Posts Tagged ‘bumblebees’

It might not be pretty…

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…but it’s pretty effective. This is my Warré hive winter protection from high winds driving copious amounts of rain against my hive. Since October, we have gotten 66.5 inches of rainfall (1689 mm).

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A look through the observation window in December shows lots of natural honey comb.

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I think this bright yellow pollen is from the Hooker Willow which thrives in soggy wet soil along The Oregon Coast.

I’ve been somewhat afraid to write about my bees.  They seem to be doing fine with my efforts to protect them, but I didn’t want to jinx them.  This is the end of February.  The Hooker Willow has started flowering and bees are returning with bright yellow pollen, so I think they will make it.  Also the gorse (Ulex europeaus) is blooming as it always does in February.  The video shows bees on both.

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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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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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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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I asked Kiera O’hara, the composer and pianist of the background music, “Song for Earth Day.”
“I’ve got the melody replaying itself over and over again in my head. Since you wrote it can you describe the background of it? I’m always curious how a person comes up with music, probably because I’m so NOT musical.
There’s that little voice towards the end (at 3:10) that says to me, “But why can’t I?”  or “but what about this?”  It’s definitely a question. That’s how it sounds to me. :-)”

Her reply…

You’ve got it, exactly! That ending was meant to sound tentative–the vulnerability of the earth asking for help, and the question lingering for us humans, will we help?

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This is actually a fly...I didn't know that while I was filming it, but I kept it in the movie so you could see the tongue.  I'm wondering if this inspired 'Alien.'

This is actually a fly…I didn’t know that while I was filming it, but I kept it in the movie so you could see the tongue. I’m wondering if it inspired ‘Alien.’

This is the tail end of the kale flowers.  In April, the bees were so busy on the kale you could hear the happy humming.  In June when I'm finally posting this, the kale has been pulled and hung so the seed pods can dry out.

This is the tail end of the kale flowers. In April, the bees were so busy on the kale you could hear the happy humming. In June when I’m finally posting this, the kale has been pulled and hung so the seed pods can dry out.

We've worked up a flower garden near the bee hives.  This is an Echium which was given to us by Shigeo who was very helpful with his "Big Dog" chainsaw carving out my Bee-atrice log hive.

We’ve worked up a flower garden near the bee hives. This honeybee is working an Echium which was given to us by Shigeo who was very helpful with his “Big Dog” chainsaw carving out my Bee-atrice log hive.

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Echium tree demands attention…and gets it almost exclusively from the bumblebees.

We believe this is an Echium Pininana or Simplex. We bought it last year for the bees. It was supposed to have blue flowers. This one is more white tinted with a bit of red and is called the “Tower of Jewels.”  The bumble bees flock to it. We get all kinds…Bombus Melanopygus, Bombus Californicus, and others.

A lucky shot…press the button on a digital camera, wait an instant before it takes the shot. This one worked out well.

A Bombus Californicus works the Comfrey blossom

I was hoping the echium would throw some volunteers.  I didn't see them at first, but here they are, in my tomato bed.

September 30, 2013  I was hoping the echium tree “Tower of Jewels”  would throw some volunteers.  I wasn’t disappointed.  These will be “Towers” for 2014.

Following up on the transplants.

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