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Travels

We visited our family during the kid’s summer holidays and on our return from Prince George the aspen trees caught my attention.

Between Prince George (northern British Columbia) and Quesnel, the majority of aspen trees looked grey.  During the summer and early autumn, the foliage of aspen trees is a deep green, not quite as dark as the evergreen trees in the area.  The trees looked oddly ghostly, not normal at all.  I first thought it might be a mildew infestation.  Then I thought, it might be possible that an early frost had hit the trees.  But this did not seem right because a frost would hit the top branches and not necessary the inner branches.

I finally stopped to have a closer look.  I soon realized it was an insect infestation. Insect larvae had eaten through the very thin layers of a leaf and exited at the far end of the leaf.  The reason why leaves appeared grey was because the green chlorophyll layer had been eaten by the insect larvae.  The patterns created by these insects were beautiful.
A further look at the Aspen leaf miner, see link at the end of this article.

Beautiful patterns in a aspen leaf.

A pathway of an insect

Ghostly looking trembling aspen

Along the Prince George Highway BC grey aspen were the norm.

A grey forest!

Grey aspen in the foreground.  Green fir in the background.

During the summer months, aspen are similar in colour
to other green plants below the aspen.
The grey was startling against a backdrop of green fir and close to pale
green herbaceous plants.

The whole aspen tree canopy was consumed by these insects.

In nature, you never know what there is to see.

Aspen infestation in the news.

Walking trails in the Center

 

The Australian outback is an amazing world of contrast:  red and black cliffs, dry desert landscape with water-filled gorges, prickly spiky plants with  soft colourful flowers, beautiful birds and their loud calls.  I was lucky enough to call Australia my home when I was a child and always look forward to going back, seeing my family and having another look at the land.  This year, I spent quite a bit of my holidays in Australia’s Center.  I wanted to check out more of the land and walking is a great way of doing it.  We bought our food and water from the town of Alice Spring and went walking along a number of different trails.
 
 
Depending on the light, cliffs are either red, burnt orange
purple or varying co.lours in between.
Honey bee colony on a cliff in the Center.

We saw quite a bit of wild life including kangaroos and lots of birds.  There were very few insects around because night time temperatures were around freezing a lot of the nights.  I was pleasantly surprised though  when Matt showed me a honey bee colony.  Matt told me he had seen them at this location before.  It  was about 30 feet up on a cliff.  Honey bee comb attached to an open cliff would be a rare sight in Canada, but in Desert country it is the perfect place.  There is very little rain to speak of so a colony does not need protection from the rain.    Since it had rained recently, trees and shrubs were showing off their bloom.  This of course means food for  honey bees.

 
Gum tree flowers with a foraging honey bee.
Hakia flowers provide lots of nectar for birds called Honey-eaters
River beds and cliffs provide great habitat for all kinds

of wildlife including lizards, cliff dwelling birds and hawks.

 

In the next little while, I will be adding a few more blogs of my trip.  You can imagine the number of photos I took!  Have a great summer!
 
 
 

 

 
 
Paris, Parc de Bercy.
A quiet space, away from the hustle and bustle
Paris:  The hustle and bustle of a thorougfare

Just around the corner from the hustle and bustle!
We have arrived in Paris!  

River Seine

Bluebell

A vegetable garden within the park

During my visit to Holland, I was lucky to see a number of gardens that belonged to friends and relatives    Here are some of the bee attractive plants I saw in these gardens.

A close up of the tiny pink flower.
Unfortunately I do not know the name of this 5 foot
high bush.  The tiny pink flowers were very
attractive to bees.
Pink Delphinium
Foxglove

Holland: bicycle stall at a railway station.
Bluebell

Old city of Dordrecht, Holland
Right in front of the medical clinic on Quadra Island,  a raised bed had some surprises in store for me.  I was certainly not expecting numerous bumble bees foraging on 4 patches of sage ground cover.  We were meandering along the store fronts, and there they were- too busy to take any notice of the photographer.
Very little of the ground covers’ green leaves were visible amongst the dense layers of flowers.

There were numerous bumble bees present on these patches of sage.

The bees’ tongue is visible probing the flowers

We had a wonderful visit to Rome.  Always on the look-out for Bee pollinated flowers, I managed to see an olive tree in full bloom.  Olive trees have a grey foliage with tiny cream coloured flowers. 
Olive tree flowers in full bloom- end of May.

The huge and awesome Colosseum of Rome.

The local roads of the ancient Roman town of Pompei with Mt Vesuvius in the background.
One of the beautiful mosaics of Pompei.  
A delicate 5 coloured mosaic in the ancient coastal port of Rome,  Ostia Antica.
Most mosaics that we saw were black and white.

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