Posts Tagged: Kate Frey
These triple-digit temperatures make us all thirst for water.
Honey bees need water, too.
If you see them taking a sip from your birdbath or taking a dip in your pool, the "sip" means they're collecting water for their hive, and the "dip" could mean they're dying, says retired Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"Like most other animals, the bodies of honey bees are mostly water," he points out. "Thus, they need to drink water routinely as we do. Additionally, water (or sometimes nectar) is critical for diluting the gelatinous food secreted from the head glands of nurse bees, so that the queen, developing larvae, drones, and worker bees can swallow the food. They use water to keep the brood nest area at the proper relative humidity, especially when it gets hot and dry outside the hive. Water droplets, placed within the brood nest area, are evaporated by fanning worker bees and that cools (air conditions) the brood nest area to keep the eggs and developing brood at the critical 94 degrees Fahrenheit required for proper development."
On extremely dry, hot days, all bee foraging except for water will cease, Mussen says. "Under those conditions it has been estimated that the bees may be bringing back nearly a gallon of water a day."
Unlike us, honey bees cannot simply turn on a faucet. "They will fly up to nearly five miles to find a suitable watering source," Mussen says. "Suitable to honey bees might not be suitable to us, but if it is moist, it may be visited. Suitable to the neighbors is a separate question. Honey bees can become quite a nuisance if they visit drippy irrigation lines or hose connections, birdbaths, pet water dishes, swimming pools, fountains, or wet laundry and the like. The water foragers become habituated to those sites. If you try to dissuade the bees by drying up the source for a while, it becomes evident that the bees will visit the site every so often so they'll be around quickly after the water is returned."What to do? "People have tried to use repellents in the water, but the bees are likely to use the odor as an attractant when attempting to relocate the water source," Mussen points out. "Some people have had success keeping bees and wasps out of their swimming pools with very lightweight oils or monomolecular films--their purpose is to prevent mosquitoes from being able to breathe. But, if the water is splashed very much, you'll require a new layer."
And all those bees struggling in your swimming pool? "Not all moribund honey bees in a swimming pool are there because they were trying to get a drink. Every day, approximately 1,000 old honey bees from each colony die naturally. This normally occurs during foraging, and the bees just flutter down to the ground, sidewalk, driveway, parking lot, or whatever they were passing over. Some flutter into swimming pools. They are not dead, yet, so they can and do inflict stings on people who bump into them on the surface of the water. "
Beekeepers should make sure there's a watering source on their property so the bees won't hunt for water elsewhere, Musssen says. It should be available all year around. "Once the bees are habituated to the site, most of them will use that source."
One good thing to know: Bees don't like to get their feet wet. In the Garvey birdbath, we have floating wine corks just for the bees. They can land on a cork to sip water or simply sip from the edge of the birdbath. Besides wine corks, you can also use a stone, a twig or a flat chunk of cork. The Melissa Garden, a privately owned garden in Healdsburg that was designed by internationally distinguished bee garden designer Kate Frey of Hopland, includes a flat floating cork in a fountain. On any given day, you'll see bees claiming it as their own.
Honey bees find water where they can. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A flat floating cork in the fountain of The Melissa Garden, Healdsburg, is great for bees to buzz down and safely take a sip. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
"How to Attract and Maintain Pollinators in Your Garden."
That's the title of a new publication by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) and what a gem this is. It's not only a gem, but it's free. You can download the publication on this site.
"Nearly all ecosystems on earth depend on pollination of flowering plants for their existence and survival; furthermore, from 70 to 75 percent of the world's flowering plants and over one-third of the world's crop species depend on pollination for reproduction," the authors write. "Take a stroll through your neighborhood or a botanical garden or hike in the hills, and experience the shapes and smells of flowers surrounding you. When most people look at a flower, they notice the shape, smell, composition, or structure of the flower, but few take a moment to consider why the blossom appears and smells as it does."
The publication is the work of a nine-member team: UC Berkeley entomologist Gordon Frankie and lab assistants Marissa Ponder (lead author), Mary Schindler, Sara Leon Guerrero, and Jaime Pawelek; international landscape designer Kate Frey; Rachel Elkins, UC Cooperative Extension pomology advisor, Lake and Mendocino counties; Rollin Coville, photographer, UC Berkeley; and Carolyn Shaffer, lab assistant, UC Cooperative Extension, Lake County. Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, helped edit the publication.
The publication asks and answers such questions as:
- What Is Pollination?
- Who Are the Pollinators?`
- Why Should You Care About Pollination?
- How Can You Attract Pollinators to Your Garden?
Other topics include:
- General Design Recommendations for Pollinator Habitat
- Designs to Attract Specific Pollinators
- A List of Pollinator Plants That are Successful in Most California Gardens
- Nesting Resources for Native Bees
Of bees, the authors write: "Bees are the most important biotic agent for the pollination of agricultural crops, horticultural plants, and wildflowers...approximately 4000 species of bees exist in the United States, with 1600 of those residing in California. About 20,000 species have been recorded worldwide."
And, as they succinctly point out, "Native bee species come in a variety of shapes, colors, sizes, and lifestyles that enable them to pollinate a diversity of plant species." One of our favorites is the metallic green sweat bee (Agapostemon texanus).
Last September we enjoyed a tour of Melissa's Garden, Healdsburg, a bee sanctuary owned by Barbara and Jacques Schlumberger and designed by the incredibly talented Kate Frey. “If a honey bee could design a garden, what would it look like?” That's what the Schlumbergers asked Frey back in November of 2007. Although this is a private garden, the Schlumbergers host workshops for schoolchildren, beekeepers and UC Master Gardeners, among other groups. if you ever get the opportunity to tour the garden, you should. A sculpture of Bernard the Beekeeper graces the entrance.
Melissa's Garden is mentioned in the UC ANR Publication, as is the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at UC Davis and the UC Berkeley-Oxford Tract Bee Evaluation Garden. Also check out the UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab website.
A sculpture of Bernard the Beekeeper graces the entrance to Melissa's Garden, Healdsburg. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee foraging in Melissa's Garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A metallic green sweat bee on a seaside daisy. It is one of some 1600 species of bees in California. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
International landscape designer Kate Frey (left) of Hopland and her childhood friend, Rachael Long, Yolo County farm advisor/county director of the UC Cooperative Extension, Woodland on a visit to the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, UC Davis, in September. Behind them is the mosaic ceramic bee sculpture created by Donna Billick, co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)