A Year in the Apiary:
Spirolina, a distant cousin of spirogyra, is a blue-green bacteria (Arthrospira platensis) with a nutritional profile that is similar to pollen. This is the same stuff the Aztecs made into energy bars for their long distance runners, and is being investigated as a nutritional supplement for bees.
A simple way to keep the water clear is to put a generous handful of barley straw into a nylon stocking, along with a rock to weigh it down. And if the water still turns brackish, you can always dump it into your vegetable garden and start over.
Water bee territory
The first sign that a territorial battle was brewing was a minor skirmish on a horsetail reed. Then, one bee jumped on the back of another and held her down before throwing her off the algae pad.
I couldn’t tell if my bees were defending their territory or being pushed around by the other bees.
These minor skirmishes soon escalated into a full-scale invasion by the bees from the pepper tree. Eventually, both sides settled into an uneasy truce.
I could tell who was who from the direction they flew away from the pond. The pepper tree bees were more aggressive than my Italian bees, and there was a difference in the air when they were around.
It was time to batten down the hatches!
How do bees respond to music?
I had been reading The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore about how people used to sing to bees and play cymbals to summon them. Although bees don’t have ears, they do hear vibrations through their antennae.
Then I came across Layne Redmond’s Sacred Tools of the Bee Priestess: Sound Purification, which I suspect is outside of that frequency range, and I decided to conduct an experiment. I set up my little Bose speaker on a chair next to the pond and cranked it up just a bit.