Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sunny days at last - Berry bees are active!

Black raspberry in bloom on Sturm Berry Farm, 5/28/12, 8:47am

This first image from our webcam shows the black raspberry in full bloom on Monday, May 28.  At 8:42am it was only 52oF and the bees were not yet active.  It was overcast, so the shadows were subdued and the white clusters of blossoms stand out from the leaves.  On sunny days the blossoms are hard to distinguish.
By 2:30pm the temperature was up to 65oF with some sun, and O. lignaria were active.  
 At 5:50pm on Monday I watched the blossoms for 5 minutes and counted 3 visitors based on dots that appeared and disappeared from the blossoms, but I couldn't tell if they were honeybees, sweat bees, blue orchard bees, or something else. The webcam is too far from the raspberries to distinguish species of small bees.  I think large bumblebees would be distinguishable, but I did not see them. 

Rosie made changes in the bee shelter today
Until today there has been very little activity of Osmia aglaia.   From past experience I figure that the temperature has been too cold (mostly in the 60s), and that the adults may have been emerging but haven't yet left the emergence containers.  But today seems to be warmer, up to 70oF at 2pm.  Rosie apparently came out this morning and opened the emergence containers so the O. aglaia would warm faster and start flying.  When I noticed the change at 2pm, the O. aglaia were very active.  You can see several metalic green bees in the containers, and one sunning next to the container on the left.  I also noticed quite a few faces at tunnel entrances in the Binderboard.  Hopefully they will get to work pollinating the black raspberry very soon. 
Berry bee emergence containers opened to warm the bees

Rosie also removed the O. lignaria emergence containers (they finished emergence several weeks ago) and added an empty Binderboard with large diameter tunnels on top of the first two, because the first two O. lignaria Binderboard are close to full.  Today I count 85 out of 98 tunnels plugged in the middle, "KS" Binderboard (the one that was on top until today), and 69 plugged tunnels in the bottom Binderboard.  There are quite a few of the small diameter tunnels plugged with mud as well. 

An O. lignaria female checks out an empty Binderboard.

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