Posts Tagged: honey bees
Danger: Poison ahead.
Beekeepers do not like the California Buckeye (Aesculus californica).
Honey bees do, but they shouldn't.
It's poisonous to bees.
The California Buckeye, which grows as either a tree or a shrub 10 to 20 feet tall and can sprawl 30-feet wide, blooms in the spring. its candelabralike clusters of fragrant cream-colored blossoms attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.
About a week after honey bees work the blossoms, however, symptoms of buckeye poisoning appear in the hive.
"Many young larvae die, giving the brood pattern an irregular appearance," according to the booklet, Beekeeping in California, written primarily by a team of UC Davis entomologists and published in 1987 by the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. "The queen's egg-laying rate decreases or stops, or she may lay only drone eggs; after a few weeks, an increasing number of eggs fail to hatch or a majority of young larvae die before they are three days old."
What occurs: "buckeyed bees."
"Some adults emerge with crippled wings or malformed legs and bodies," wrote authors Eric Mussen, Norman Gary, Harry H. Laidlaw Jr., Robbin Thorp and Lee Watkins of the UC Davis bee biology program and Len Foote, then with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
And, of course, with deformed wings, the bees cannot fly.
Buckeye poisoning can result in seriously weakened colonies or colony death. The authors also point out that "foraging bees feeding on buckeye blossoms may have dark, shiny bodies and paralysislike symptoms."
Solution: move the bees away from the buckeyes.
California Buckeye, according to the Sunset Western Garden Book, is "native to dry slopes and canyons below 4000-foot elevation in Coast Ranges and the Sierra foothills."
It is quite common along Pleasants Valley Road in Vacaville (Solano County), Calif. If you cross the picturesque country bridge, the Edward R. Thurber Bridge, you'll see it.
And honey bees foraging among the blossoms.
Edward R. Thurber Bridge
The Campus Buzzway is buzzing with bees.
The quarter-acre wildflower garden, located by the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road at the University of California, Davis, was planted last fall with California golden poppies (the state flower), lupine and coreopsis (tickseed).
This spring it's come alive.
This morning we watched honey bees dive head first in the poppies and roll around like kids in a haymow. The bees emerged coated with fine grains of pollen, much like kids dusted with hayseed.
The Campus Buzzway, a gift from Häagen-Dazs, is situated next to the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden that's a year-around food source for honey bees and other pollinators and a year-around educational experience for visitors. Plans are under way for a Sept. 11th grand opening, complete with speakers, tours and bee-themed hand-outs.
Meanwhile, the Campus Buzzway is picture-perfect with poppies and bees. Or is it bees and poppies?
Heading for Poppy
Rolling in the Pollen
Up, Up and Away
Our catmint is in mint condition.
So is the cat.
The catmint (Nepeta mussinii) is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae or Labiatae). It's a perennial with two-lipped blue or blue-violet flowers that blooms from spring through fall. It grows so well that it can become invasive.
Just like the cat.
As soon as the temperature hits 50 degrees, the honey bees are all over it, poking their heads inside the floral caps as if trying on hats.
And the cat, Xena the Warrior Princess, is right there. She likes to sniff, nibble and rub the catmint.
If she were in a catnip (Nepeta cataria) patch--catnip has whitish-pinkish flowers--she would be rolling in it in a crazy euphoric frenzy.
Although feline reactions differ considerably, the two plants belong to the same mint family.
Plant catnip and cats will roll wildly in it. Plant catmint and it's sniff, nibble and rub.
Bee on Catmint
Like an Acrobat
Cat Sniffing Catmint
Redmaids aren't red.
They're purple-petaled with white centers and yellow stamens.
The California native wildflower (Calandrinia ciliatais) from the purslane family (Portulacaceae) blooms from February through May.
Farmers who grow baby spinach and other crops consider it a weed. Honey bees don't. It's a food source that helps them build up their hives in the spring.
If you ever see a patch of redmaids, you'll surely see bees foraging among the bright blossoms.
There's a patch on Hutchison Drive, near the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis. New World Carniolan bees reared by bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, manager of the Laidlaw facility, can be seen foraging there.
A patch of redmaids and a bee posse.
Field of Redmaids
Covered with Pollen
Honey bees don’t like tulips, right?
You don't plant tulips to attract bees, and you don't attract bees with tulips.
They prefer such bee friendly plants as lavender, salvia, catmint, sedum, cherry laurels and tower of jewels—not to mention fruit, almond and vegetable blossoms.
But last weekend, a lone bee—probably a confused lone bee—buzzed around our tulips in the back yard and then dropped inside to roll in the pollen.
She stayed inside the tulip for about five minutes. When she emerged, a layer of gold dust clung to her.
Bees don't like tulips? This one did!
Bee on Tulip
Rolling in the Pollen