Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bee Bath

The bees were lovin' this leaky outdoor plumbing when I came across it in one of Pasadena's city parks.

We have an abundance of parks. Abundance is good any time, especially in this time of shortages.

It must take a lot of effort to keep all that plumbing in good shape.

We have a budget shortage, so perhaps that's why the leak hasn't been fixed.

Or maybe no one's noticed.

We have a shortage of water, so maybe I should report it.

Then again, maybe I shouldn't. It pleases the bees, and we also have a shortage of bees. 

For a fanciful and funny take on beekeeping and bees, visit this recent post by Shell Sherree
I just posted a photo of a huge wasps' nest on Overdog.


Shell Sherree said...

Aren't they cutie-pies!! I sure hope the worrying CCD situation is resolved/righted or self-corrects asap.

Petrea said...

Shell, I'm glad you stopped by. You gave me an idea because we were just talking about bees on your blog, so I linked to it in the post.

I agree with you about the CCD situation, by the way. It might help if we all plant bee-attracting things in our gardens. We have a clementine tree they like, and we're adding lavender.

altadenahiker said...

Rosemary -- they love rosemary. And squash blossoms, grewia, apple blossoms, and cat food.

Shell's right -- these guys look downright playful.

Greg Sweet said...

EEEK! Two of the four in the photo are yellow jackets. When I worked at Adams' Pack Station, I continually battled to keep the old plumbing to the water troughs from leaking. Donkeys HATE yellow jackets! I'm not too fond of them either.

Some folks call them "meat bees" because they are carnivorous, but they are actually wasps - much more closely related to ants than to bees.

Try African Blue Basil for the honey bees. It's perennial, about three feet high and as wide, and blooms constantly, even in the winter. It's mostly ornamental, but I have made pesto out of it and it was fine.

TheChieftess said...

I thought there were a couple of yellow jackets in the mix!!!

Petrea said...

Hiker, I didn't know what grewia was so I looked it up. In Wikipedia's photo, there's a bee on it.

Greg, I always thought yellow jackets were something else. But I take it from you. These wasps, or bees, or whatever they were had no interest in me, John or Boz. All they cared about was the water.

Chieftess, I'd say you must be right.

Does anyone know the proper name for the big, fat, fuzzy black bees with yellow stripes?

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Petrea, you can count on Shell to turn something as simple as a bee or a bee-hive into art! Thanks for the link.

This is a great photo with a bee or two suspended in the air.

I found a website that identifies bees and wasps which you might check out.

All bumblebees are in the genus "Bombus" and according to wikapedia there are over 250 species.

We plant to attract bees and hummingbirds.

Bellis said...

I say, leave the leak to leak - let's give back some of the water and land we've taken from all the other animals sharing this planet.

I didn't realize those were yellow jackets, I've been calling them wasps. They're no trouble as long as I leave them alone, or give them a bit of meat to fly away with. Some make clay nests on my house walls, with dead spiders inside to feed the babies when they hatch.

I choose my plants at the nursery by looking for the ones with the most bees on them - they really like the blue basil.

TheChieftess said...

fuzzy black bees with yellow stripes? I think they're bumblebees!!!

Petrea said...

That's a great link, Genie. I'm glad you plant to attract bees. I wonder if we could make a difference if more people did it.

I'm with you, Bellis. And now we have two votes for the blue basil, so I may have to put it on my list.

I was definitely thinking of a bumblebee, Chieftess. Thanks to Genie's link I figured it out. They're the ones folks dress up like at Halloween.

Greg Sweet said...

GEEK ALERT! I happen to have a copy of the comprehensive Insects of the Los Angeles Basin by Charles L. Hogue...

"Familiar to most everyone, may be easily recognized by their large size and dense, furry covering of black and yellow hairs... Equally as characteristic of bumble bees as their size and coloration is their loud buzzing flight, to which the name "bumble" refers; the word comes from the Middle English "bumble", which means to hum. The modern German name for bumble bee is Hummel; in Britain they are sometimes called "Humble Bees"... The females and workers sting severely, but our species, at least, are not easily provoked"... Four species occur sporadically throughout the basin:
Sonoran Bumble Bee
California Bumble Bee
Vosnesenski's Bumble Bee
Crotch's Bumble Bee

Carpenter Bees: "These very large bees are commonly mistaken for bumble bees, to which they are not related. Carpenter bees are solid in color, usually black or steely blue... Carpenter bees are so named because they bore into wood, forming tunnel-like nests for the rearing of the young... In 1989 a female attracted attention by choosing to make her nest in the cross-section of a giant redwood that [was already] on display at the Figueroa Street office of the Southern California Automobile Club."

-K- said...

This is a good a time to mention the healing properties of bee pollen. It's said to contain the richest source of vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, hormones, enzymes and fats, as well as significant amounts of natural antibiotics.

***Not to be taken if you are allergic to bee stings.***

Greg Sweet said...

@ K: Natural honey is a very good wound treatment. There is (I have read) a chemical reaction w/ blood that creates hydrogen peroxide, and because the honey is viscous and sticky, it stays with you like a kind of peroxide patch. I have tried it (because I'm too cheap to buy Neosporin) and it seemed to work well.

Bellis said...

I grew up convinced that bumble bees don't sting, so I frequently rescued them from danger by picking them up with my hands, and they never stung. Please treat them kindly, as there are fewer and fewer of them around.

The honey seller at the Farmer's Market (whose bees gather honey in Little Tujunga Canyon) told me that the beekeeping equipment they use is exactly the same as it was in the 1850s. I find that amazing.

Petrea said...

I'm learning today about bees, honey and wasps, plus I'm getting gardening tips. This is a great blog! Wait--

We visited folks last weekend who had a wasp nest by their back door. They were leaving it alone. It was bigger than a human head. I took photos of it, but since it was outside of California I haven't posted them here. I'll add it to Overdog.

Petrea said...

Giant wasps' nest on Overdog.

mark said...

What a great post. My grandfather and my great grandfather (who is buried in Westminster Memorial Cemeterty) were both beekeepers. Without bees we would cease to exist. I knew right away that those "bees" pictured were not bees. I did enjoy the photo.
ps Honey never spoils. I like bees. But as an ex-house painter I hate wasps.

Vanda said...

My mother, being the animal-centric nut she was, used to make bee watering holes. She filled shallow dishes with water and put pebbles in them so the bees would have safe spots to land.

Petrea said...

We definitely need the bees, mark. Food's gotta get pollenated so we can eat it. Simple.

Vanda, don't give me ideas.

Shell Sherree said...

Oh, you're a honey. ;) Thank you for the link. How fascinating this has all been!

Dina said...

Sweet post.
But so many options, decisions.

Petrea said...

Fascinating for me too, Shell. I'm learning what to plant, for one thing.

Dina, if only we knew the cause.

Susan Campisi said...

Amazing post and comments. The disappearance of bees is so disturbing. It's a crisis that really illustrates how out of balance the natural world is. I wish more people on the planet had the level of consciousness and compassion that this community has.

I'm going to return to this post when I'm ready to grow a garden so I can invite the bees on over.

Petrea said...

Either that, or check with the Hiker about what to plant.