養蜂人

20130216Bee002
去Cupertino的Yamagami聽了一場Bee Talk and Honey Tasting, 讓我起了在後院養蜜蜂(Honey Bees)的念頭.  自從開始在後院種起有機菜園, 不時會看到蜜蜂, 蝴蝶, 瓢蟲和蜂鳥在後院飛來飛去, 他們扮演着傳遞花粉的重要角色. 維基百科上寫著: 人類的食物中有三分之一是依賴昆蟲授粉, 而其中大部分是靠蜂類. 

Bees
蜜蜂的採蜜範圍是距離蜂巢3 miles左右的距離, 但是現在因為人越來越多, 原本的花草樹木都變成道路和房子, 加上許多人對草皮, 果樹噴灑殺蟲劑 (這些殺蟲劑最後滲入地下的水, 草根和樹根吸取有害的水後所開的花被蜜蜂吃下, 最後蜜蜂就死了), 有越來越多的養蜂人必須將一箱箱的蜂巢放上大貨車按季節遷移, 而上述幾個原因都促使每年會有30-40%的蜜蜂死亡.  如果沒有蜜蜂, 世界上的食物只夠人類吃四年.

主講人Ed建議對Backyard Beekeeper有興趣的人上網找Local Beekeeper Organizations, 參加每月一次的座談會, 或者去圖書館找有關Backyard Beekeeper相關的書作為起點. 我回家馬上上網搜尋, 果真讓我找到Santa Clara Valley Beekeepers Guild, 每月第一個週一晚上在Willow Glen的教堂有Meeting, 它們也有Blog, 有興趣可以看看. 另外可以下載 Download CA_Beekeeping_V2

另外有興趣上養蜂課的人, San Jose's Happy Hollow Zoo有開一個Bee Keeping 101, 一共十堂課, 多半在週六, 時間一到三小時不等, $250 (費用有助Happy Hollow Conservation).

Beekeeper
看到部落格友在後院種菜養雞, 我也想來養蜜蜂, 藉此來促進我的蔬果產量, 不過在後院養蜂的早期投資也需要一點經費.  要養蜂得先買第一批蜜蜂, Santa Clara Valley Beekeepers Guild從一月中開始接受登記團體郵購蜜蜂 (3 lb packages with Italian queens for $75), 三月中截止報名, 四月中會收到包裹, 越早買蜜蜂越好, 因為有一整年的時間讓蜜蜂工作.

043 Hive
在蜜蜂到來前, 得先幫它們弄個家(Hive, 如上圖), 我去位在San Jose的Carrier's Beekeeping Supplies考察, 如果要買已經拼裝好的Hive Kit, 大概要四百塊 (1 story observation hive with 10 frames), 他也有賣散裝, 自己回去組裝.  Mr. Franklin Carrier從1975年開始在自家經營養蜂教學和材料販賣, 他是Santa Clara Valley Beekeepers Guild的創始人, 今年高齡90, 仍然活躍養蜂界.  我也不意外有Bee Culture magazine這麼專門的雜誌.

另外一家有賣蜜蜂相關材料的是Sam's Downtown Feed & Pet Supply (蜜蜂也可以是寵物), 家族三代經營, 也在San Jose.

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 4.28.16 PM
不過當我做更進一步研究後發現, Santa Clara County對於Backyard Beekeeping的規定, 不同城市有不同的要求, 有些城市甚至是禁止後院養蜂, 但是基本上加州法律規定所有養蜂人都必須向所在地的農業管理局登記(County’s agricultural commissioner), 但是州政府卻沒有經費強迫執行, 因此有很多養蜂人不去登記, 省麻煩, 只要不被鄰居檢舉就好(拿蜂蜜去收買吧). 

Raindrop-mason-bee-house A-frame-mason-bee-house-right
Mason-bees3
但是看來為了養蜜蜂而必須面對的法規和鄰居的態度, 要比種菜或養雞要困難得多. 我轉念一想, 也許有別的方式可以達到蜂類來我家後院逛逛的目的. 想吸引鳥的人, 在後院樹上掛一個Bird Feeder, 裡面放鳥食; 那我想吸引蜂類的話, 做個Bee House (DIY 1, DIY 2), 吸引自己上鉤的Mason Bee, 應該就不算觸法了吧. (Honey Bee vs Mason Bee). 市面上賣的Mason Bee House漂亮的還真不多, 這時我要會木工, 自己做一個就好了.

2580_2253_thumb
買Bee House/DIY Bee House的時候, 要注意the nesting tube/natural reeds洞的大小, 最好不要超過一隻HB鉛筆的粗細, 因為洞太大, Mason Bee不喜歡住; 如果打算自己做那個Tube, 建議使用烤紙(parchment paper), 因為不怕潮溼; 將8×11 (影印紙大小) 對折減成二張8×5.5下去捲, 這樣可以做二個長5.5的管子, 尾端記得封起.

Screen Shot 2014-02-08 at 8.20.21 AM

記得把管子不規則排列, 有的拉出來一點點, 中間再穿插一些細樹枝之類的, Mason Bee不喜歡太規則整齊的樣子, 亂亂的比較方便他們記住家的位子.

P1040874-1 BeeBox-Wire
如果怕鳥或松鼠打擾你的蜂, 就用鐵絲網罩起來.

You can learn how to raise Mason bee and buy products that are needed at CrownBee.com, 也可以自己DIY, 他們甚至列了一張What To Do行事曆, 讓大家知道不同月份該做什麼事; 你還可以Sign-up to receive Bee-email, 他們會針對你的地區寄發相關的Newsletter, 真是太貼心了. (10 Expert Beekeeping Tips for Families)

Mason_bee_flower Mason_bee_eyes
Mason Bee不叮人, 而且傳播花粉的能力比Honey Bee更強 (Just two or three females can pollinate a mature apple tree! Mason bees will also work in cool or rainy weather when honeybees are more likely to take the day off), 除了沒有蜂蜜之外, 唯一缺點 a mason bee's season is very short. Because of this, many plants that bloom later in the season will miss the awesome pollination feats of these tiny insects.

Mason Bee (aka Osmia lignaria)有分二大類:

  • Osmia lignaria propinqua (west of the Rockies)
  • Osmia lignaria lignaria (east of the Rockies)

當你網路購買Mason Bees時, 記得買符合你所在地的種類.

Here are rules:

  • Blue Orchard Bees raised in Washington will be sold to BC, WA, OR, and Northern CA.
  • Blue Orchard Bees caught in Utah will be sold to ID, UT, NV, Southern CA, CO, AZ
  • Blue Orchard Bees/Hornfaced raised in the NE will be sold to NE states
  • Blue Orchard/Hornfaced bees raised in the SE/South Central will be sold there.

每年六月中就要巡視蜂窩, 把Full Straws取出, 放在室內或車庫; 十月就是清理蜂窩, 剪開Straws/Tubes, 取出蜂繭的時候 (Harvesting Cocoons). 如果你只想養Mason Bees, 但是不想做後續動作, 你可以考慮用租的, 你什麼都不用買, 整個租用套餐包含所有養蜂需要的東西, 冬天一到, 你就把整個蜂窩還回去, 年復一年, 你享受豐盛的收成, 但是完全不用管蜂事, 而且費用合理, 依尺寸分Small $15, Medium $25, Large $50, 可惜目前只有在Washington State才有. (灣區應該也要有才對啊, 我們這邊天氣更好, 日照更長, 很多菜園和果園呢)

Bee_poster-600x600-crop
還有另外一個方式就是種植Bee Friendly Flowers/Wildlife-friendly Garden (Rule: native plants attract native bees and exotic plants attract honeybees), 這樣仍舊可以達到吸引它們前來傳播花粉的目的.

Urban Bee Gardens – This website, maintained by the University of California, Berkeley, contains a wealth of information about bees, native and otherwise, plants, and gardening basics.

– 蜂類的眼睛對顏色很敏感, 尤其是藍, 紫, 白, 黃, 而且要以同款同色種在一起, 範圍要大, 這樣蜂類會比較容易發現食物所在地.  蜂類的舌頭長度不同, 所以花種的種類越多, 越能吸引不同的蜂類到來.

– 絕對不噴灑殺蟲劑

– 要種不同季節會開花的類別 (Native plants更好), 這樣蜂類一年四季都有食物.

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 7.28.59 PM
University of California, Berkeley列出一個清單will provide a year-long supply of pollen and nectar for native California bees. 如果你想從種子開始種, 建議上Larner Seeds公司, 他們有最多加州當地花種, 而且標示清楚, 每種花都有照片, 很容易選擇, 比去苗圃看到眼花繚亂要好多了.

– 提供水源. Bees and other beneficial insects — ladybugs, butterflies, and predatory wasps — all need fresh water to drink but most can't land in a conventional bird bath without crashing. "They're like tanks with wings," says bee master Brian Campbell. "They need islands in the water to touch down on." (Video at 1:15 for a bee bath demo)

  • Line a shallow bowl or plate with rocks.
  • Add water, but leave the rocks as dry islands to serve as landing pads.
  • Place the bath at the ground level in your garden. (Put it near "problem plants" — those that get aphids, for example — and the beneficial insects that come to drink will look after them.)
  • Refresh the water daily, adding just enough to evaporate by day's end.

 

我想我可能提供太多資訊了, 不過在我搜尋的過程中, 因為越查越深入, 到最後似乎上癮了, 有點不追根究底不罷休. 不過這樣你就省事了, 因為我已經把所有看過的網站篩選過, 貼出最有幫助的連結. 春天要來囉, 祝你Happy Gardening!!

 

註一: See what Jaden Hair from SteamyKitchen.com have to said about her bee experiences.

註二: CrownBee.com將在3/2 Saturday at 11:00在Dale Ace Hardware (3700 Thornton Ave
Fremont) 有個Mason Bees座談會, 歡迎各位前往.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s