Blueberrytalk's Weblog

Everything connected to growing blueberries

Archive for May, 2010

Alsike clover starts blooming

Posted by blueberrytalk on May 30, 2010

After a couple of weeks of clover bloom the bumblebees and honeybees are taking note. The clover makes for a great staple diet for the bees right through until the fall frosts.

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Worker bumblebees take over.

Posted by blueberrytalk on May 27, 2010

I walked down a row of Elliott blueberry bushes (over 100 plants). There was at least one worker bumblebee for every bush. Some blueberry plants had 2, 3 or more worker bumblebees at work. I encountered less than 5 honeybees.

worker bumblebee

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Late rhododendrons and bumblebees

Posted by blueberrytalk on May 27, 2010

The rhododendrons have been blooming since March but now that worker bumblebees are out foraging the rhododendrons are abuzz with bumblebees. Some honeybees are on the rhodies looking for pollen.

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Mason bees cast their vote.

Posted by blueberrytalk on May 22, 2010

The mason bees have selected the kind of nest they prefer. The top nest is a solid block of wood with kraft paper liners in each hole (about 80% filled). The bottom nests are layers of wood that are screwed together (about 15% filled). Click on the picture to enlarge for a better view.

Mason bee nests

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Thornless blackberries beckon bees.

Posted by blueberrytalk on May 22, 2010

The thornless blackberries are a huge attraction for honeybees. Their blossoming this year comes when most of the fruit is set on the Dukes and Bluecrop as well as earlier varieties. The Draper and Elliot still need pollination but the growing population of bumblees are getting the pollination done.

 

Thornless blackberry

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On the bee menu today: Viburnum & Holly

Posted by blueberrytalk on May 13, 2010

Honeybee and Viburnum on the left. Mason bee and Holly on the right.

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When the buzzing stops

Posted by blueberrytalk on May 6, 2010

As I go up and down the blueberry rows applying fertilizer, I make a mental note of the number of times I get “buzzed” by queen bumblebees. Over the last week the amount of buzzing has decreased. The means that the queens are retreating to their nests to spend the rest of their lives laying and incubating bumblebee eggs. The queen only does this when she has raised up some worker bumblebees to do the foraging for the colony. Worker bumblebees don’t “buzz” like the queens they just focus on their foraging. Now the number of bumblebees in the field will grow every day as the bumblebee colony rapidly expands.

Later blooming varieties like Elliot and Draper have just started to blossom so these varieties can really benefit from an exploding population of bumblebees.

worker bumblebee

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Mason bee nests

Posted by blueberrytalk on May 6, 2010

This is still early in the pollination cycle. Some Mason bees have already filled a nest tube

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Mountain Ash (Rowan tree)

Posted by blueberrytalk on May 5, 2010

The Mountain Ash attracts a lot of bees right when the blueberries are in bloom. The way the bees scramble over the flowers indicates they are after pollen rather than nectar. The Mountain Ash is reputed to be a source of nectar as well as pollen but I haven’t seen any bees going after nectar. 

Mountain Ash flowers

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A use for farm wood waste

Posted by blueberrytalk on May 4, 2010

Can value be added to farm wood waste? We have been watching the evolution of wood gasifiers that can produce heat and biochar. Biochar is a beneficial soil amendment. This gasifier represents the state of the art. 

For source and information read here:http://worldstove.com/about-2/why-pyrolytic-stoves/

blueberry branches

wood gasifier

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