove it from the post, and got my tools together.  Ha ha, the screws were rusty I couldn’t get them to budge before stripping them out.  I had to remove the post too.

I placed the birdhouse next to the newly assembled and baited  Warre hive.   I was hoping the bees would recognize a 4 star lodge with ample room to grow.

I placed it  next to the newly assembled and baited Warre hive in my bee garden.  I was hoping the bees would recognize a 4 star lodging with ample room to grow…they didn’t.  I gave them plenty of time to reconsider, but they weren’t having it.  I couldn’t leave them there, like that.  I didn’t want to grind the brackets off or pry the birdhouse floor off because it would have been too stressful.  “Dramatic and traumatic” are words I like to avoid in beekeeping.

Okay, I’ve got to move the birdhouse out of the bee garden because, well, we’ve got to be able to weed and water without the bees buzzing us.  After two days, I pre-dug a post hole, waited til night and ‘posted’ the birdhouse among the ferns about 20 feet away.  (Something most beekeepers would tell you NOT to do because the bees might not be able to find their way back to the hive.)  I stuffed tissue paper into the entrance hole so the bees would notice something was different.  They would have to make orientation flights all over again.  I’m thinking that maybe the Warre was too close to the birdhouse…if I move it away, maybe they will want it more.  My wife said I was crazy to think that.  I says, ‘maybe,’ but we’ve got to get it out of the way.

 

Next day, the birdhouse/hive is in it's new location.  The bees are aware something is different because of the tissue paper stuffed in the entrance hole.

Next day, the birdhouse/hive is in it’s new location. The bees are aware something is different because of the tissue paper stuffed in the entrance hole.

 

As I wife bicycled to town, I noticed a bunch of activity between the birdhouse and the Warre hive.  I got my camera to document my findings...I was going to have it on camera so I could show my wife I knew what I was doing.

As my wife bicycled to town, I noticed a bunch of activity between the birdhouse and the Warre hive. I got my camera to document my findings…I was going to have it on camera so I could show her I knew what I was doing.  They are fanning from the nasonov gland to indicate the queen is within.  Wow, that didn’t take long.  My wife is going to have to admit I was right, but I’ll be humble and admit it’s just a stroke of luck.  But it was too good to be true.  By the time she returned the crowd at the entrance was thinning and the bees rejected this hive once again.

 

Here is where they will stay.  It's the house they chose and while the location has changed a few times, the house is the same.

Here is where they will stay. It’s the house they chose and while the location has changed a few times, the house is the same.  I just wish I could have fastened it to a taller post.

Mary's bees have settled in now.  They have discovered the Poached egg meadowfoam.

Mary’s bees have settled in now. They have discovered the Poached egg meadowfoam.

Mary's bee cleaning off her antennae.  How do I know they are Mary's bees?  The abdomen colors are different.  I'm happy to get new genetics in my bee yard.

Mary’s bee cleaning off her antennae. How do I know they are Mary’s bees? The abdomen colors are different. I’m happy to get new genetics in my bee yard.

Mayor Mary’s side of the story…   (Scroll towards the bottom til you see the birdhouse swarm)

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