Earwigs here and there…and everywhere!

Earwig is from Old English eár-wicga ‘ear-crawler’ We have LOTS of earwigs! I have them in my beehives, sometimes in my sweater sleeves…and just found one crawling around in the bottom of my purse. When I picked up some wood scraps next to the house a few weeks ago, I noticed an aggregation of them scrambling for new cover. Scratching my head, I pondered whether they live in social groups and hadn’t had a chance to search for any scientific literature about them. Well…that earwig in my purse distracted me from my statistics homework this morning and here’s an article I found. BTW…they don’t really crawl into your ears and eat your brain!


The Confounding Debate Over Lyme Disease in the South | DiscoverMagazine.com

The Confounding Debate Over Lyme Disease in the South | DiscoverMagazine.com.


Yes…Lyme Disease does exist in the South.  Symptoms can be extremely debilitating and while antibiotics can help, sometimes the improvements in health are temporary.   Many people have experienced a relapse or suffer prolonged debilitative effects after treatment.  Research for new therapies to overcome Lyme infections are needed as more and more people are diagnosed.

European Wool-carder bee (Anthidium manicatum) What do you “bee-lieve?”

I found this bee yesterday at the San Juan Island Community Gardens (https://www.facebook.com/pages/San-Juan-Island-Community-Gardens/161100800613137?fref=ts). A friend helped me get it into a container so I could photograph and hopefully identify it. Took me awhile, but I believe it is a Wool Carder Bee (Antidium manicatum). I read a neat blog about how they are associated with the plant called Lamb’s Ear. Females scrape the “wool” off the leaves to line their nest and both sexes sip nectar from the plant’s flowers. Read more about them here… http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/?blogtag=Anthidium+manicatum&blogasset=45538

European Wool-carder bee (Anthidium manicatum)

European Wool-carder bee (Anthidium manicatum)

European Wool-carder bee (Anthidium manicatum)

European Wool-carder bee (Anthidium manicatum)

European Wool-carder bee (Anthidium manicatum)

European Wool-carder bee (Anthidium manicatum)

European Wool Carder bee (Anthidium manicatum)

European Wool Carder bee (Anthidium manicatum)

IMG_9605-European Wool-carder bee (Anthidium manicatum)

European Wool-carder bee (Anthidium manicatum)

IMG_9604-European Wool-carder bee (Anthidium manicatum)

European Wool-carder bee (Anthidium manicatum)

IMG_9603-European Wool-carder bee (Anthidium manicatum)

European Wool-carder bee (Anthidium manicatum)

IMG_9602-European Wool-carder bee (Anthidium manicatum)

European Wool-carder bee (Anthidium manicatum)


Bee Colony Rescue Helps Promote Sustainable Farming on San Juan Island

Bee Colony Rescue Helps Promote Sustainable Farming on San Juan Island.

Her Highness Takes Flight!

Her Highness Takes Flight!.

Hopguard, Honey B Healthy and Yummy Smells of Lemon Balm

June 24, 2012

The sun is out today!  We’ve had almost a whole month of gloomy weather that many on the island have dubbed the month “June-u-ary!”    Perhaps the next few weeks will be warmer and the overcast skies will clear.

Last week when I checked my hive, I noticed I had the dreaded varroa mites.  My new queen is doing fine though and the bees have cleared out all of the old drone brood that was the result of my first queen.  I have no idea what became of her, but the operation in place now looks healthy…except for those mites!

Varroa mite

My day today is a full one.  I have been baking and preparing food for my daughter’s high school graduation potluck supper this evening.  While in the kitchen though, I thought I’d take care of some bee hive tasks as well.   Since the jar of sugar syrup I have inside the hive was looking low, I made up a new batch.  This one I made with a teaspoon of Honey B Healthy, a feeding stimulant that contains essential oils that “helps your hives to thrive!”  Did I mention that the lemongrass oil in it made my kitchen smell ten times better than the brownies I was baking?  No wonder my friend and bee mentor, Colleen, who recommended it, said that it makes the bees go crazy.  This stuff smells so good I’d take a bath in it if I could!  Maybe I’m turning into a bee?  They say you end up looking like your pets.  I suppose I might look like a bee when I get my new glasses!




I also got something called Hopguard from Colleen as well.  Hopguard is a miticide made from organic acids in the hop plant, Humulus lupulus.  It contains 16% potassium salt of hop beta acids and comes in these long gooey strips that are made from food-grade products.  It is safe for my bees and the bee brood, so I don’t have to worry about dangerous chemicals.  All you do is take a sticky strip and hang it over one of your frames draped like this:



I only hung one strip in my hive since I only have about 5 frames that have been drawn out.   I plan to put in a new strip in about ten days, as the one I put in today won’t work as well as it dries out.  You can read more and watch a video about controlling varroa mites with Hopguard when you visit these sites:



I also put a sheet of sticky paper under the screen in my bottom board.  The mites will fall off the bees and stick to the paper.  It has a grid that makes it easier to count the number of mites, so I can see how heavily infested my bees are as well as an idea of how well the Hopguard strips are working.   I will try a quick check perhaps tomorrow and then again before I put in a new strip.


Bee back soon with an update!


Housekeeping, kickboxing and the marionette dance!

Housekeeping, kickboxing and the marionette dance!.

Bee Drama! A Queen Flies the Coop!

Bee Drama! A Queen Flies the Coop!.

Combining the hives! June 4, 2012

Combining the hives! June 4, 2012.

Hummingbird Wars!

I went out on the deck today to relax.  Had one of my beekeeping books in hand, my floppy hat, reading glasses….and do you know what?  I had just gotten comfortable when the warriors buzzed over me all a-twitter.  Flashes of green and red whizzed by, suddenly high, then low, and all of them congregating at my hummingbird feeder.

Now backing up just a little….yesterday they were out of syrup.   So a friend of mine asked me about what I fed them and I’ve read that they need vitamins in their diet.  I’m no bird expert, but I started out feeding them a mix bought at the store.  All I had to do was add water and stir.  It had all the added vitamins but the sugar ingredients were vague.   I am always skeptical of some of these mixes, expecially sweetened mixes, since high fructose corn syrup is laden with chemicals that are unhealthy.  This is on my radar because I keep honey bees (see my honey bee blog at http://www.talesfromthehive.com).  Corn syrup has recently been found to interfere with honey bees’ ability to navigate back to their hive.  They leave home, get confused and end up lost.  Could it do the same thing to the hummingbirds?  Well, I soon switched (out of concern) to making my own syrup from organic cane sugar and water.  No added vitamins, but hopefully no harmful chemicals in the mix.  Yesterday though the vitamin thing got to me and I thought I’d supplement one feeding with the mix to make sure I wasn’t depriving the birds of needed nutrients….

Big mistake!  They turned their beaks up and wouldn’t have a drop.  I thought I could outwait them and maybe they would change their mind.  No such luck!  I found myself putting out my home recipe again this morning and within minutes they were back…all 15 or more of them.  I actually have two feeders outside, but they seem to prefer one over the other….and they fight.  We are talking wars going on.  The chattering and twittering would undoubtedly translate into all kinds of unprintable material!

And me?  Well I never got my reading break.  I went back inside to get my camera.  You can see for yourself they weren’t very nice to each other.  This poor little guy got his feathers pulled.  He was pretty ruffled after that!

Can you say headache?


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