Sunday, July 3, 2011

Black Raspberry Bloom, 2011 Part 3

As discussed in the two previous posts, our shelters had quite a bit of activity of both Osmia lignaria and Osmia aglaia, especially on the sunny morning of June 17. Meanwhile, Dr. Jim Cane from the USDA ARS Bee Labs in Logan, UT, had introduced quite a few of his O. aglaia in different parts of the berry fields. What was happening in them?

One of Jim's shelters is located in the center of the berry fields, close to our central shelter near the marion berries. When we first checked it out, the bee nests were in cardboard boxes sitting on a stack of pallets with a board as a roof on top. Next to the nests was a new shelter that Don's father built. Don hadn't yet had time to move the nests. We did not see any bee activity at this shelter.

Last year all of Jim's bees were released in the southwest corner of Don's field, next to a large patch of Himalayan blackberry (see last year's posts). They were released in several of Jim's mail tote shelters. This year three mail tote shelters are back, flanked on either side by one of Don's dad's wood shelters. The first photo shows the shelters from the west end looking east, the second photo shows the shelters at the east end looking west. The straws with bees are all in the wood shelters. We saw no O. aglaia activity in these shelters, but we did see a couple of O. lignaria working on nests in the wood shelter in the farthest southeast corner (first photo). As of June 17, the Himalayan blackberry had lots of buds but no bloom.

The last set of shelters is also at the west end of the farm, but further north, across a wide valley full of Himalayan blackberry. There are some commercial berries in this field, as well as Don's Christmas trees. At this site there are two of Don's dad's wooden shelters, as well as a shelter consisting of cardboard boxes on pallets with a roof on top.

Here's the view from the center shelter, looking over the valley that is totally covered in Himalayan blackberry. No one walks into that thicket. Across the valley you can see the power lines where Don's main fields are located. The white line next to a spruce tree to the right of center is the honey bee hives shown in the previous post. These photos were taken on the morning of June 16 when it was still overcast and cold.

This and the next photo were taken on the morning of June 17 when the sun was out, and there was lots of O. aglaia activity in our shelters. However, there was very little activity in Jim's shelters. If there had been, sunning bees would have been visible on the floor of the shelter.

No activity seen in a close up of the emergence box of filled nests on the left, or in the bee boards on the right.

We did see O. lignaria in this third set of shelters. Some of the bees were hiding under the wood shingles of the roof. One is seen in the center of the first photo. Can you see the two in the second photo? They look superficially like flies, but they are O. lignaria. One is on the board on the right, the other seen from the side, between the boards.

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