By Brigg Franklin, “Bee Herder”
With fall fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about our Mason Bees and preparing them for winter. Last spring after the female bees laid their eggs and then disappeared, those eggs hatched and new larvae emerged. The larvae, or grubs, spent the next few months eating the nectar and pollen in their mud chambers and growing. By midsummer, the now fat larvae stopped eating and began to spin cocoons inside of which they then changed by metamorphosis from pupae into adult bees. With fall, the bees will now be in hibernation and will stay in their cocoons until next spring. During this late summer period, many predatory insects are looking for our bee cocoons into which to lay their own eggs that then feed on the sleeping bees. By bringing the bees in their tubes inside, we lessen the chance of losing next year’s adult bees.
Next, in mid November comes time to clean the bee cocoons, getting rid of the mites waiting to attach to the bees as they emerge next spring. We open each bee tube’s paper liner and gather the cocoons to be washed in cold water and then stored safely in a plastic dish in the refrigerator until next spring.
If this all still sound a little confusing and you want to learn more about “herding” your own Mason Bees, plan to attend NatureScaping’s November 14th class on Mason Bees from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the CASEE center, 11104 NE 149th St., Brush Prairie, WA. You’ll get hands-on experience and may even go home with your very own bee cocoons.
Flying Flowers Garden
Written by Gary and Anita Stebbins, Flying Flowers Garden Coordinators
The Flying Flowers garden has recently been certified as a butterfly garden by the North American Butterfly Association. It meets their requirements for certification by having:
* At least three different native caterpillar food plants.
* At least three different native butterfly nectar sources.
* Use of pesticides is discouraged.
We are proud to say that this garden met their requirements and then some.
Hedgerows for Urban Landscapes
Excerpted from blogger, Kelly Brenner’s, article at
The principles for hedgerows can easily be used in an urban setting. Hedgerows are low-cost while at the same time a high-impact design element. They can be used along many existing linear landscapes such as railways, pathways, power lines and roads where they can be used to create habitat corridors, connecting networks of habitat patches together. Homeowners can use them to surround their yard, providing all the benefits for wildlife while also providing privacy and creating a very nice space. Homeowners can work together to link stretches of yards creating a travel corridor for small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians and insects such as pollinators.
The key to a successful hedgerow is diversity, diversity, diversity. The diversity of plants and structure ensures the hedgerow can appeal to a wide variety of wildlife by having a diversity of fruiting and flowering times. Having structural layers is important for many reasons; different species inhabit specific vegetation layers, more layers provide more refuge and more sources of food. Leaving dead material on the ground is also important because many species of wildlife forage in the leaf litter for insects and even nest and pupate there. There are a number of plant species that can be beneficial, trees will provide nesting, shelter and food for birds, and shelter for bats, moths and squirrels. Over the long term the trees will die, turning into snags, and provide another range of benefits.
Select shrubs and trees that provide fruit or nuts for wildlife and shrubs with thorns or spines to provide good shelter for many species. Choose shrubs which are known to be the larval host of butterflies and moths. Include a range of plants that flower during various times of the year to provide a constant source of nectar and pollen. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest there is a good plant list from the King Conservation District and another plant list from the Canadian Wildlife Federation. Some of the best choices for Pacific Northwest hedgerows include Pacific Serviceberry, Snowberry, Oregon-grape, Douglas Fir, hawthorn, wild rose, bramble, hazel, beech, dogwood, apple, elm, oak, honeysuckle and clematis. Many of these will be found growing naturally along forest edges or in thickets.
NatureScaping’s October Happenings:
Watch for our upcoming announcement via email and on our website: http://www.naturescaping.org. for our Perennials Propagation Class and Work Party hosted by Perennials Princess, Julie Carlsen, on Sat. Oct. 17th
Contact NatureScaping of SW WA at: (360) 737.1160, firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 763, Battleground, WA 98606
NatureScaping of SW WA is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) organization.