Tag Archives: bee

Enjoy National Pollinators Week!

June 20, 2016

The morning was hot and getting hotter, so at a recent pollinator workshop (June 4 at 21 Acres) we nan bumble crop WP_20160619_13_59_16_Protook an early field tour, observing various bees, nest holes for ants (flat) v. bees (ringed by excavation “dust”), and some of the experimental plantings underway. We spent the rest of the day viewing slides and learning about bee identification, ecology and conservation methods.

Much of the information from the Xerces Society and King Conservation District (workshop sponsors) can be scaled to yards and small holdings like Freeway Estates.

Conserving the Bumblebees says, “Bumblebees need three types of habitat . . . plants on which to forage for pollen and nectar, nesting sites, and places to overwinter.” (It doesn’t mention the presence of water, which surprised me. I later learned that only honeybees need additional water; natives get the moisture they need from foraging.)

Here are some of the other things I learned:

For bees in general, the best environment is a mosaic of “structurally different vegetation”;
mowing patterns need to be varied with some unmowed patches remaining. In preparation for adding native pollinator plants, some folks clear weed seeds by burning. These areas should never comprise more than a third of the native-species area, and they need to be adjacent to refuge patches.

Ground-nesting bees need swatches of bare or scarcely vegetated ground.

151004 Klock leafcutter bee IMG_4215Commercial flower breeding has increased petal complexity and decreased pollen content. Simple, single-flowered and flat-faced forbs feed various bees, which have different lengths of tongue. Heirloom varieties are sturdiest and take the least care. Lots of common, popular garden flowers and trees, however, also offer good nectar sources throughout the seasons.

It was especially rewarding to meet fellow participants and discuss their personal and institutional projects.

Sun, Jul 17, 10-12, Work Party
Tues, Aug 2, 6-8:30, Seattle Night Out Potluck – all welcome
Sat, Aug 20, 10-11, QiGong
Sun, Aug 21, 10-12, Work Party

To find seasonal charts, bee identification and commentary, try:

  • Conserving Bumble Bees: Guidelines for Creating and Managing Habitat for America’s Declining Pollinators, The Xerces Society. This thin 8½” x 11” booklet has excellent analyses, charts, photos and instructions. (It’s national in scope, but you can skinny it up by saving just the general pages and those applicable to the Pacific NW.)
  • Establishing Pollinator Meadows from Seed, the Xerces Society, an 8½”x11”, 11-page pamphlet.
  • Tunnel Nests for Native Bees: Nest Construction and Management, an 8½” x 11”, 4-page invertebrate conservation fact sheet, the Xerces Society.
  • pollinator.org/PDFs/Guides/PacificLowlandrx9FINAL.pdf. This downloadable, 24-page pdf loads quickly and is worth keeping.
  • Attracting Pollinators to Your Garden Using Native Plants. This 9-page pamphlet, hand-illustrated in double-page-spread format, is from Lolo National Forest (in Montana), U.S. Forest Service. Its scope is national. Download it from www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/documents/attractingpollinatorsV5.pdf.

The Xerces website is comprehensive. Their western regional address is 628 NE Broadway, Ste. 200, Portland OR 97232; phone 855-232-6639; www.xerces.org. The King Conservation District is at 1107 SW Grady Way, Ste. 130, Renton WA 98057; phone 425-282-1900; www.kingcd.org.

Jennifer

The Harvest Is Early And Long

October 14, 2015

Much of the fruit we grow matured about three weeks early this year. We enjoyed honeyberry, 151013 chestnut close w tree leaf DSCN1000blueberry, raspberry, pears, apples, figs, chestnuts. Yes, chestnuts! This is out first year of fully pollinated chestnuts. (When the female flower was receptive, our Maraval was hand pollinated from a tree about a half mile away.)

The coddling moths must have found greener pastures because our William’s Pride and Liberty, the only apple trees with much of a yield this year, were nearly free of bug damage.

15109 Heritage rasp sm WP_20151009_003The harvest continued, right through our 5th Annual Cider Fest, due to warm fall temperatures. Raspberries (Heritage everbearing), strawberries (Glooscap), and figs are still ripening.

Congratulations to our outstanding Cider Fest volunteers. Well over 150 people enjoyed our October 4 event. Ingela’s cider making took center stage but we also enjoyed live music, hula hooping, beanbag 151004 hula hoop 21766578809_437e88739e_otoss, silent auction of beautiful hand made items from Janet S and pies suitable for varied diets.

We could not have a Cider Fest without apple donations. Sue Hartman from Tilth and Barb Burrill from CityFruit picked apples at other locations until their shoulders were sore. We pressed nearly 500 apples.

A special thanks to those who volunteered from beginning to end – Max, Liz, Sue, Ingela, Janet, and Nancy M! We appreciate others who also helped out and/or donated pies – Michele, Nancy H, Melody, Joan, Renee, Jen K, Robert & Teri and Jennifer K.

Visitors complimented us on recent orchard improvements and six new people signed up to volunteer! We welcomed fruit lovers from other parts of town who were participating in CityFruit’s OrchardTour_BingoCard cropped halfOrchard and Harvest Tour. CityFruit sent out an invitation to the public, inviting all to visit 16 different public orchards. Participants were easily noticed, busily filling in Bingo cards. Players could get 18 of 25 possible search items stamped from our orchard alone! One search item was, “Something that doesn’t belong in an orchard”. Nancy M helped out the Bingo players by bringing a can of beans.

While most were indulging in warm apple cider, Jen K, a friend of the orchard, was confirming the increasing biodiversity of this 12,500 square foot space. She took a fine photo of a leafcutter bee on a calendula flower. (Note the pollen is carried 151004 Klock leafcutter bee IMG_4215on the belly.)

We are creating even more infrastructure this fall and winder. Let us know if you can help with the new garden beds. We are racing to move dirt into the beds before the weeds take over.

Ruth