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Wheaton Labs: Janet's POV

 
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Location: Missoula, MT
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My first two weeks at Wheaton Labs has flown by! So far Fred and Rob have taught me about some wild edibles and medicinals. Erica gave me a 1:1 lesson in rocket stove technology and I've gotten to chat with Paul and Jocelyn almost daily! Can't get enough of the scenery, the growies and well...everything!

My favorite flower here just happens to be called a Shooting Star - Dodecatheon cusickii. (You don't know this yet, but I'm an Astrophile.)







 
master pollinator
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Scenic!
 
steward
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Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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I love shooting stars!

Thanks for sharing the pictures.
 
Janet Branson
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Emerged from this inviting trail at dusk to a collective buzz. The bees are back!

There has been some debate as to whether or not the bees were stealing last year's honey or if they had actually moved into the hive as a forever home.
Based on 2 observations, some bees had a shedding exoskeleton and others were larger and shinier, plus they were all entering the hive from two separate holes at sunset. No bees were leaving the hive. It seemed like rush hour to get home before sunset.
I hypothesize these bees are multiple generations and are therefore home-sweet-home.
I don't know much about bees and welcome others opinions.

As it was getting dark my pics don't reveal too many clues though.

 
Janet Branson
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Location: Missoula, MT
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Learning new plants every day. Added Miner's lettuce to my list of wild edibles! Food-focused gardens can't neglect flowers for the the bees. Polyculture isn't just companion planting, it's holistic planting that feeds the critters that feed us.
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Julia Winter
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That comfrey is gorgeous! Love the photos - thanks!
 
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Hi Janet-

Thanks for sharing the pics. If you see some bees coming into the hive with yellow pollen on their legs then you'll know that they are living there. If none of them have pollen, then they're probably robbing the hive. Below is a photo of one of my bees with pollen on its legs (pollen sacs) that it harvested from a ceanothus. The pollen is a protein source for the bees and is used to feed brood.
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Janet Branson
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Thanks Julia, that is a very helpful tip! Jacob Wustner was here and confirmed they were indeed robber bees. He also brought a new colony and we set up another hive.
 
Julia Winter
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Actually, the tip was from Luke!

Anyway, I'm glad to hear you have a new colony of bees. It's cool to watch the foragers return with their loads of pollen, because it comes in different colors. Bees tend to forage from one species at a time, so what they bring back is all pale yellow, or all bright orange, or some other color. . .
 
Janet Branson
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Julia, the colors of pollen is something I've never observed before! Thank you! I am certainly going to look now. : )
 
Janet Branson
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Been a busy bee!
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Janet Branson
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More bee porn! And a paper wasp...
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Julia Winter
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I missed the paper wasp. . . I see three bee pictures, maybe the 4th one didn't go through?
 
The permaculture playing cards make great stocking stuffers: http://richsoil.com/cards
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