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Archive for August, 2008

Japanese Knotweed

Posted by blueberrytalk on August 30, 2008

Some beekeepers rely on Japanese Knotweed for a late honey flow. Most of the Knotweed in our area is 1-2 kilometres away along a roadside ditch. The dark honey is so distictive you know exactly what the bees have been into and from time to time a colony will find this source and produce a significant amount of honey. The Japanese Knotweed must be an amazing source of nectar to be able to produce in late summer when the days are short and the weather is not conducive to gathering nectar.

Here is one description of the honey:

Bamboo honey is made from Japanese knotweed, or Polygonum cuspidatum which looks like bamboo, but is unrelated. The knotweeds are related to buckwheat, and the honey, like buckwheat honey, is dark, spicy, and rich in life-giving antioxidants. Bamboo honey is milder and fruitier than buckwheat honey…. Source:http://inmolaraan.blogspot.com/2008/02/bamboo-honey-vanilla-pudding-japanese.html

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed

Bees on Knotweed

Bees on Knotweed

 This plant is so invasive you would never plant it without expecting it to be around forever.

Posted in Honeybees, Japanese Knotweed | 1 Comment »

Abundant pollen

Posted by blueberrytalk on August 30, 2008

Hardy Hibiscus is an example of a plant whose flowers produce lots of pollen. Lately the bees have been coming to the hive with a yellow pollen from a source that is so prolific that bees spill their load when they brush up against the entrance or other bees. The bee in the picture below was so loaded she landed below the hive entrance landing. It’s easy to see how such a big load of pollen can be easily dislodged.

load of pollen

load of pollen

Anise Hyssop, on the other hand, produces so little pollen it’s hard to get a picture of a bee with any pollen at all. In the picture below you can see the small grey pollen load on the bee as it forages in the Anise Hyssop.

Anise Hyssop pollen

Anise Hyssop pollen

Posted in Honeybees, pollen | 1 Comment »

Hardy Hibiscus and bees

Posted by blueberrytalk on August 30, 2008

Hardy Hibiscus starts to bloom in late August just when other foraging sources for bees are starting to fade. It will produce new blossoms every day right through till frost time. The bee in the picture below is gathering nectar at the base of the flower but it can’t help picking up the large pollen grains. The creamy white colour of the Hibiscus pollen is reminiscent of the colour of blueberry pollen.

 

Hary Hibiscus

Hardy Hibiscus

The bee isn’t into the Hibiscus blossom for long before she has to stop and gather up the pollen that is sticking to her body. Notice in the picture below the lineup of buds getting ready to open on a daily basis.

Hibiscus pollen

Hibiscus pollen

Posted in Hardy Hibiscus, Honeybees | Leave a Comment »

Durable Draper blueberry

Posted by blueberrytalk on August 30, 2008

This is the first year to experience the Draper variety of blueberry since it is a new variety. We left some bushes unpicked to see how the berries would survive. In spite of several rainy days the tough Draper skin shows amazing resistance to splitting. After a rain a week ago many ripe Bluecrop berries split making them unsuitable for fresh market. Continuous rain for the last two days has left the Draper in the condition shown in the pictures below.

Draper blueberry

Draper blueberry

  

To see how late these Drapers are see a picture below of some Elliots which have already had a light picking and from the picture you can see they will be picked again soon. (Elliots are a very late berry.) Drapers seem very forgiving as to when they are harvested which is a huge plus for a grower. The thick skin of the Draper should carry lots of antioxidants for such a large berry.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Elliot blueberry

Elliot blueberry

Posted in blueberry, Draper | 2 Comments »

Late show of Dandelion

Posted by blueberrytalk on August 17, 2008

With all the Cat’s ear in bloom it’s hard to notice when the Dandelion makes it’s late season appearance. But in the picture below you can see the unmistakeable single soft stem of the dandelion. The Cat’s ear below the Dandelion points out the differance between the two plants.

  

Dandelion seed

Dandelion seed

Cat's ear

Cat's ear

This indicates, once again, that the Dandelion in bloom is not in competition with the blueberry in bloom.

Posted in Dandelions, late bloom | Leave a Comment »

Mint in full bloom

Posted by blueberrytalk on August 17, 2008

The mint in full bloom is a big draw for honeybees. Bumblebees show little interest in this plant. Side shoots will keep the mint in bloom until frost. This is one plant that seems a must for the beekeeper.

 

mint in bloom

mint in bloom

bees love mint

bees love mint

Posted in Honeybees, Mint | Leave a Comment »

Alsike clover pollen

Posted by blueberrytalk on August 17, 2008

When you look at the Alsike clover blossom, pollen is not visible. It is also not easy to see the faint pink blush of the lower petals. Yet these photos show bees gathering brown pollen from the clover.

Alsike clover

Alsike clover

clover pollen

clover pollen

Posted in Alsike clover, pollen | Leave a Comment »

Dragonfly beauty

Posted by blueberrytalk on August 17, 2008

This has nothing to do with bees or blueberries. The kind of dragonfly that appeared this year was strikingly beautiful. It’s hover and dart behavior is like a helicopter in flight.

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Credit the comment below for the proper identification of this beautiful insect.

Posted in dragonfly | 1 Comment »

Varroa mites and honeybees

Posted by blueberrytalk on August 17, 2008

Mites are the bane of a beekeeper’s existence. The honeybee in the picture below is enjoying the mint flowers. On her back you can see quite a few orange brown oval shaped mites. It’s time to treat the colonies with formic acid otherwise the mites can lead to the destruction of the colony. If you can imagine bees running around with mite wounds then you can easily imagine what an invitation to disease the mites can cause. click on the picture to enlarge.

mites on bee

mites on bee

Bellow is a picture of the Varroa mite from above and bellow. Picture source is the Government of B.C.

Varroa mite

Varroa mite

Posted in Honeybees, Varroa mite | Leave a Comment »

The last of the blackberry blossoms

Posted by blueberrytalk on August 10, 2008

In the first picture there is a Carniolan honeybee in a blackberry blossom. Compare that with the light coloured Italian honeybee in the second photo. Thanks to our expert photographer, in a rare shot we have the two bee strains side by side on the same blackberry blossom.

  

Carniolan honeybee

Carniolan honeybee

italian honeybee

italian honeybee

bee friends

bee friends

Posted in Blackberries, Honeybees | Leave a Comment »