Posts Tagged ‘bees on Oregon Coast’

February 13, 2014...This bumble bee (bombus Melanopygus, I believe) was sipping honey when we noticed all the mites on her back.

February 13, 2014…This bumble bee (bombus Melanopygus, I believe) was sipping honey when we noticed all the mites on her back.  We would like to try to remove them…Does anyone have any ideas of how to accomplish that?

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July 10, 2013...Spring veggies harvested, soil spaded and leveled, drip watering in place, this bed is ready to plant our winter garden.

July 7, 2013…Spring veggies harvested, soil spaded and leveled, drip watering in place, this bed is ready to plant our winter garden.

When we planted  turnips, lettuce and kale in July for our winter garden little did we know we were planting for the bees as well as ourselves.

July 28, 2013...turnips are growing nicely in the center, lettuce and kale are on the sides.

July 28, 2013…turnips are growing nicely in the center, lettuce and kale are on the sides. Deer netting over pvc hoops.

January 16, 2014...We had eaten most of the turnips and just left a few to go to seed.  We never thought the bees would be enjoying them in mid January.  What a welcome surprise.

January 16, 2014…We had eaten most of the turnips and just left a few to go to seed. We never thought the bees would be enjoying them in mid January. What a welcome surprise.

February 9, 2014...My apologies for posting such a fuzzy picture of a bee on the catkins,but it was rather high up.  I wanted to show where the pollen was coming from that is going into my log hive.

February 9, 2014…My apologies for posting such a fuzzy picture of a bee on the catkins,but it was rather high up. I wanted to show where the pollen was coming from that is going into my log hive.

February 9, 2014...Many colors of pollen entering the hive.  In the video you can see the bright yellow from the turnip flowers.  It's possible this is from the pussy willows that are just starting to blossom

February 9, 2014…Many colors of pollen can be seen entering the hive. In the video you can see the bright yellow pollen from turnip flowers. It’s possible this shot is from the pussy willows that are just starting to blossom.  The darker orange might be from early gorse.

February 10, 2014...Yellow turnip flowers have been flowering since mid January.  Pussy willows are starting to blossom already.

February 10, 2014…Yellow turnip flowers have been flowering since mid January. Pussy willows are starting to blossom already.  Second bed is producing greens for our salads.  We can eat them 15 minutes after they are picked…can’t get much fresher than that.  We cover them with plastic film (partially visible on far side) on nights of sub freezing temps.

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Last year in June, before the deer discovered it, the bees were on the Meadowfoam everyday.

Last year in June, before the deer discovered it, the bees were on the Meadowfoam everyday.

If you’ve ever watched the bees on a Poached Egg Meadowfoam (Limnanthes Douglasii),  you will want to grow some for your bees.    Last year I bought 12 plants from my friendly nursery (101 Plants).  The bees were on them everyday.  Unfortunately, the deer discovered them, and mowed them down.  This year I’m happy to say I found a source for seeds.  I’m buying 1000 seeds for under $5.00 from Outside Pride in Oregon.  With that many seeds, I can scatter them in quite a few areas (fenced in, this time).  The bees will love them and so will I.

aaaaa

Another photo taken shortly before the deer decided to sample it last year.

I was under the mistaken impression that Meadowfoam was grown mostly in Oregon and Northern California, but I see the Royal Horticultural Society in Great Britain has a listing for it as a Poached Egg Plant.

The oil from Limnanthes Alba is valuable…According to Oregon Meadowfoam Growers, meadowfoam oil is 20 times more stable than soybean oil, which means it does not deteriorate as readily when exposed to air. A gallon of meadowfoam oil is worth about $200 retail.

February 2, 2014...the salvia is looking strong.  Footnote...we replaced some bulbs with the full spectrum bulbs this year.  Hoping to lessen the legginess.

February 2, 2014…the salvia is looking strong. Footnote…we replaced some bulbs in the light stand with the full spectrum bulbs this year hoping to lessen the legginess. These look good.

June 28, 2013...Penstemon is a great bumblebee attraction.

June 28, 2013…Penstemon is a great bumblebee attraction.

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June 9, 2013…Honeybees are getting nectar from the Pincushion Flowers (Scabiosa)

Don’t forget the butterflies!

February 3, 2014...received my Butterflyseed package today.  These bright flowers attract honeybees also.

February 3, 2014…received my Butterflyweed seed package today. These bright flowers attract honeybees also.

One of the beekeeping blogs I follow, written by Emma Sarah Tennant, featured a TED talk by Marla Spivak, showing the reasons why bees are disappearing and how we can help them by planting habitat.  We are proud to be a small part of a growing movement to help our wild pollinators.

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January 14, 2013...a beautiful warm day brought the bees out to the heather.  I saw very few honeybees, but very many bombus Melanopygus (this one) and also Bombus vosnesenskii (yellow-faced bumbles)

January 14, 2013…a beautiful warm day brought the bees out to the heather. I saw very few honeybees, but very many bombus Melanopygus (this one) and also Bombus vosnesenskii (yellow-faced bumbles)
Here you can see the pollen release.  When the bee gets the nectar, the pollen shoots out.

Here you can see the pollen release. When the bee gets the nectar, the pollen shoots out.

As she grooms herself with her front legs, you can see what looks to be a static electricity charge on her bee fuzz...shows up better on the video.

As she grooms herself with her front legs, you can see what looks to be a static electricity charge on her bee fuzz…it shows up better on the video.

This short video shows a bumblebee (bombus Melanopygus) sipping nectar from heather in mid January.  As she sips, pollen can be seen shooting out.  Later she grooms herself.  I noticed what looked to be a static electricity charge when her front legs combed her fuzzy head.

I didn’t want to interrupt the music so I added some video of my Bee-atrice log hive which didn’t make it through the sub freezing weather.   I looked at a comb which had some capped honey as well as uncapped cells.  I replaced the comb in the hopes that this hive will attract a swarm in spring.

It should be raining sideways this month.  It’s not.  After our cold snap, we’ve been enjoying daytime temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s F. (10’s and 20’s C)  When I filmed this it was 71 F. (22 C).  Our honeybees love it.  They are bringing back yellow and orange pollen.  I can’t figure where they’re getting it because the pussy willows aren’t blooming yet, but traffic is heavy as can bee seen on the video.

This is my second winter with bees.  They don’t fly when it’s raining of course, but we do get breaks in the rain, the sun pops out and the bees are flying.  I feel bad for the beekeepers that must tuck their charges to bed in the autumn and trust they will emerge when the weather warms up sometimes months later.  I’m talking about people like Emily Heath among others in cold far away places. :-) I guess you could say I’m spoiled to be able to see them active during the winter.   I don’t know what will happen in spring.  It’s possible we’ll get our rain then…given the choice, I’d rather get it now.  In any case the bees are making use of the warm weather.

How are your bees?

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December 27...Bees in Bee Beard Log Hive have found a pollen source late in the year.

December 27…Bees in Bee Beard Log Hive have found a pollen source late in the year.  Natural comb can be seen in the rear.  In the video, the bees can be seen entering the hive and moving downward in front of the comb.

December 27...Warre Hive is being fed with a dry sugar mix consisting of green tea, chamomile tea, nettle leaf extract oil, and a few other little gems.  The sugar was placed on a 2" x 2" frame and positioned between the brood box and the quilt box, then sealed with red tape.

December 27…Warre Hive is being fed with a dry sugar mix consisting of green tea, chamomile tea, nettle leaf extract oil, cane sugar, and a few other little gems. The sugar was placed on a 2″ x 2″ frame and positioned between the brood box and the quilt box, then sealed with red tape.  I’m not real excited about  feeding sugar to the bees.  It’s possible that I won’t do that next year, but that’s what I said last year too.  It’s the only hive that is being fed this year.

December 27...Even this little hive was flying today.  The pink insulation is meant to cut the cold wind, but it still lets the hive breathe through the quilt box on top.

December 27…Even this little hive was flying today. The pink insulation is meant to cut the cold wind, but it still lets the hive breathe through the quilt box on top.

Status of hives one year ago

This short video shows the bees bringing in gobs of orange pollen.

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Oregon Grape-Holly

Oregon Grape-Holly blooming in late November

Most visitors to the post office go to get their mail.  These visitors go to get nectar.  The Oregon Grape Holly is in full bloom, offering nectar and nectar is what they got.  Honeybees, bumblebees, even a couple of green hummingbirds partake in the feast.

What is the importance of nectar?   My Biodiversity Garden states “Nectar is the fuel for our pollinators such as solitary bees, bumblebees, honeybees, butterflies, moths and bats. It is the only source of energy and without it, the pollinators cannot fly. Nectar is secreted by nectaries within the flower.”

According to Dave’s Gardens  Mahonia Aquifolium blooms in mid spring.  This is late November!  The plant is growing against a brick wall, facing south, during an unseasonably dry autumn.  In any case, the wild pollinators love it.

November 24th...This honeybee is getting nectar from an early blooming Oregon Grape Holly

November 24th…This honeybee is getting nectar from an early blooming Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia Aquifolium)

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Some of the bulbs being planted for the bees

Some of the bulbs being planted for the bees.  I was able to purchase these locally from my favorite nursery, 101 Plants and Gifts.

It’s possible that everyone already knows certain bulbs provide an early nectar source for bees.  I might be new to the game because, well, I’ve never really been overly appreciative of growing flowers.  “They take up space and use precious water.”  Being on a shallow well makes you a water miser.  But these grow during the rainy season.  Some can even be planted in the front lawn, not taking up space or using extra water as in the Siberian Squill.  Being a beekeeper has changed my attitude towards flowers.  Now my motto is, ” You can never have too many (bee-loving) flowers.”

Since I recently broke up a new patch of ground for the Towers of Jewel ‘trees’, I have some extra space I can dedicate to bulbs.  Che Guebuddha,  a blogger from Sweden,  mentioned even more bulbs like the white Snow Drops and the yellow Eranthis.  A quick call to find out I can’t get them locally, but I CAN get them from John Scheepers on the east coast.  I order another 150 more.  Looks like I’ll have to break more ground.  As an after thought I wonder if I have to worry about poisons on the bulbs.  Alicia at the customer service desk of John Scheepers, Inc. assures me “there are no sprays, poisons, or toxins associated with these bulbs.”  Good!  They are going in next weekend.

With the addition of bulbs, we'll provide early nectar as well as summer food.

Newly planted “Tower of Jewel ‘trees.  I’m counting on these plants to grow about 10 feet (3 meters) this spring.  With the addition of bulbs, we’ll be able to provide an early nectar source as well as mid summer nourishment for the honeybees and bumblebees.

12-26-13...Persian Blue Alliums are up already.  I don't know if that's a good thing or not!  I'm protecting this patch because the sub freezing temps are bad for the echium...something I didn't think about when I planted the bulbs. :-(

12-26-13…Drumstick Alliums are up already. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not! I’m protecting this patch because the sub freezing temps are bad for the echium (Tower of Jewels)…something I didn’t think about when I planted the bulbs. :-(

February 5, 2014...Grape Hyacinth and 15 Drumstick Allium are up.  Giant Snowdrops just breaking.

February 5, 2014…Grape Hyacinth and 15 Drumstick Allium are up. Giant Snowdrops just breaking.

February 5, 2-14...close up of Grape Hyacinth.  My wife says I planted them too close together.  She might be right.

February 5, 2014…close up of Grape Hyacinth. My wife says I planted them too close together. She might be right.

 

 

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