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 18, 2022

Butterfly Pool Results

Early in the morning, the side by side crysalides no longer looked like twins. After 9 days as a crysalis, the first to pupate (left) will be the first to emerge as a butterfly.
Note the color change.

A side view of the mature crysalis shows the butterfly inside is arching, putting pressure against the outer skin.

Translucent = will eclose very soon.

The changes happen quick. We went for a pre-breakfast walk and missed the butterfly coming out of the crysalis. And while I was making an afternoon smoothie, I missed a second butterfly emerge!

The bottom butterfly's wings are still wet and floppy.
When they first emerge, their wings are crumpled from being crammed in the crysalis. The butterfly stretches and strengthens its wing muscles by slowing moving its wings. They quickly expand, dry and harden. 

A new butterfly likes something to climb up. I'd forgotten that they purge after eclosing. No solids like the last stage as a caterpillar, just a cloudy liquid.

I always try to set new butterflies on a flower. They don't need nectar yet, but I hope it helps them identify our yard as a good food source so they come back.

Still early enough that some morning glories are still available for offer.
Warmed by the sun, wings fully hardened, I think the butterfly must complete its purge before taking flight.
Finally, a dorsal view! This one's a male.

Another male. If you compare their dots you'll see that their patterns are unique.

Our third crysalis turned out to be male as well. All three were in crysalis form for nine days.

I wish one would've been a female so I could show you the difference in appearance. You have to look at their top side, which can take patience since they spend more time folded up than exposed. When you finally glimpse of the dorsal view, look for the amount of blue. Males don't have a lot of blue. Females have more blue (which displaces the yellow). I found three more caterpillars on the parsley, so I'm still hoping for a female to show you soon.