Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County
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Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County

Posts Tagged: tower of jewels

The Boys Are Back in Town!

A male Valley carpenter bee, Xylocopa varipuncta, nectaring on a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii, in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The boys are back in town. After the long winter and rainy spring, the boys are back in town. That would be the male Valley carpenter bees, Xylocopa varipuncta, or what Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, calls...

A male Valley carpenter bee, Xylocopa varipuncta, nectaring on a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii, in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A male Valley carpenter bee, Xylocopa varipuncta, nectaring on a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii, in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A male Valley carpenter bee, Xylocopa varipuncta, nectaring on a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii, in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The male Valley carpenter bee is often mistaken for a bumble bee, or what some have called a
The male Valley carpenter bee is often mistaken for a bumble bee, or what some have called a "golden bumble bee." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The male Valley carpenter bee is often mistaken for a bumble bee, or what some have called a "golden bumble bee." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The male Valley carpenter bee didn't perceive the photographer as a threat. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The male Valley carpenter bee didn't perceive the photographer as a threat. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The male Valley carpenter bee didn't perceive the photographer as a threat. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The male Valley carpenter bee protrudes his proboscis (tongue) to sip nectar from a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The male Valley carpenter bee protrudes his proboscis (tongue) to sip nectar from a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The male Valley carpenter bee protrudes his proboscis (tongue) to sip nectar from a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

And off he goes, a male Valley carpenter bee in flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
And off he goes, a male Valley carpenter bee in flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

And off he goes, a male Valley carpenter bee in flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Tower of Jewels: Aptly Named

A honey bee heads for a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii, a biennual. This image was taken in Vacaville, Calif.  (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Let's hear it for the tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. Native to the island of Tenerife and belonging to the family Boraginaceae, it can tower as high as a 10-foot Christmas tree.  It's a biennial, meaning that it takes two growing seasons to...

A honey bee heads for a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii, a biennual. This image was taken in Vacaville, Calif.  (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee heads for a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii, a biennual. This image was taken in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A honey bee heads for a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii, a biennual. This image was taken in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Nectar! Honey bees love echium due to its high nectar content. This one also yields blue pollen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Nectar! Honey bees love echium due to its high nectar content. This one also yields blue pollen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Nectar! Honey bees love echium due to its high nectar content. This one also yields blue pollen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

On the move! It's off to find another nectar-rich blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
On the move! It's off to find another nectar-rich blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

On the move! It's off to find another nectar-rich blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Time to head home to the colony and unload the nectar and pollen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Time to head home to the colony and unload the nectar and pollen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Time to head home to the colony and unload the nectar and pollen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 6:18 PM
Focus Area Tags: Environment

Tower of Beauty: Tower of Bees

A honey bee packing blue pollen as it forages on the tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The Echium wildpretii is commonly known as "The Tower of Jewels" but it ought to be known as "The Tower of Beauty." That's especially when honey bees gather to collect the blue pollen and sip the sweet nectar. Or when their wings glisten in the early...

A honey bee packing blue pollen as it forages on the tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee packing blue pollen as it forages on the tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A honey bee packing blue pollen as it forages on the tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This foraging honey bee can't get enough of the tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This foraging honey bee can't get enough of the tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This foraging honey bee can't get enough of the tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Honey bee wings glisten in the early morning sun. The tower of jewels is sometimes
Honey bee wings glisten in the early morning sun. The tower of jewels is sometimes "the tower of bees." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Honey bee wings glisten in the early morning sun. The tower of jewels is sometimes "the tower of bees." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 4:19 PM

Cover Girl

Cover Girl! Cover of the Journal of Economic Entomology shows an image of a worker bee heading toward a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

If any insect should be the "cover girl" during National Pollinator Week, it ought to be the honey bee (Apis mellifera) Specifically, it should be the worker bee, although the queen bee and drones (males) have their place, too. But it's the worker bee,...

Cover Girl! Cover of the Journal of Economic Entomology shows an image of a worker bee heading toward a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Cover Girl! Cover of the Journal of Economic Entomology shows an image of a worker bee heading toward a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Cover Girl! Cover of the Journal of Economic Entomology shows an image of a worker bee heading toward a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 5:55 PM

Celebrating the Honey Bees and Earth Day

Two honey bees forage in the tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Doom or gloom? Boom or bloom? Today is Earth Day, and millions of folks around the world stopped--at least for a moment--to pay tribute to the 46th annual observance. They planted trees, weeded their gardens, greeted pollinators, or just thought about...

Two honey bees forage in the tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Two honey bees forage in the tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Two honey bees forage in the tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A cordovan honey bee dives head first in a tower of jewels blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A cordovan honey bee dives head first in a tower of jewels blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A cordovan honey bee dives head first in a tower of jewels blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A honey bee, its tongue or proboscis extended, heads for a nectar treat. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee, its tongue or proboscis extended, heads for a nectar treat. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A honey bee, its tongue or proboscis extended, heads for a nectar treat. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, April 22, 2016 at 6:18 PM

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