February 01, 3000

My Colorado Beekeeping Calendar: A sticky post

A Phenological Calendar for Colorado Beekeepers

By undergoing VIT, I successfully reduced my sensitivity to honeybee venom to safe levels! After taking several years off, my interest in beekeeping has not waned, and I'm anxious to restock our hives. I will definitely let you know when that happens.

Meanwhile, what about you? What are your plans for this season? If you're in the Denver metro, maybe my Colorado bloom calendar will help you think them through. ☝️ Yellow bars = mason bee tasks, blue bars = honeybee tasks. The green bars in the calendar are what's blooming now. Keep in mind that the dates can shift a couple of weeks in either direction depending on weather conditions. For example, the excessively warm 2017/2018 winter had elm trees blooming well before Valentine's Day. The snow storm on President's Day, though, cut short its blooming period. You can click on any of the events for more details and additional reading. I hope you find it useful.

And don't forget, Marty Hardison's booklet, "The Appropriate Beehive" is available at right. If you like The List he wrote for when to do what for one's bees, please consider making a donation. It'll ensure "The Appropriate Beehive" remains available through this website. I'm working with Marty on an update but am challenged by the limits of Google Docs or 365. Like many right now (2021), I'm unemployed so can't afford Microsoft Word, but I'm trying to find a solution so we can post it for you ASAP. Until then, may your hives be humming. — BB & HB

Blogger Tip: create a "pinned" or "sticky post" by publishing it with a date in the future, like in the year 3000. It'll stay at the top of your page as long as the date hasn't passed.

August 09, 2022

Went looking for bees but found this instead.

The little garden space I asked for your help designing includes dill, parsley and Golden Alexander, all host plants for Swallowtail butterflies. Our backyard is so small, the entire potager is literally three steps out my kitchen door – a giant glass slider – so that's how I happened to see a butterfly laying eggs.

Small carpenter bee (Ceratina) foraging on dill weed. 07/22/2022
Do you see the butterfly egg? I didn't see it until I was going through my bee photos. I know this is a Ceratina because it has a small yellow mark on its face, not visable in the photo.
3rd instar caterpillar on Italian parsley. 07/30/2022

After finding a caterpillar in the jaws of a spider, I brought every caterpillar I could find inside and set them up with Oui jars like I did in 2019. This time, though, we had to go out-of-town for three days so instead of a daily top up, I had to guess how much food they needed. Turns out not much, just a few sprigs each.

5th instar caterpillar on Golden Alexander, which is native to the eastern US. 08/05/2022
We left with four 3rd instar caterpillars and returned to find three 5th instar caterpillars. It seems the natural mortality rate is high.

Prepupa showing signs of final molt, small cracks and loss of color. 08/07/2022

Attached to the inside corner of popup hamper, I could only get a dorsal view video but I'm just elated that we got to see it happen!

The transformation from prepupa to chrysalis took about 6 minutes, the last 3 being a whole bunch of wiggling until the shed skin fell to the floor. 
Swallowtail chrysalis color-matched to its environment. 08/07/2022

We've got three chrysalides in the hamper, and I'll post an update when they emerge. The Internet says anywhere from 7-20+ days. How about a Butterfly Pool? I think Monday the 15th and there will be 2 males and 1 female. What are your guesses?