A bad day to wake up as a honeybee. . .

As if colony collapse disorder wasn’t misery enough, now the beleaguered honeybee has parasitic flies to deal with as recently reported in Washington State. The parasitic flies are native, but have never been known to target honeybees, a European import. Flies lay their eggs in the bees, which cause erratic behaviour including leaving the hive at night and being unable to fly back, resulting in death. The erratic movement has been referred to as ‘zombie-like’. Rather unfortunate with Halloween coming up. Hopefully, the issues can be solved on the west coast!

Watch a video here on the Weather Network.


But Paul van Westendorp, provincial apiculturist at the BC Ministry of Agriculture, isn’t so sure that this is a new issue to be concerned about. He claims that the flies – scuttle flies, to be precise – lay their eggs in sick or dying bees which then leave the hive to prevent polluting the hive with their carcasses. At this time of year when food sources are more scarce, there is a concomitant increase in affected bees as they die off. So, the zombie bee is just a myth.


Christine’s FWG Walks: FWG on a rainy day

Hi all,

The September photo blog is now up, jump-started by a couple of gorgeous shots from Al (check out his photo of the locust borer… it generated five comments almost the moment I posted it!)

Today, I headed off to the FWG in the rain, but it began coming down heavily and my camera was in danger of being flooded out, so I didn’t stay long. However, I did take a number of shots and they are also on PBase. Continue reading

Last weeding bee of the season a success!

Holding a pile of pulled DSV.

The last official weeding bee of the season was held 9 September, with a good turnout of over 20 people! There may be another bee scheduled depending on weather, so watch this space.

To try expanding our techno-reach, we made a little video detailing the most recent bee and the effect of the bees in general on our work at FWG. Continue reading

FWG Volunteer in the News: Hedrik on Urban Fishing

Hedrik is a volunteer at FWG, especially with the TISG contingent.

The Ottawa Citizen profiled him and discusses urban fish ecology in this August 2012 article and video by Andrew Duffy.

A great big fish story: Tao of the urban muskie hunter

“Hedrik Wachelka grew up a stone’s throw from Dow’s Lake, the mitten-shaped pond that would form the improbable centre of his life’s obsession.

His father, a Polish Army veteran who came to Canada and raised a family after the Second World War, used to take young Hedrik with him to fish for dinner.

“My dad was always fishing bass or pickerel, or different types of panfish,” he tells me as we wait on the shores of the same lake for our boat to arrive. “Muskies were this great big fish that would sometimes show up and scare the stuffing out of you.”

The shadowy giant captured Hedrik’s imagination. He caught his first in Dow’s Lake in 1964 when he was 13 years old.” Click to read the rest and watch the video!

[CBC] Emerald ash borer in Chelsea and L’Ange-Gardien QC

From CBC News – Posted: Sep 10, 2012 11:39 AM ET (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2012/09/10/ottawa-emerald-ash-borer-chelsea-langegardien.html)

The emerald ash borer has spread to Chelsea and L’Ange-Gardien in Quebec, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed.

Movement restrictions — which prohibit the movement of all ash materials including logs, branches and wood chips, and all species of firewood from the affected site — have been put in place, according to a CFIA media release.

Property owners in the affected area have been notified and other regulatory measures will be considered once survey work has been completed.

The presence of EAB has so far been confirmed in five areas in Quebec, and in 27 Ontario counties.

Although it does not pose a risk to human health, it is a highly destructive beetle and has already killed millions of ash trees in Ontario, Quebec and the United States.

It poses a major economic and environmental threat to urban and forested areas of North America.

Watch the video here: http://www.cbc.ca/video/watch/News/Canada/Ottawa/ID=2277604045

Thinking ahead to Plant Sale 2013 – Seed collection!

Climbing rosehips.

Seed collection is an ongoing activity during the season. Just as flowers bloom at different times, so too do their seed ripen at various points of summer and autumn. We collect all the seed for the plants that we grow and sell at the annual native plant sale. Some plants we sell are donations, usually rhizomatous plants that we’ve never had luck growing from seed. We also have transplants from our own garden!

If you plan to collect seed from your own plants, be sure to collect only 1/3 – the rule of three is such that (in theory) 1/3 of the seed are food for wildlife, 1/3 for plant propagation and then 1/3 for you! Continue reading

Interview with our resident buckthorn-spert: Mr Tony D

Tony clipping roots while another volunteer uses the weed wrench. Photo by C Hanrahan

Tony Denton is a regular and long-time FWG volunteer. His bailiwick includes tackling invasive tree species that keep popping up on our grounds. You could say that he is a regular ‘hatchet man’!

How long have you been a volunteer at FWG? Why did you decide to start?

The date is vague in my mind, it was soon after I retired and looked around for activities. I came to the annual ‘Migration Day’ in spring, took the birding tour with Jeff Harrison (co-founder of the FWG and chaired the management committee for many years) and decided that I liked the area. We talked for quite a while, back at the Interpretation Centre, about gardening in difficult conditions, which we shared. He convinced me that I should build a pond.

Continue reading