The worker bees have a tiring and dangerous job laboring from sunrise to sunset with a lifespan of about six weeks. Based on their productivity, periodically additional components called ‘supers’ were added to the hives to ensure their high rise had adequate frames for construction of combs and honey yield. Each super holds ten frames where the bees create mass hexagonal prismatic wax cells to store their honey.
Labor Day weekend the beekeeper was as busy as the bees! As the photos indicate, it was time to harvest the excess honey. The process was as follows: first, the frames were removed; followed by scraping the honeycombs; third, the extraction process took place through centrifugal force in a barrel and the finale -the jars were filled with liquid gold!
Since the harvest, the bees have continued to produce more honey, which is their food source, for the winter months ahead. In October, the bees began receiving an additional sugar syrup supplement along with protein patties. Also, with a hard freeze and bitter cold fast approaching, the hives got a very techie “spaceship” look. They have been cloaked in an aluminum flexiwrap -similar to what is used in outer space - that is ¼” thick and has a R-6 value. Also a vapor board has been placed on the top of each hive along with a one inch styrofoam section on the bottom to ward off drafts. Along with all the protective layers, the thousands of bees in each hive must do their part as well. The “heater bees verses the housekeeping bees” maintain the warmth in the hives by shivering or vibrating their flight muscles, raising their body temperature thus elevating the surrounding air by several degrees. Note, it has been a common practice for some apiarists to transport their bees in the hives to warmer climates over winter, to continue pollination of other crops such as the California almond groves.
It is a fact, nature is not an exact science. However, optimism remains for the honeybees who buzzed around the Gardens on Golden Pond to be the official greeters next Spring in search of tulips and daffodils!
For more information, please refer to wihoney.org; abfnet.org (American Bee Federation) and pollinator.org. Also plan a visit to the new Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Discovery Center at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska next year. It is the first building in a planned “farm to table” campus where the buzz is all about the bees!
“The hum of bees is the voice of the garden.”
2018 Upper Midwest Regional Master Gardener State Conference note highlights from Donna Amidon, MGV
Session: Pollinator Friendly Gardening. Rhonda Fleming Hayes (Author of Pollinator Friendly Gardening: Gardening for Bees, Butterflies and other Pollinators, writer for Star Tribune, Northern Gardener magazine and other publications).
There is a growing body of evidence that supports mixing native and non-native plants in designed landscapes benefits pollinators. Bees do like non-native plants in addition to natives but some cultivars may have less pollen or other changes that are less desirable to pollinators. Bees love flowers with multiple florets for foraging and then they do not have to fly around so much to collect pollen and nectar. Herb gardens can be attractive to pollinators if you let some go to flowering stage. Other beneficial insects also love the flowers.
*Keep “flower buffet” open throughout the whole season for pollinators with a continuous succession of flowering plants.
* There are almost 500 documented species of native bees in Wisconsin.
* Bees are rarely aggressive but yellowjackets and wasps can be aggressive.
* Honey bees are highly social in their hives but native bees tend to be solitary and mostly nest in the ground or cavities in trees or logs.
* Tree pollination: most Midwestern trees are wind pollinated such as elm, oak, ash, birch, maple, and shrubs such as hazelnuts. Some trees and shrubs that have showy flowers in spring can attract pollinators, including red maple, black cherry, American basswood, service berry, dogwood, chokecherry, wild plum, pussy willow, and sumac.
* Suggestions for attracting more pollinators are: leave some bare soil for ground nesting bees in the garden; rather than using wood mulch consider leaving the leaf litter on the ground in fall and consider it “mulch” throughout the year (some bees can nest in the leaf debris); do not cut back stems on all plants in the fall , leaving them up for bees to nest in over the winter and then cut back later in the spring to about 12-15 inches high; have some old logs on the ground in or near the garden for nesting .
Contact information for Heather Holm:
Website is PollinatorsNativePlants.com
New book out: An Identification and Native Plant Foraging Guide
Did you know:
Now showing in the Teaching & Display Garden are the most perfect peonies. The peonies were some of the few non-native plants retained when the Garden was converted to a Monarch Way Station. In bloom now along with the peonies are Baptisia (False Indigo), Aquilegia canadensis (Columbine), Prairie Pholx, Azaleas, and Nepeta Walker’s Low (Catmint). The Baptisia, Aquilegia, and Pholx are all native plants. Bees and several Monarch butterflies were busy at the blooms. It’s an excellent time to make a visit, check out the blooming plants and see the All American Selection displays as they are being planted (#AASWinners). The common expression when people stop by is “Wow”.
The idea of an insectary is that certain plants contain properties that either invite beneficial insects or repel harmful insects. Beneficial insects prey on pests that cause damage in the garden. Ladybugs and praying mantis are good examples of beneficials. Using plants for pest control not only cuts down on your workload, but it also reduces the amount of insecticides that you use in your garden. And fewer insecticides means more good bugs, which in turn means help in controlling bad bugs.
”You deserve a Break Today…” Busy as bees, our Spring routines have begun here in the
Northwoods as we aspire to the challenge of another exciting growing season. Whether your
garden undertaking is large or small, eventually we all feel we’ve extended some muscles
beyond the norm. On occasion, perhaps you like me, have cast aside the importance of
“ergonomic” gardening, only to be reminded of it later when you reach for the Tylenol!
Here’s an idea to interrupt that routine… lay down your rake or hoe, invite a friend and head to
Cable, WI to spend a couple of hours visiting the new “BEE-Amazed...by our Native Friends”
Exhibit at the Natural History Museum. I did just that on May 2 for the Grand Opening and was
warmly welcomed by Emily Stone, Naturalist/Director and Mollie Kreb,Curator Naturalist of the
Museum. Their team of creative volunteers have been designing and constructing this exhibit for
months. I personally believe it should be nominated for the Natural History Academy of Exhibits
Award! Did you know northwest WI is home to 166 species of pollen seeking native bees?
Visitors of all ages will be enlightened with many useful facts and stimulating visuals throughout
the interactive exhibit from the mural tracing a year long bee cycle to “Play Pollinator” at the
pinball machine. Set your GPS and be on your way - you will BEE Amazed!
The Cable Natural History Museum hours are as follows:
Tuesday through Saturday 10 - 4 pm & beginning June 17, Sunday and
Monday 10 - 2 pm. Phone 715.798.3890 www .cablemuseum.org
And another opportunity...As part of the “Save the Pollinators” initiative, the certified Monarch
Way Station, established in 2016 by the North Country Master Gardener Volunteers, is an
outdoor classroom with walking paths among the native flowering plants and shrubbery. This is
a perfect segue to observe the bees and pollinators in action at the Spooner Agricultural
Research Station Teaching and Display Garden, Spooner, WI.
Kay D. Childs, North Country Master Gardener Volunteer
Let us Celebrate Pollinator Week by heading to the plant sale on Saturday, May 19th!
This year the NCMG will be offering a Pollinator Six Pack. A perfect way to get started in celebrating Pollinator Week!
Gov. Scott Walker signed a declaration celebrating Pollinator Week June 18-24, 2018.
Our pollinator plants are growing well and will be ready for your gardens.
Our pollinator six pack features the following..
Blazing Star Liatris
Black eye Susan
New England Asters
You will receive planting instructions and other helpful tips in your pollinator six pack.
See you at the sale!
by: Kay D. Childs, North Country Master Gardener Volunteer
Listen...Close your eyes and listen to Spring!
Since April, our weather has been a bit abnormal with measurable snowfalls and extreme temperature fluctuations. With yet another lesson in patience learned, however, spring is now in full swing, albeit it is mid-May. While Mother Nature still has more shades of green than Crayola, the sounds of Spring are just as provocative and alluring. I have several favorites to share with you...Last evening at dusk driving by a wetland, the peepers were deafening...the high-pitched chirping chattery noises, created by these very small brown frogs, practically drown out the car radio. And an early morning attention getter is the first call of the loon on Golden Pond, an official signal the maestro was ready for the daily symphony to begin. Soon thereafter the sandhill cranes were soaring overhead in search of the perfect nesting shoreline, sending their screeching, snorting, bugling calls over the airwaves. The geese, not to be outdone, are patrolling the shoreline as well, honking boisterously challenging any approaching waddling, quacking ducks looking for a territory to call home.
|North Country MGV||