Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor - November 2014
Forager Marking Devices for Kids
This summer the kids and I spent hours foraging in the garden for watermelon and tomatoes, and watched countless pollinators in action. Watching honey bee foragers led the kids to ask me lots of questions. “Does this bee on the cucumber flower return here tomorrow?” “Do the bees on the sunflowers forage on the zinnias, too?” “Have all of our hives found the pumpkin blossoms?” I thought that it would be best to let our foraging bees answer the kids’ questions. I taught our kids to mark foragers in the garden!
I modified an old, wooden queen cage and turned it into a plunger-style marking device with a honey lure, using basic tools. The method of using the forager marking device (FMD) is easy for a child to understand. We placed the open FMD in the garden where bees were foraging. Bees could enter and exit and gorge themselves on honey all day. When we went to the garden, we checked the lures. If a bee was inside, the kids plunged her gently upward to close the entrance, marked her through the screen on the thorax, plunged her down until she dried and was full of honey and then, safely opened the entrance and tracked her flight direction back to the colony.
With the holidays fast approaching, I am planning to gift FMD’s and non-toxic paint pens to family and friends. This little contraption really does need explanation, so I made double sided, printable instruction books that are easy to understand. Homemade gifts are so cool. We are proud to be entertaining and educating our children in the garden and wanted to help others do the same. Enjoy!
Bees Seeking Water During a Heat wave
It’s 108 degrees in our backyard. This is a photo of the honey bees coming to the water dish where all the creatures come for water on these hot days. There are often dozens (hundreds ?) at any given time. The squirrels and cats don’t seem to mind.
A catnip plant took over one of my flower beds. It was attractive to honey bees and they worked it in June and July.