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wild bee sex

ebodyknows
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Joined: Feb 11 2008

Just a shout out for slowing down and paying attention.  I almost missed the fact that the hills are alive with the sound of wild bee sex...and even when I was sitting there with my camera pointing at it, people who were walking be asked me if I was documenting soil erosion.


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Brian White
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Joined: Jan 26 2005

They were doing it on the clothes on my clothesline yesterday. They weren't going at it like your ones though.  Much more relaxed.

(Orchard masons).Most people think they are flys and squish them.

I am making cob beeblocks this year if you are interested.   (People drill holes in wood for the bees and I thought I would try the same thing with cob).

When it is soft, you do not need to drill at all.

I do know that there are several varietys out there, some needing different size holes  and  housing is always in demand.

Brian

 


Fotheringay-Phipps
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Joined: Aug 26 2008

Hi, Brian, fascinated to see that you use cob for bee blocks. Have you ever constructed anything from cob? I had dreams of building a wall or maybe a garden shed from cob at one point, but then disability and a move from heavy clay to a sand plain intervened. But I like to see others reviving these old techniques.


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004
I'm wondering why it's been a few years since I've seen any butterflies here. All we have are the occasional white moths. Not many bees, either.

ebodyknows
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Joined: Feb 11 2008

Brian, I'd love to see you're design and hear about how it works out.  It's great you're trying to do it all natural.  Some of the plastic designs I've seen that are sold commercially are made so the top and bottom seperate.  I've been told this allows it to be cleaned between seasons and reduces the spread of parasites/disease.  You can probably do something just as effective with cob.

That's interesting Boom Boom, what's growing around the north shore?  I wouldn't expect much large scale agriculture, how about wild flowers?


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

This is bog country, so you have natural bog flowers growing wild, some native to NFLD and Labrador. Lots of daisys and dandelions. I guess the reason there isn't more butterflies is that there isn't much in the way of flowers.


Brian White
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Joined: Jan 26 2005

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=5747372&l=14d821f677&id=736625766 is the first one.   (Experimental stuff takes ages because you make lots of mistakes).

I did concider making it to separate easily but then I concidered that the lines on which it separates might double as migration lines for pathogens and mites!   First things first! Lets see if the bees like it.

In relation to there beeing few butterflys (and bees) , I have a couple of theorys.  One is Bacillus thuringiensis  sprays that you can get at your local garden store to get rid of cabbage white.  Well, bt is a bacterial infection that kills off the grub of the cabbage white butterfly and other grubs too.

(It is like the insect version of antrax)

  And bacterial infections are not like normal insecticide. One bee lands on a flower near your cabbage or drops down on a hot dry day to lick up some moisture and she introduces the infection to her hive up to 5 miles away!  Same with the mason bees and other insects.  The bacillus does not care what type of grub it is killing. It can be a bee grub for all it cares.   And Bacillus is tough and lingers on in the environment too. Bacillus forms spores and thats why you have to autoclave at whatever 15 psi? for about 20 minutes when you are doing microbiology.

Actually I looked up b t on wikipedia and it is pretty clear that monsanto scribes have been busy there.

Brian


Lard Tunderin Jeezus
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Joined: Aug 27 2001

I see very few bumble bees in the city these days - and I don't think I've ever seen wild honey bees. They used to be around when I was growing up in Oakville, just down the highway.

I do see the little green bees regularly though - they really like the sumac that I brought back from up north. Tons of wasps and hornets around. Too many, really.


Spectrum
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Joined: Sep 27 2008


Synopsis

Quote:
Bee Movie is a comedy that will change everything you think you know about bees. Having just graduated from college, a bee by the name of Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) finds himself disillusioned with the prospect of having only one career choice – honey. As he ventures outside of the hive for the first time, he breaks one of the cardinal rules of the bee world and talks to a human, a New York City florist named Vanessa (Renée Zellweger). He is shocked to discover that the humans have been stealing and eating the bees’ honey for centuries, and ultimately realizes that his true calling in life is to set the world right by suing the human race for stealing their precious honey.

 

Quote:
A Biologist Remembers (1967)1 Karl Ritter von Frisc wrote about his life’s work:

The layman may wonder why a biologist is content to devote 50 years of his life to the study of bees and minnows without ever branching out into research on, say, elephants, or at any rate the lice of elephants or the fleas of moles. The answer to any such question must be that every single species of the animal kingdom challenges us with all, or nearly all, the mysteries of life.Frisch, Karl von. 1967. A biologist remembers. Pergamon Press.

I thought since you had a topic about bees, it might be interesting to see some thoughts I had around them as well,  as some research material.

See:

Higgs Field as a Pheromone?

 


 

Honeycomb geometry

Quote:
There are two possible explanations for the reason that honeycomb is composed of hexagons, rather than any other shape. One, given by Jan Brożek, is that the hexagon tiles the plane with minimal surface area. Thus a hexagonal structure uses the least material to create a lattice of cells within a given volume. Another, given by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, is that the shape simply results from the process of individual bees putting cells together: somewhat analogous to the boundary shapes created in a field of soap bubbles. In support of this he notes that queen cells, which are constructed singly, are irregular and lumpy with no apparent attempt at efficiency

 


Marc D. Hauser:

Quote:
We know that that kind of information is encoded in the signal because people in Denmark have created a robotic honey bee that you can plop in the middle of a colony, programmed to dance in a certain way, and the hive members will actually follow the information precisely to that location. Researchers have been able to understand the information processing system to this level, and consequently, can actually transmit it through the robot to other members of the hive.

 


Quote:
Worker bees perform a host of tasks from cleaning the hive cells to looking after the larvae The workers have a variety of tasks to perform – some collect nectar from flowers, others pollen, some are engaged in constructing new combs, or looking after the developing larvae, some perform the duty of cleaning the cells or feeding the larvae on special secretion that they regurgitate from their mouth parts. In these insects the exact task of any individual depends largely on its age, although there is a certain flexibility, depending on the requirements of the hive.

 

 

 

 


Bumblebee Economics with a new preface Bernd Heinrich-

Quote:
In his new preface Bernd Heinrich ranges from Maine to Alaska and north to the Arctic as he summarizes findings from continuing investigations over the past twenty-five years--by him and others--into the wondrous "energy economy" of bumblebees.


ebodyknows
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Joined: Feb 11 2008

Brian White wrote:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=5747372&l=14d821f677&id=736625766 is the first one.   (Experimental stuff takes ages because you make lots of mistakes).

I looked at your images.  The idea is to make it as much like their natural home as possible while providing  a sturdy structure? I think it's great.  As I watched dogs and teenagers walk on top of the bee nests I was wondering how often bees have to dig themselves out of their home.


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

Bumblebee Economics with a new preface Bernd Heinrich looks interesting. I'll see if I can order it.


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001

Every time I see this thread title, I think of Jon Lovitz's "gay bee" skit on SNL way back when.


ebodyknows
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Joined: Feb 11 2008

Everytime I look at it I think What's up with the thrust/antannae twitch pattern?  Is the receiver giving off pheremones to the effect of "oooh, harder, deeper ba-BEE" or what is it that makes him twitch like that?


Spectrum
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Joined: Sep 27 2008
Fanning honeybee exposes Nasonov gland (white-at tip of abdomen) releasing pheromone to entice swarm into an empty hive. Matriarchal societies knew well to apply the perfume to over rule the basier emotions of men? Synthetically produced Nasonov consists of citral and geraniol in a 2:1 ratio...need a better name for the fragrance though. :)

ebodyknows
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Joined: Feb 11 2008

I see that lots.  There is often a bee fanning at the entrance of a hive to let others know they've come to the right place. 

These are not honey bees in the above video and there isn't any sign of fanning.  These wild bee's are fairly independent, each living in their own private hole in the ground, I'm not sure they could classify as a matriarchal society.....

As for the matriarchal Honey bees it'd be a bit of an anthropomorphic stretch to say anyone is ruling in the hive.  There are rather aggressive(anthropomorphically speaking) female bees who's job it is to go around shaking other bees to get them jazzed and pumped to go smell the roses, collect flower dust and the other dandy things bees do.  Which would suggest matriarchal societies know how to apply brute force to make their vision happen as well.


lonewolfbunn
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Joined: Oct 21 2008

Recently on Daily Planet there was a segment on bees.

They said that pesticides are killing them off and the majority of our crops are pollinated by bees - IF THEY DIE, WE DIE...


ebodyknows
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Joined: Feb 11 2008

"oopsie" - is what the people said after they realized they had just walked over the bee burrows.

To say pesticides are killing them off may be true but is only part of the picture.  You have to look at modern agricultural practices as a whole as bringing too many stress factors for bees. Long distance transportation of bees around the US for pollination services, pesticides as well as GMO, Large fields of monocrops, yearly queen replacment.

I believe it's not quite the majority of our food, but yeah even having 1/3 less in the food supply would be devestating.  It's interesting to keep in mind that Honey bees were brought here by Europeans, people lived in North America a long time eating food pollinated by other things. Modern agricultural practices are not making lives easy for the native pollinators either.


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

Very few bees here of any kind, and no butterflies at all - sometimes we see the occasional hummingbird in the flowers, but that's about it, aisde from white moths.   I wish we could import a ton of bees and butterflies to this coast and see how they fare, if at all.


ebodyknows
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Joined: Feb 11 2008

What kind of flowers do you have?  Any coming up yet?


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

I have bulbs starting to emerge through the soil, can't tell which ones yet. Maybe in another week, but we're going to have cold weather and possibly snow in the next few days, so I'm a bit apprehensive as to whether they will survive. I haven't seen any wildflowers in the bush yet - but it's still April, don't usually see any until June.


bagkitty
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Joined: Aug 27 2008

I've already had a couple of white-tailed bumblebees appear... not much up in my yard except Siberian Squill right now. Very seldom see honey bees, but several varities of bumblebees are usually bumping around my yard. There is a species I haven't been able to identify that seems to heartily approve of my annual planting of sunflowers... strangely enough they frequently rest on the flowers overnight rather than returning to hive or burrow.


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

I think I'll put a box over the flowers that are sprouting to try to protect them from the cold and snow that is coming - maybe not necessary?

 


bagkitty
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Joined: Aug 27 2008

Depends what they are Boom Boom, here in Calgary (where there is a debate as to whether we are zone 3 or zone 2) the only thing blooming are the very early bulbs... and they often push themselves up through snow in the first place... they dont need any extra protection - squill, bulb form of iris, crocus and chionodoxia all seem to do okay even when it is minus single digits overnight - and the tulip leaves that are up are very frost resistant... only thing I would worry about is if the snow was heavy enough to crush things... otherwise it is just badly needed moisture. If I recall correctly, you are on the lower north shore.... the zone seems similar to where I am, but a good deal more moisture. A lot depends on how much natural shelter your plants have... whether or not they are exposed to the wind in particular.


lonewolfbunn
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Joined: Oct 21 2008

ebodyknows wrote:

"oopsie" - is what the people said after they realized they had just walked over the bee burrows.

To say pesticides are killing them off may be true but is only part of the picture.  You have to look at modern agricultural practices as a whole as bringing too many stress factors for bees. Long distance transportation of bees around the US for pollination services, pesticides as well as GMO, Large fields of monocrops, yearly queen replacment.

I believe it's not quite the majority of our food, but yeah even having 1/3 less in the food supply would be devestating.  It's interesting to keep in mind that Honey bees were brought here by Europeans, people lived in North America a long time eating food pollinated by other things. Modern agricultural practices are not making lives easy for the native pollinators either.

 

I didn't know that honey bees were introduced into the Americas.  If that's true, it is very reassuring - knowing that food crops of this continent have other means of pollinating themselves.

Of course, decline of bee populations in other parts of the world should concern all conscientious beings regardless of whether it effects them.


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

bagkitty wrote:

Depends what they are Boom Boom, here in Calgary (where there is a debate as to whether we are zone 3 or zone 2)

 

Wow - I always believed Calgary to be in a higher zone because I thought it was much warmer in the summer than here on the Lower North Shore which is zoned 3a, but according to the Plant Hardiness Zones of Canada Calgary is zoned 3b (I decided not to hotlink that zone map because it's a huge file).

 

When I retired on disability in 2002, I chose to remain on the Lower North Shore of Quebec where I have lived since 1995 partly because I have no allergies here, also because I love the people, but mostly because the summer temps rarely (if ever) exceed 80F. I have a very low tolerance for high temperatures; passing through Ottawa and Montreal iin 1994 during a heat wave (Montreal reached 102F!!!) I almost died. Same thing happened to me in Toronto in 1998, but in Toronto it was the humidity that almost did me in. I don't know how folks in the Montreal - Ottawa - Toronto corridor put up with these insane summer temperatures; when I was growing up in Ottawa in the 50s and 60s, I don't recall ever experiencing anything over 85F.  Oh, and by the way, NO ONE on the Lower North Shore has a/c - we don't need it! In fact, many evenings throughout the summer I've had to put my electric heaters on for an hour or so because it gets quite cool.

 

ETA: Here's a comparsion of a random date in  August 2009  weather for our two areas (our nearest weather station is in Natashquan, 40 km from Kegaska):

 

Kegaska:

Minimum Temperature

9.4 °C

 

Mean Temperature

14.8 °C

 

Maximum Temperature

21.4 °C

 

 Calgary:

Minimum Temperature

5.7 °C

 

Mean Temperature

12.9 °C

 

Maximum Temperature

23.4 °C

 

Not much difference - this surprised the hell out of me, because I always imagined Calgary to be much warmer than here! Embarassed

 


lonewolfbunn
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Joined: Oct 21 2008

bagkitty wrote:

Depends what they are Boom Boom, here in Calgary (where there is a debate as to whether we are zone 3 or zone 2) the only thing blooming are the very early bulbs... and they often push themselves up through snow in the first place... they dont need any extra protection - squill, bulb form of iris, crocus and chionodoxia all seem to do okay even when it is minus single digits overnight - and the tulip leaves that are up are very frost resistant... only thing I would worry about is if the snow was heavy enough to crush things... otherwise it is just badly needed moisture. If I recall correctly, you are on the lower north shore.... the zone seems similar to where I am, but a good deal more moisture. A lot depends on how much natural shelter your plants have... whether or not they are exposed to the wind in particular.

 

Whether bees are native to this continent or not (the program on Discovery Channel suggested that) one of the only ways to help them is to plant, plants that are native to the area you live.

Of course not using chemical pesticides also helps.


ebodyknows
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Joined: Feb 11 2008

lonewolfbunn wrote:

I didn't know that honey bees were introduced into the Americas.  If that's true, it is very reassuring - knowing that food crops of this continent have other means of pollinating themselves.

Of course, decline of bee populations in other parts of the world should concern all conscientious beings regardless of whether it effects them.

Most bees used in beekeeping have roots in Italy. However, you can't pollinate tomatoes with honey bees (tomatoes are not Italian). Native bee's will be much better adapted at pollinating native plants...Since NA doesn't really eat like NA did before European contact the decline of honey bees is very relevant to NA's ability to eat.

Searching in both french and english I'm having trouble figuring out the northern limit of wild bees.  I did find one native bee who's is said to exist in sub-artic regions. So maybe they can live on the north shore.  Goldenrod if you don't already have it around is probably a good plant to start with for attracting pollinators later in the season and should grow as far as zone 2.


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

lonewolfbunn wrote:
Whether bees are native to this continent or not (the program on Discovery Channel suggested that) one of the only ways to help them is to plant, plants that are native to the area you live.

That makes sense, but it's also extremely limiting, since many areas of this country don't have much natural variety. Here on the Quebec coast below Labrador, for example, the only native flowers I see are daisies, dandelions and wild roses (and just outside the village there are bog plants, but they need a bog to live in, and there ain't no bogs inside our village).

Every year I order what is called  "seaside mix" and "shade mix" flowers from Veseys, and they grow quite well. The former owners of my house planted Marigolds about 15 years ago, and they are still growing well every year (I've had this house for four years now).


Boom Boom
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ebodyknows wrote:
 Goldenrod if you don't already have it around is probably a good plant to start with for attracting pollinators later in the season and should grow as far as zone 2.

Thanks for the idea. In my earlier post I had completely forgotten about this one - it indeed grows wild in these parts, and I should be able to transplant a few of them in my backyard.


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

Everytime I see this thread title I think of bees partying with sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll.Laughing


bagkitty
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Joined: Aug 27 2008

Boom Boom wrote:

Wow - I always believed Calgary to be in a higher zone because I thought it was much warmer in the summer than here on the Lower North Shore which is zoned 3a, but according to the Plant Hardiness Zones of Canada Calgary is zoned 3b (I decided not to hotlink that zone map because it's a huge file).

Like I said earlier, there is confusion and debate over what zone Calgary should be classified as, I have frequently seen it lumped in as 3A - and there are variables within the city... Personally, I am on the crest of a very high hill, totally exposed to the north (and extremely windy), the leaves from my tulips are only about 3 inches high, while people living in the same co-op whose units are further down the east slope of the hill we are built on already have tulips blooming. That whole "micro-climate" thing coming into play. A big problem here is the number of frost free days... a quick google search came up with this table, but I do have serious doubts about how valid it is.

As to wild bees, there is an excellent site that helps identify the ones found here in Alberta, as I mentioned earlier, I have already seen white tailed bumblebees this year. There was a feral colony of honeybees nesting in a neighbour's deck a couple of years back, but most of what turns up in my yard are various bumbles, and each year I end up finding solitary burrowing bees in the flowerbeds. I get a lot of leaf cutting bees later in the summer. I am not certain if there is an equivalent site for insects of Quebec, but might be worth looking for one. I also ran across an interesting University of Montana site on pollinating insects (and given the geographical proximity, it has quite a bit of relevance here in Calgary). Something to bear in mind if you don't notice a lot of native bees in your area is the wide range of insects that serve as pollinators for native plants (here on the prairies, one of the important ones [for native plants] is the highly unpopular mosquito...).

If you don't mind suggestions on attracting pollinators, there are two plants I would strongly recommend (and trust me, if they do well in my very exposed yard in here in Calgary, I am pretty sure they will do okay regardless of what the lower north shore can toss at them).

The first is commonly called Lamb's Ear in English (stachys byzantina). Although it is normally grown for its foilage, the bees and butterflies find its flowers irresistable... they are crawling all over the blooms in the June and July. Sunny is best (will accept some shade), and they prefer "poor" soil... they actually do poorly in overly-rich soil - they are perennial, non-invasive and extremely drought tolerant - and deer leave them alone (not a concern here in the centre of Calgary, but something people in rural areas might want to consider). I wouldn't try growing it from seed, it is really easy to separate and I would suggest begging, borrowing or stealing a section from someone who already has one - really high success rate from division.

The second is usually called Maltese Cross or Rose Campion in English (lychnis chalcedonica). Clusters of bright red flowers, the plant grows about a metre or metre and a half high, not much horizontal "spread"), will need support if in a windy place, sunny to mixed shade. Again, very popular with bees and butterflies. Needs better soil than Lamb's Ear, and the soild should be both moist and well drained. Short-lived perrenial, it self-seeds and naturalizes... not too aggressively, but you should watch that it doesn't escape into natural areas. Grows easily from seed and does well from division.

I have had good luck with both, and given the zone similarities, I would expect you would too.

 

 


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