Finally! Some Southern Chinese Honey Bees!!!

22 08 2014

It has been ages since I posted here on Bees Alive! and I sincerely apologize for that. Part of the problem is that I relocated to Southern China once again, and as with all of my experiences in this part of the country, I have a hard time finding bees. I’m not sure why. There are tons of other flying lovelies – wasps galore, dragon flies, butterflies, moths, argh – mosquitoes. But bees? Two summers in Hainan and a year in Guangzhou yielded not a single sighting. It is a sad state of affairs, alas.

But then! A few months ago. I was, for some reason, looking out the sliding glass door leading on to my balcony, and my eyes detected action. There is a very tall tree growing beside my balcony, a few of the branches of which overhang. The tree was flowering (I’m not sure what kind of tree it is yet, but after some investigation and once I figure it out, I’ll update the post), and it had managed to attract some friends of the winged variety. I grabbed my camera, and popped outside for a closer look.

Honey bees!!! As well as some wasps and other critters. Unfortunately, the flowers are small, and when that happens, bees move frequently and quickly instead of staying for a photo opportunity. But I managed to get a few average shots which I’ve included below. My delay in posting has been the result of losing my camera cord as well as access to an SD card reader, but I’m equipped once more.

honey bee in guangzhou, china

 

Notice the half-full pollen sacs in this next photo. Yes, I have a soft spot for pollen sacs…

pollen sac on southern Chinese honey bee

 





Milkweed Seed Needed

12 08 2013

If you are based in North America, you might be interested in the following campaign. Monarch Watch, a non-profit organization based at the University of Kansas, is looking for milkweed seed donations to further their goals to preserve local monarch butterfly populations. They encourage the start-up and maintenance of monarch waystations and provide kits to interested parties. Remember that milkweed is also a plant loved by bees :)

Click the following poster to find out how to collect and donate. (Of course, you can always plant your own milkweed on your own!)

milkweed for monarchs needed




Summertime Bombus hortorum in the UK

15 07 2013

Thank you to a regular contributor for the following lovely photos of an industrious Bombus hortorum.

Bombus hortorum - UK July 3rd 2013

Bombus hortorum - UK July 3rd 2013

Bombus hortorum - UK July 3rd 2013

Bombus hortorum - UK July 3rd 2013





Pittosporum and Honeybee in Nanjing, China

29 04 2013

Let’s celebrate. Bee season is off to a running start in central China, and I caught a few photos today. I’ve identified one of the flowering bushes so far (this is a Pittosporum), so I’ll start by posting two photos of the plant, one with a honeybee deeply engrossed.

Pittosporum and Honeybee - Nanjing China - April 28 2013

Pittosporum - Nanjing China - April 28 2013





Carpenter Bees in Alabama

1 04 2013

Tcarpenter bee drawinghanks to a fellow blogger, I have some beautiful, new photos of carpenter bees from Montgomery, Alabama. Carpenter bees and bumbles are often mistaken for one another. The major difference between the two is that the former have a relatively hairless abdomen, while the latter is fuzzy all over.





Chinese Magnolias

18 03 2013

[Also posted on The Good Villager.]

It’s spring. Flowers are popping up everywhere. I just posted on the all-important Chinese plum blossom season with some lovely shots provided by one of my students. Now, the magnolia trees outside my housing complex have blossomed, and I was able to get out there myself today and photograph.

After doing a little research, there are what I believe to be two different species of native magnolia trees here. One (see the white blooms) is the Magnolia denudata (玉蘭 – yù lán – literally ‘jade orchid’), also called the Yulan magnolia – a symbol of purity. The other (purple blossoms) is the Magnolia liliiflora species (木兰 – mù lán – literally ‘tree orchid’), also called the Mulan magnolia.

Enjoy these beauties below.





Acacia Honey in China

21 01 2013

Chinese Acacia Honey - yang huai feng miFrom time to time, I buy a jar of Chinese honey. It makes sense. After all, I live in China. Why not buy local? Of course, Chinese products are often suspect in some way – many Chinese folks I’ve spoken to are suspicious of honey coming from their own country, and as I’ve written about before, they have a reason to be. But I’ve also written that it’s impossible for us to avoid toxins completely given what we, as humans, have done to our world. So Chinese honey and whatever chemicals it contains makes their way into my kitchen.

Robinia pseudoacacia 004This time round, I secured a jar of acacia honey.  One of the more common monofloral honeys, this honey comes from the false acacia tree  (洋槐 yáng​ huái – black locust tree or Robinia pseudoacacia). The tree grows in warmer climates in Europe and North America, but it also grows in China. The honey is usually rather light in colour, but can have an amber hue (particularly if it has been pasteurized) like in the jar you see here.

Acacia honey has a higher fructose content than most honeys. As a result, it tastes sweeter – you will likely need less to sweeten your tea – and it probably won’t crystallize like most honeys will over time.

See other posts on my Chinese honey adventures:








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