When I was first introduced to the study of insecticides in agriculture there was a clear delineation between the systemic kind and the contact kind. Most pesticides work by poisoning the target organism when it touches or ingests the poison—that much is pretty much the same in either case. But the big difference is that […] Read more
Can anyone identify this bumble bee? The photo was taken March 24 in western Washington in a garden patch of Vinca minor.
Pollenkitt is a sticky covering found on the surface of pollen grains. It is also spelled “pollen kit” or “pollenkit” and is sometimes called “pollen coat.” It is found in some plant families more often than others, but it is especially common in plants that are pollinated by insects. Because of this, scientists believe that […] Read more
Cross pollination—the moving of pollen from the flowers of one plant to the flowers of another—is usually accomplished by wind or animals. There are a few other vectors, including water and gravity, but wind and animals are the main ones. Many animals move pollen—including bats, birds, and butterflies—but bees of one species or another do […] Read more
I see a lot of posts and tweets that seem to point to the mason bee as the answer to pollinator decline. Sure, I like mason bees, and here in the Pacific Northwest they have the added advantage of being native. However, we don’t yet have a consensus about what is killing the honey bee. […] Read more
The slatted rack is my all-time favorite piece of bee furniture, and I wouldn’t try to keep bees in a Langstroth-style hive without one. I insert one whenever I build a new hive and leave it there year-round. If you’re not familiar with them, a slatted rack (sometimes called a brood rack) fits just beneath […] Read more