Category: bees

Native Bee Conservation resources

Click here to download my full Powerpoint presentation in PDF format.

Organizations

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is an international non-profit organization that protects wild life through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat.

Pollinator Partnership is a 501(c)3 organization and the largest in the world dedicated exclusively to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems.

Pollinator Restoration Project: Central Oregon Coast is the citizen group helping to restore the pollinator habitat of the Highway 101 corridor from Yachats to Newport.

Blossomwood Farmstead is our local Yachats native bee sanctuary.

Books

The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees by Joseph S. Wilson

Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide (Princeton Field Guides) by Paul H. Williams, Robbin W. Thorpe, Leif L. Richardson, and Sheila R. Colla

Nectar and Pollen Plants of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest: An Illustrated Dictionary of Plants Used by Honey Bees by D. M. Burgett, L. D. Johnston, B. A. Stringer

Victory Gardens for Bees: A DIY Guide to Saving the Bees by Lori Weidenhammer

100 Plants to Feed the Bees: Provide a Healthy Habitat to Help Pollinators Thrive by the Xerces Society

Attracting Native Pollinators: The Xerces Society Guide to Conserving North American Bees and Butterflies and Their Habitat by the Xerces Society

A Buzz in the Meadow: The Natural History of a French Farm by Dave Goulson

A Sting in the Tale: My Adventures with Bumblebees by Dave Goulson

Helpful PDF

Bumble Bees of the Western United States from the Forest Service

Help track bumble bees

Bumble Bee Watch

Report native bee sightings (and other species) in the Cape Perpetua area

iNaturalist Cape Perpetua bioblitz

 

leafcutter bees!

We received our shipment of leafcutter bees today!

Leafcutter bees are solitary bees and great pollinators. Want to know more? Check out this page.

I bought these from Crownbees.com.

When I first opened the package, I saw the pheromone that is used to entice the bees to stay nearby. I set up the house and sprayed it on the nest tubes.

Next… the bag of cocoons, some of which had already hatched out!

I opened the bag and installed it above the nesting material. One little girl came out to say hi.

Here’s the view of the bee house, right on the edge of our garden — facing South to catch as many sun rays as possible.

June blooms!

What is blooming for pollinators at Blossomwood Farmstead in June? Here’s a huge list, though I may have missed some!

Bird’s foot trefoil. Lotus corniculatus. Origin: Eurasia and Northern Africa. Often used in wildflower seed packets. Invasive weed in North America. Bumbles love it!

Borage. Borago officinalis. Origin: Europe. Edible herb. I’ve heard that it releases new nectar every 45 minutes!

Blackberry. Rubus. If I remember correctly, this is our native, crawling blackberry plant. We also have invasive Armenian Blackberry. The bees love both!

Climbing rose. Rosa multiflora. Orgin: Asia. Planted in the US originally for soil conservation, it is now considered invasive. Although I am not happy it is climbing our trees, the bees absolutely adore it!

Clover. Trifolium sp. Naturalized, originally from Eurasia. Usually classified as a weed when it occurs in grass, bees love clover! (There’s a bumble right in the center of this image below.)

Dandelion. Taraxacum. Actually, this is a false dandelion, (Hypochaeris radicata) but we have both blooming in June! Origin: Europe. Naturalized. Commonly regarded as weeds, loved by bees.

Daphne. Daphne. Depending on species, native to Europe, Asia, or North Africa. Very fragrant!

Foxglove. Digitalis. European origin, but naturalized here very thoroughly. I’ve seen bumblebees visit foxglove, but not super often on our Farmstead.

Lavendar. Lavandula. Origin: Europe.

Red hot poker. Kniphofia. Origin: Africa. Favored by bees and humming birds.

Thimbleberry. Rubus parviflorus. Native! Delicious wild raspberries later in the season.

Queen Anne’s Lace. Also known as wild carrot. Daucus carota. Origin: Eurasia. Naturalized in the US.

Rose. Rosa. (We have a few different varities.) According to Wikipedia, “Most species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, and northwestern Africa.” Many cultivars are not visited by pollinators a great deal compared to other great bee plants, but sometimes they are for sure.

Penstemon. Penstemon. Native to North America and Eurasia. Favored by humming birds.

Sage. Salvia officinalis. European. Kitchen herb and favorite of pollinators.

Snowbell. Styrax japonicus. Japanese origin. Loaded with pollinators and very fragrant!

Wild lilac. Ceanothus. Native! One of my favorites, and the bees too!

Yarrow. Achillea millefolium. Origin: Eurasia. The first photo is a cultivar, the second is a naturalized common yarrow with white blooms. I see flies on these more than bees — flies are pollinators too!

Yellow flag iris. Iris pseudacorus. Origin: Eurasia. Considered invasive. Pollinated by bumble bees and long-tongued flies. (I haven’t ever personally witnessed a visit by a bumble bee, but there are ants below.)

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Bee Sanctuary Garden Guest House

Now you can stay at Blossomwood Farmstead! Our guest house is up on Airbnb. It sleeps two, so it’s the perfect get-a-way.

Here is inside the guest house.

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Your view from the porch.

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The river!

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Official description:

This is a small guest house on a 42 acre farm property on Yachats River Rd. We are seven miles from the beach and town of Yachats. Our farm is called Blossomwood Farmstead. It is truly a retreat.

The guest house has one bedroom, one bathroom, and living room space with kitchenette. Enjoy relaxing on the front porch!

This farm is a bee sanctuary, which means that we use organic methods when possible and do not use pesticides. We will be continuously adding forage to support pollinators.

Click here to see the listing on Airbnb!

National Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture

I was fortunate to attend this conference over the past few days. It was incredibly heartening to meet so many women who are committed to sustainability in farming. As a very beginner farmer myself, I felt inspired by those that have been working in agriculture for decades. I came away with some great information and wanted so share some highlights!

Nostrana – I was already familiar with this delicious restaurant as a customer, but it was delightful to hear Chef Cathy Whims speak at the capstone lunch about her history with the Farm to Table movement.

Leaping Lamb Farms – Seems like a great farm stay in Alsea, Or. The owner Scottie Jones is also the founder of Farm Stays US, which is an incredible resource. She also mentioned a great reservation platform for websites, called ResNexus.

North Fork – Another farm stay, this one is directed by a woman named Ginger Edwards in Nahalem, Or.

Pacific Women’s Herbal Conference – A gathering of women in the Cascadia foothills to learn about plants and medicine. Lead by Eversong Evans, a gardener and herbalist in Monroe, Washington.

Emerge – Leadership training for women who would like to hold office.

Fox and Bear – Woman owned Portland Farm.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition – Our voice in Washington D.C. for the sustainable food movement. Made up of over a hundred member organizations.

Out Here – Documentary about Queer Farmers.

Zia Queen Bees – New Mexico apiary that focuses on the rearing of queens with natural longevity. Business is co-owned by Melanie Kirby.

Recommended books: Soil Sisters, The Color of Food, Broad Influence, and Sowing Seeds of Victory.

pollinator garden

We put a small pollinator garden in at Blossomwood Farmstead this weekend!

Here’s the hill before, with our chosen perennials placed where we wanted to plant them. We wanted things that would be relatively self-sufficient and not need a lot of watering once established. We planted penstemon, pincushion flower, red hot poker, yarrow, breadseed poppy, cosmos, valerian, and lavender. There was already ceanothus, a yellow red hot poker, and rose cambion.

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Getting all the grass and weeds out was the most labor intensive part. It looked like a bit of a mess during the process.

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Here it is with all the sod gone, ready to be planted, before the mulch.

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Here it is all finished!

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It looks a bit sparse now, but there is room for everything to grow and fill in. Can’t wait to see it in a couple years. We have already seen quite a number of bumble bees, humming birds, two butterfly species, and some small native bees as well. It’s amazing how fast they all find new flowers.

Goodwill bee swarm

I took a swarm call today! It was a small one, but they seemed healthy and lively. They had landed on top of a van at Goodwill.

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We had a hard time picking them up, until I realized I’d brought a piece of comb.

After that I put the comb in the box.

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And then all the bees wanted to join the party. Here’s a shot where they are starting to fan and line up.

FullSizeRender_1We watched them file in for a while, then left the box there until after sunset. It is a really warm day and there was a bright parking light so a handful of bees was still on the top of the van. We slipped a piece of paper under them and shook them in.

Since we did a split recently, we will keep this Queen until we figure out if our bees have made themselves a new one. We may combine them eventually since this swarm is small, but we will see how they do.

They are all home safe in our backyard. It’s always such a rush to catch a swarm!

what do you plant for a bee sanctuary?

I have been so pleasantly surprised every time I dig a hole for a tree on this land. I’ve heard the term “fertile river valley,” before — but never experienced it to this degree! The soil is gorgeous.

Since part of this adventure is a hope to share what we learn, I wanted to post about what we have planting on the farm in our past three months of stewardship. The season is right for planting trees now, so we are trying to get the year’s plantings in now. I’ve also included our wish list for the future.

Pictured above is our peach tree of the Frost variety. In speaking with neighbors we learned that was the best variety for the region. (Some said the only one that would give us peaches.) Fruit trees are generally a great bet for bees. Others we have planted include: crabapple, two plums, and quince. There were already four old apple trees, so I gave those a good pruning.

 

IMG_2613-1Above is a photo of heather. Two days after we planted it there were 5-7 bumble bees on each of three plants! In the bushy category we have also added three ceanothus plants, lavender, red osier dogwood, Indian plum, daphne, and flowering currant.

Here’s the flowering currant, right by the bridge to welcome visitors.

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I also chose that general location for the magnolia, so that at the first of the season we’ll have a burst of colorful blooms right at the entrance.

As far as flowering trees goes, I did a previous post about the Arbor Day Foundation, where you can buy very affordable seedlings. Of course, this is an exercise in patience since it will take years (decades) for them to grow into large trees. We have ordered, Northern Catalpa (2), Sourwood, Red maple (free with order,) Washington Hawthorn, Tulip Poplar, Forsynthia (2 free with order), Little Leaf Linden, Witchhazel, Black Tupelo, Sugar Maple, and Eastern Redbud. These are all spectacular bee forage trees. I encourage you to research them all. Gorgeous trees.

I’ve also ordered some willow. Most willows are great food for bees. I have a pink pussy willow known as Mt. Aso coming, as well as a curly willow and a basketmaking purpuera. The purpuera is also good for creating living willow structures, which I am excited to try out!

Last, but not least, we have some things started in the veggie garden. For the bees we have borage, poppies, and echinacea. For us we’ve put in an asparagus patch, ginger, and tumeric. Much more to come!

One challenging aspect that we are not very familiar with is how wildlife (including quite a large herd of elk!) will impact what we plant. We have caged the trees for their protection. We have a fence around the veggie garden, which we will fortify in time. We might build quite a bit more fencing than we have now… we will have to see how it goes. So far it seems that the elk avoid the areas near the house, but I have heard that can change pretty quickly.

Here’s some of our wish list for the future: (some for bee forage, some for perennial edibles)

More bee trees and bushes (with groves of like-species, but we’re starting with one of each to see how they do.) Japanese snowbell, winter jasmine, serviceberry, lilac, beautyberry, aralia, vitex.

Persimmon, pomegranate, paw paw, pear, hardy kiwi (I am rooting starts right now!) figs, grapes, rhubarb, artichoke, ramps, sea kale, sweet potato, ground nut, good king henry, lovage, french sorrel, plus every herb and medicinal plant we can find (with plans to build a formal herb garden.)

I’m sure more will get added… if you know of a great bee plant or perennial / self seeding non-invasive edible that would do well in Coastal Oregon, please let me know!

We love this land. Thank you for reading about our adventure!