5.19.2016

Mason Bee House for Solitary Pollinators

Have you ever heard of Solitary Bees?

They are the most awesome pollinators that I've heard of. The Honey Bees we commonly hear of work as one big family and they have a hive that they share. They also produce honey. The Honey Bees have been in the news lately because of the Colony Collapse Disorder. From what I gather, one of the bees would return to the hive carrying a dangerous strain of bacteria which would then affect and destroy the whole colony. So the bottom line is that the bees could use all the help they can get for their survival. As many of you know, it's a symbiotic relationship between bees and us, because we rely on the bees to pollinate our orchards and vegetables.

There's a whole different type of bees called the Solitary Bees. To me, they look smaller than Honey Bees and sometimes get mistaken as flies. The photos below are called Solitary Bees that I came across a field of flowers in beautiful New Mexico.



Note that these photos have been magnified as dandelion flowers are small.
Solitary Bees have the following characteristics:
1) Instead of a hive, they create their own small nests and lay their eggs in it.
2) They don't produce honey.
3) They are more efficient than honey bees in pollinating flowers.
4) They are known to be gentle and don't sting too much.

We have partnered with Crown Bees who gave us a discount to try out their Mason Bee House. I just received the shipments today and look forward to seeing if my neighborhood would attract some of the bees. I will keep you posted. In the meantime, here are some photos of the package I purchased.

This is called the Chalet House. It's a Medium Sized House.

This is the Bee Cocoon Container called Humidibee and the Mud Box.

These are the Bee attractant, mud, and manual.
On the Right is a Pollination Pack, the Top Left is a Tray for Leafcutter Bees, and the Bottom Left is a Tray for Mason Bees.
The sellers actually suggested me to buy the Bee Cocoons. They encouraged me to do so because it would be a way of introducing the bees to the neighborhood. I declined because I wanted to see first if there are such bees in our vicinity. They also encouraged me to have a lot of flowers first. I don't have a lot of flowers yet in my backyard but my neighbors do. Because of these 2 suggestions that I am passing up on, if the bees don't use the nest, it would be entirely of my own choice and lack of preparation. But I still insisted on this setup because I truly want to see what my neighborhood has and which bees are already here. Plus I didn't want to buy a lot of bee cocoons not being sure if we had enough sources of food for them. When the bees do arrive, it would totally be worth it for me and for my neighborhood!

Stay tuned for more follow up!

3.15.2016

Anker Compact Car Jump Starter and Portable Charger Power Bank with 400A Peak Current, Advanced Safety Protection and Built-In LED Flashlight

When I received the product, I was surprised to see how small and light it was. It's hard to believe that such a small piece of device can help me to prevent calling Roadside Assistance from AAA or such, make calls to request service, wait for them to arrive, watch them use their heavy looking batteries and finally get my car started.
The closest analogy for the size of the beautifully designed, chic looking, bag is that of 3 softballs lined up next to each other. The closest analogy for the weight is also close to that of 3 softballs. However, once you open the container, the actual battery is quite small, slim, and light, almost like a square shaped flashlight. You can say almost half of the weight is from the accessories.

IMPRESSION- The material, although plastic seems to be a good quality. Again, a surprise when comparing with a car battery. What I like most is that the instruction card is simple enough to get started quickly. If I was stressed and stuck out in the cold, the last thing I need is lengthy documentation. This illustrated quick start card was great but my favorite part of all was how simple and fail safe the whole process was to jump start a car. The jump starter will even flash red and green to show you that it's ready to do it's work. In a nutshell, you connect the 2 clamps to their proper places on the car battery, you start your car within 30 seconds, then remove the clamps.

I've never jump started a car and am not an expert, but with this simplicity, I would be comfortable to do so.

I also tested its ability to charge USB devices. I tried to charge 2 devices at once, since it has 2 ports and it seemed to work just fine. My cel phone was charging at a fast enough rate- about 1% for every minute or 2.

I'm so happy to be an owner of one this device. It even has an LED looking flashlight so whether I get stranded in the wilderness, in a rainy day, or in the darkness of an evening, I would feel safe using it.

I will not post a photo of how it looks like when charging 2 items.

I also want to add that I was at 1st skeptical that it would be compatible with my mid size car that's a V6 engine. I have a 2002 Camry V-6 with a 3L gas capacity. The Jump Starter works on 3L gas or 2.5L diesel vehicle engines so it should work just fine when the occasion arises.

I was supplied a sample for test and evaluation, and I promised that my review is fair and honest.

Anker's Biggest Portable Charger Giveaway

Anker and Ingress have joined forces to keep agents on the go.
300 Astro E4 13000mAh Ingress style portable chargers up for grabs.

 
Rules:
US Only.
Giveaway ends March 20th 24:00 PDT.
Winners will be emailed directly.
Anker reserves the right of final explanation to the giveaway.