A Mothy Workday

Thank you to everybody who came out to the workday on Saturday! As you may have heard, we have a new member who’s already helping to make the garden a better place. This hawk swooped down and nabbed one of our ever-present rats. Let’s hope she sticks around!

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I’m sorry I didn’t get any pictures of the workday bustle. I was busy with a bee-mergency. (I’ll be here all week).

A few days ago I had every intention of checking on the bees. When I went to open the plastic bin we keep the bee suits in, however, I found some unwelcome guests.

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It wasn’t hard to find the source of the problem. We were storing the bee suit bin on top of another bin with some old frames of comb in it. And those frames, wouldn’t you know it, were completely full of wax moths.

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Wax moths are a perpetual threat if you’re storing used comb without bees to protect it. Fans of the blog may remember that our hive was infested with wax moths last spring, after it was abandoned. Wax moths are rarely a problem in active hives, because the bees will drive them out before they can take hold. But if the comb is unprotected, like in the empty hive or the shed, moths are almost certain to move in.

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Despite their name, wax moths don’t actually eat wax. A frame of unused foundation in the same bin was untouched. What the moths like is the thin, protein-rich skin that’s left behind on the cell walls by the bee larvae when they emerge as fully formed bees. Think of it like a bee amniotic sac. Moths lay their eggs in the wax, and those eggs hatch into grubs that burrow through the wax, feeding on these old protein skins.

Because they’re disgusting.

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I thought the bin we were keeping the frames in was tight enough to keep the moths out. I thought wrong. Here you can see a few of those little grubs on the move.

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And here are some adult moths.

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Will and I dragged the bins outside to clear them out. We wiped out all the bugs and their bizarrely stretchy webbing.

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The moths clearly started in the bin with the frames, but they’d been migrating. I found a few little cocoons in the bee suits.

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I picked off all the cocoons I could find and shook everything out. For good measure, I took the suits home and washed them. I sprayed the bins down with the hose and let them dry in the sun. I’m pretty sure we’re moth-free.

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As we were working, a few of the bees came over from the hive to see what we were up to. This one found a single globule of honey on one of the frames.

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Some others flocked to the honey that dripped out of the frames onto the ground. They will have drunk as much as they could hold, then carried it back to the hive to store.

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This wasp showed up for the free food, too.

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So what became of the frames? I didn’t want to keep them around so full of moths, but I couldn’t stand the idea of throwing away all that good wax. I brought the frames home and tried to render the wax in my kitchen.

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Stay tuned for that tale of hardship and woe.

Workday wrap-up!

HI folks!

Here’s an update from Norma who guided the workday yesterday:
We have a hawk now, and while we were there today he caught and carried away one of our many rats. 
He roosts on the gourd trellis and the telephone pole nearby and watches for the rats, which are very active around the north compost area.
He is not shy if you wan’t to take his picture.
 
>> Ask gardeners to leave the terrace alone so that he can catch more rats.
 
No  more weeding on the terrace for now!
 

And here are a couple friendly reminders in general:

  • Remember to place spready/ seedy weeds in brown bags instead of compost bins
  • DO NOT put weeds in trash barrels per the city.
  • At day’s end, put filled brown bags near the trash (but as just stated, not in) the trash cans in parkin lot.
  • Replace any tools into the (now-tidied) shed
  • Be sure to call out for anyone inside the shed before you lock it
  • Let the last person in the garden know you are leaving
  • Lock up every gate and shed at day’s end.
Thank you to all of you who continue to uphold your to-the-garden community service time.

Work Day Sat 9/17, 9-2

Hi Folks!
Thanks to those of you that got the party started early tonight at the garden. Here’s a list for tomorrow’s workday:
  • Weeding in general, especially around perimeter.
  • Remove wild invasives from fence (morning glories), except where it appears they are coming from somebody’s plot.  There are a bunch climbing the back fence that look wild.
  • Remove any mulberry saplings. They’re a real pain.
  • Pull up grasses along perimeter
  • Chop up material in compost bins
  • Soak material in compost bins for breakdown
  • Tidy up the shed  (bring a bandana for your face if you’re going to sweep it out – it’s dusty!)
  • Norma is picking up some containers for the soil amendments, so we can arrange them in a useful way.
  • Move and clear out that area where the black compost bins are, just left to the New Addition along the fence. If anybody would like one of those black composters, please take it tomorrow. Heck, if you want all three…. FIRST COME FIRST SERVE.
  • Please place all seedy, spready, invasivy type plants in brown bags (not in the compost); when full, place brown bags near (but not in) trash cans. The city will pick them up for city compost.
Don’t forget to bring gloves, pruning shears, loppers, hand-saws or any other kind of cutting / pruning / snipping device you might think could be helpful.
Wear long sleeves if you can, or bring long gloves for a special blackberry position.
Sturdy shoes and long pants are highly encouraged.
I have to go to a day-long conference tomorrow (that I didn’t know about until about a week ago), so I can’t make it tomorrow. Both Justin & Norma will be there to guide you.
We’ll continue on Sunday if necessary.

Camp Street + Work Day

Hi folks!

Just a quick reminder that each and every Thursday, Renee & her gang are available to pick things to donate to Camp Street Ministries. If you have anything to donate, please contact Renee directly at fullerton_renee@yahoo.com Alternately, you can email her directly from the website at http://www.foxpointgarden.org/2016/07/26/extra-stuff-to-donate/
Our next work day is scheduled to be Saturday, September 17, officially from 9-2.  For those of you that cannot make it on Saturday, we will be working some on both Friday evening  5-7ish and Sunday morning 10-2ish.
On Friday evening, some of us will walk around and make a list of things that need to get done.
There are still some leftover chips in the parking lot that can be spread in bare areas right now, even, so if you’re inclined, please go spread them.
I’ll try to send out a memo Friday night, but it’s to your benefit to check the website first because of spammo-vision on Gmail’s part.

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