Autumn Foragers

09/21/2011

 
Fall has definitely shown it's face.  We've been dipping into the upper 30's at night.  The days, however, are still climbing into the 80's.  This makes it tough to manage the hive.  I'm tempted to shut up the bottom board to keep them warm at night, but I don't want to them to over heat in the day time.  So far I've let them tough it out, but I'm anticipating closing them up soon.
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The bees are busy, though.  They have been working some wild flowers, such as this chicory.  The small blue flowers show up in the mornings and the bees gather a white pollen from them.  By noon, the flowers are completely gone, having shriveled up in the mid-day heat. 

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The bees aren't alone out there.  These little guys are common too.  They are flies (syrphid flies) and they mimic the coloration of bees.  You can typically find them hovering, seemingly motionless, over the ground.

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The sunflowers are finally out too.  While the bees ignored them initially, they are on them now, perhaps because other things are sparse.

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The bees get covered in pollen when they walk around on the flower heads (actually a large collection of numerous small flowers).

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Here too, they have company.  The bee on the left is a leaf cutter bee.  These guys are the ones that leave little circles cut out of your rose leaves.  They use the material for nesting.  They are also raised commercially as pollinators.  Unlike honey bees (on the right), leaf cutter bees collect their pollen on hairs under their bellies.

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Of course, the always present bumble bees are there too.

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And these bright colored bees.  This is a halictid bee, which can be iridescent like this (usually green).  Many people refer to them as flying jewels.

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So, while I'm busy getting ready for winter, the girls are at it too.  They have a bit of honey here on this comb, under the capped cells.

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Well, there is some R&R too :-)  I picked up a "must have" toy called a clock jack.  It is essentially a wind up rotisserie.  A bit of fun over a make-shift fire pit and a few beers.  Cooking a pork roast with blackberry glaze here.  Speaking of cooking, we have a new blog on that topic up in the menu above.  Drop by and check it out!

 


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