Posts Tagged: Honey bee
One of TV's popular programs is "Dancing with Stars." The reality show pairs celebrities with professional ballroom dancers in a competition to win the mirror-ball trophy.
But have you ever seen honey bees working the Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas)? The bees seem to be dancing the Flamenco, partnering with the purple spiked blossoms.
We took these photos last weekend at the Loch Lomond Marina in San Rafael. The flowers swayed in the gentle breeze as the bees went about their work.
The bees won't win any mirror-ball trophy but they will score food for their colony.
They're the real celebrities!
Honey bee greets a Spanish lavender blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee nectaring Spanish lavender. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of honey bee partnering with a blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
If you haven't made it over to the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis, yet this year, you should.
The trees that form "Orchard Alley" are blooming. You'll see almonds and plums flowering, and soon, apples.
Really spectacular are the delicate plum blossoms. Look closely and you'll see the honey bees with heavy pollen loads weaving in and out of the branches.
The haven is a half-acre bee friendly garden located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. The Sacramento Bee just named it one of the Top 10 gardens to visit in Sacramento/Yolo County.
Wrote garden editor Debbie Arrington: "Local gardeners don't have to go far to find inspiration. Our region is dotted with memorable public gardens that offer beauty and food for thought along with relaxation. A stroll through any of these destinations may turn up a new favorite shrub or eye-catching flower. In these gardens, you can see firsthand how thousands of plants have adapted to our climate and often low-water conditions. Best of all: Admission is free."
No. 1 on the list? The UC Davis Arboretum. In fact, of the 10 gardens listed, two are located at UC Davis!
Honey bee foraging on plum blossoms. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Pollen-packing honey bee heading home. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
People aren't the only ones favoring fava beans.
Fava beans growing in a raised bed in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis, are attracting honey bees, European paper wasps, lacewings, ladybugs, aphids and carpenter bees.
We saw all six insects on a trip to the haven last Friday.
While the honey bees and carpenter bees gathered nectar, the European paper wasps, lacewings and the ladybugs searched for prey. The ladybugs were also searching for mates.
The half-acre bee friendly garden, located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, west of the central campus, is open year around from dawn to dusk. Admission is free. Visitors can conduct their own self-guided tours by following the signs and reading the plant labels. Groups that want a guided tour (the cost is $4 per person) can contact Christine Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, life is good in the fava beans.
A lady beetle, aka ladybug, prowling on a fava bean leaf. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
European paper wasp on the hunt. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee foraging on a fava bean blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Female Valley carpenter bee robbing nectar by slitting the corolla. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bees can't get enough of the New Zealand tea tree, which, as its name implies, is a native of New Zealand.
Our favorite New Zealand tea tree is Leptospermum scoparium keatleyi. It's the tallest and rangiest variety of the Leptospermum scopariums--that's one of the reasons we like it. The other reason, the main reason, is that it bears our family name. New Zealand sea skipper/horticulturist Capt. Edward John "Ted" Keatley (1875-1962) discovered it and named the variety "keatleyi."
According to the Maritime Museum in Wellington, New Zealand, Capt. Keatley once commanded 28 of the Northern Steam Ship Company's vessels. He also was considered an authority on the flora of the Auckland province.
In June 1961, the Royal Horticulture Society awarded Capt. Keatley the "Award of Merit" for his discovery of the keatleyi, or "royal pink manuka."
Bees that visit Leptospermum scoparium produce a special honey called "manuka honey," prized for its health benefits, including its antibacterial and antifungal properties.
We prize the blossoms for their sheer beauty and the prevalence of bees.
Honey bee on a New Zealand tea tree, Leptospermum scoparium keatleyi. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of New Zealand tea tree blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
'Tis the season for the return of the insects.
Many a honey bee foraged in the flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) last weekend. But wait, what's that? A spotted cucumber beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata) tucked inside a blossom.
Spotted cucumber beetles, which overwinter as adults, are major agricultural pests. The beetle is so named because of its preference for cucumbers (cucurbits), but just about anything will do before, during and after the cucumber crop. True, it gravitates toward other members of the cucurbits family, including squashes, gourds, pumpkins and melons, but it also goes after beans, peas, corn, potatoes, beets, tomatoes, eggplants, cabbage, and assorted ornamentals, such as roses and dahlias.
The yellowish-green beetle with black spots may look pretty tucked inside a flowering quince, but looks are deceiving.
Spotted cucumber beetle inside flowering quince blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee inside flowering quince blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)