Posts Tagged ‘pollinators’

5455 Poppies, 6-1-17

Poppies are open.

5494 Painted Lady on D.Ninebark, 6-5-17

A Painted Lady adorns a Diablo Ninebark.

5321 Three pink echium towers, 5-22-17.JPG++++

Three pink echium spires made it through the winter.

Scabiosa

Scabiosa (Pin Cushion Flower) is ready to entertain bees and butterflies.

5698 First Gazania, 6-18-17

Mid June, the first Gazania, grown from seed, finally opens up.

5778 Oranges and blues, 6-23-17

Buttons and poppies.

5759 Sue's CA poppies, 6-23-17

More California Poppies

5625 Carmen poses, 6-13-17

Carmen poses on the comfortably warm metal table. (Might be time for a catnap)

5730 Sue plants 3rd set of cabbages, 6-18-17JPG

Sue plants 3rd set of cabbages.

5586 Mustard still flowering, Warré hive, 6-10-17

We let these mustard greens flower for the bees. They will come out in another week or so.

5456 Mulched potato vines today, 6-1-17

Potatoes are looking good.

5738 Solar oven, beans done, 6-18-17

A hot day calls for some solar baked beans. My favorite recipe is white beans with Fakin-Bakin Tempeh, and mustard greens.

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2830B Mason bee on Meadowfoam, 4-20-16 copy

Late April, for the first time ever, I start seeing Mason bees in the Meadowfoam.

3260 Mason bees + Guidance Mandala, 5-29-16

My sister is a watercolor artist. She gave me her Guidance Mandala because she knows I like bees. I realize Mason bees don’t fly too far from home, but bees need all the help they can get, so I hung it here near the Mason bee nesting blocks.

3257 Guidance Mandala, 5-29-16

A closer look at the Guidance Mandala. When Vikki paints a mandala she never knows where it will take her. During one of our weekly phone conversations she was inspired to add a circle of bees.

2503 Mason bees set up, 3-6-16, detailed

I set up the nesting blocks on March 6. Then I waited a good three weeks to see any activity. The cocoons had been in the refrigerator since October. You don’t want them emerging too soon because there won’t be enough to eat (or so I have read), but I always hold my breath hoping after five months of ‘chilling,’ they will emerge.

2587 Mason bee, long antenna-male 3-29-16 copy

Finally on March 28, I see a bee. This must be a male. Males have long antenna. They usually emerge first because they are laid last in the tubes (being expendable.) Predators will be able to reach them easily. 😦

2582 Mason bees emerging, 3-28-16 copy

I see them slowly ‘waking up.’ This could be a female. The antennae look shorter.

26 Mason bee tubes filled so far copy

May 19…I start to fill pretty smug. 26 tubes filled already…until I come across this post of Rusty Burlew (of Honeybeesuite) in Washington state.

mason-bee-housing

Rusty says one of these cans will fill up in about three days. I count the number of straws to realize there are close to 100 straws in each can. Either there are more Mason bees in her area or they like the straws in cans better. I’m gonna try this method next year. Photo reprinted with permission from Rusty Burlew.

3147A German wasp on nesting block copy

When I first saw this wasp go into a Mason bee nesting tube I was afraid it would start digging into the tubes. I asked Steve, of “In a beekeeper’s Garden” about this. His reply, “Your wasp is or has all the markings of a vespula germanica (german wasp) which lives in all the northern hemisphere, they are a social wasp so live in nests. they are great pest controllers eating caterpillars , insects and the odd bee (usually weak ones ) they won’t break into your bee tubes :)” In the video, I watch the German Wasp patrolling my garden. I watch until the wasp decides I haven’t gotten video permission from her and chases me away. 🙂

3274A Mason wasp? copy

I think this is a resting Potter Wasp. I’m not sure what it’s up to. While I was grabbing my camera it poked into the tube and then emerged for it’s camera debut.

3290 Plum tree loaded, 6-4-16JPG

Want some plums? It looks like the Mason bees have been busy. My Methley trees are loaded with plums. Here are some recipes from Glory Garden.

3260A Mason bees, late May

It’s late May…I haven’t seen any activity for awhile which probably means the Mason bees are finished pollinating for this year. The cocoons are in a very delicate stage right now. I’ll be storing them in a cool inside room to protect them from yellow jackets. In September or October, I’ll remove the tubes from the blocks to store in the frig until next March. (Maybe I’ll have some new housing by then.)

More about Mason bees

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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.

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November 5, 2014...On an unusually warm November day, I spotted these hebes growing in front of Bill Sweet Insurance Agency.  The bees were loving it.

November 5, 2014…On an unusually warm November day, I spotted these hebes growing in front of Bill Sweet Insurance Agency. The bees were loving it.  Thanks, Bill.

While the east coast is getting hammered by the polar vortex cold weather, the west coast is enjoying warm sunny days into early November. At this time of year there are very few sources of nectar, so it’s good that the honeybees are getting  a lot from the hebes.  Nectar provides an important energy source (carbohydrate) for the bees.

Many thanks to Steve Montana who has let me use his musical talents as background to the video.  “GaelaMae On The Bluffs” was written by Steve and the banjo music was written by Buell Kasey back in the late 1800’s.  Watch Steve Montana play banjo at the beginning of Sustainable World.  Click on “Soldier’s Joy.”

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Many thanks to Steve Montana for permission to use his music.

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January 15, 2014  I mentioned the mites this hive and what I was going to do about it..."NOTHING!" (...hoping the bees would know what to do)

January 15, 2014…I noticed a bunch of varroa mites on the bottom board.  What was I going to do about it?  “NOTHING!” (I was hoping the bees would know what to do)

A pile of dead bees that had been dumped out of the hive sometime earlier. This picture was taken from a video I shot in April. The dead bees had been there for a while, but I just couldn't bring myself to photograph them. Too depressing.  It's possible these are all drones with deformed wing virus. I wish I had looked closer and examined them.   I guess I should be happy that the other bees cleaned them out.

A pile of dead bees that had been dumped out of the hive sometime earlier. This picture was taken from a video I shot in April. The dead bees had been there for a while, but I just couldn’t bring myself to photograph them. Too depressing. It’s possible these are all drones with deformed wing virus. I wish I had looked closer and examined them. I guess I should be happy that the other bees cleaned them out of the hive.  It shows there are healthy bees that are cleaning up.

April 18, 2014...Box #3 is almost full, I'd better add a 4th box, which is what I did.

April 18, 2014…Box #3 is almost full, I’d better add a 4th box, which is what I did, but that was before the hive started to swarm.  Compare the numbers to May 20th below.

 May 10, 2014...The second swarm that came out of Warre2 in less than two weeks.  I was able to transfer this swarm into a third Warre hive which is doing fine as of this date.

May 10, 2014…The second swarm that came out of Warre2 in less than two weeks. I was able to transfer this swarm into a third Warre hive which is doing fine as of this date. (I just noticed some evidence of DWV bees being evicted in October ’14.)

May 20...Elvis has left the building.  10 days after the second swarm, there's only a few bees left in this the third box.

May 20…Ten days after the second swarm, there’s only a few bees left in this the third box.

June 11...There's been a small group of bees milling around the entrance for weeks.

June 11…There’s been a small group of bees milling around the entrance for weeks.   They don’t seem to have any ambition.  Are they sick?  Maybe.

July 14...Even fewer bees in July.  That means (to me) only one thing.  This hive is going nowhere.  It's all over except for the robbing.

July 14…Even fewer bees in July. That means (to me) only one thing. This hive is going nowhere. It’s all over except for the robbing.

July 14...this is a shot at the middle box showing very few bees.  I'm just waiting for the robbing to start, but after tilting the hive, I realize there's really no honey to rob.

July 14…this is a shot at the middle box showing very few bees. I’m just waiting for the robbing to start, but after tilting the hive, I realize there’s really no honey to rob.

I’ve seen a hive get robbed.  It isn’t pretty.  Once it starts there’s no stopping it.  If it did get robbed, I was planning to take the new comb, freeze it (in case of wax moths), and save for future bait hives.

July and August came and went.  No robbing took place.  A swarm from my log hive presented itself on August 6.  I contemplated combining it with this weak hive, but in the end, that swarm went into Bee Beard log hive of it’s own accord.

September 20...It's possible there are a few more bees showing.

September 20…It’s possible there are a few more bees showing in this top box.

September 20...There are definitely more bees here.

September 20…There are definitely more bees here in the middle box than in the July 14 view.  The hive is building back up.

September 28...the activity around the hive has picked up dramatically.  No more milling about.  Bees are bringing in pollen.

September 28…the activity around the hive has picked up dramatically. No more milling about. Bees are bringing in pollen.

Could this mean the hive has come back?  Could it be that by taking this long brood break, the hive has reduced the varroa mite population naturally and now has started building up it’s numbers again?

 

A look through the observation windows in the back of the hive shows the top box full of empty comb, the middle box being full of bees and comb, and the bottom box with bees and old comb.  The question is…why aren’t the bees working the empty comb in the top box?

A short video showing how fast the honeycomb built up.  Luckily we are having an Indian summer into October.  I’m athinking I won’t have to feed this hive this year as our winters are fairly mild and they have honey stores now.

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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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