Finding a bees nest this time of year is not unusual. Finding three in one day is unlikely and finding three different kinds in one day is practically unheard of but it happened today.
Mike was moving some logs with the teeth of the front loader tractor from the back landing to the closer landing, when all of a sudden he had bees swarming around him. He stayed on the tractor and hauled the log all the way forward before setting it down near the other logs in the landing. He saw bees hanging around but not as many as he saw when he first picked up the log. With closer inspection he noticed the log had a hollow end and the bees had moved into the hollow and had a good sized nest in there. Continue reading
I know, I know, bees are good. But me and bees do not get along so I avoid them and consequently they do not bother me a whole lot. Except for last year. Last year was bee nirvana, they were everywhere. It was mostly yellow jackets and wasps that were sneaking up and attacking without notice, sometimes one bee many times or with a swarm hitting all at once. They were in the woods, they were at picnics, they were in the dark and they were in the light. They hid under lawn chairs, and in the beds of pickups, they built nests in the ground and high in rafters. I was hoping that this year we would have some relief from the pesky buzzers.
With the extremely warm week we had last month, the bees seemed to have kicked into gear and I have been hearing about several people getting stung even though we are in a cooler stretch right now. Mike was moving closing a barn door and disturbed a nest that he didn’t know about until he was running, swatting, losing his eyeglasses and hat in the commotion. All told it was about ten stings. And they seemed to pack a pretty good wallop because he did swell up and he usually doesn’t.
A puffy eye, two knots behind his ears, several stings on top of his head, and a couple on his neck was what he got out of the deal. The paper wasps got a good shot of Bee Bopper before the nest was torn down and smashed.
Be careful out there, it may be another bee year…
The Daphne bushes outside the dinning room window are coated in sweet smelling blooms. Early in April they were already attracting bees as the buds started to form. Near the middle of April the hummingbirds began flitting around the bushes, and today I saw the first swallowtail butterfly of the season as it danced from bloom to bloom.
Oh, and did I mention that it is also the perfect lookout spot for our striped barn cat? He hangs around nestled between the Daphne while he waits for the day to begin.
Springtime is bringing warmer weather. The grass is greening up (as are the weeds), daffodils are bright yellow and the flowering cherry tree is all decked out in pretty pink. The sweet smelling Daphne bushes are close to blooming and the sage is sending out new earthy-toned tips.
Hummingbirds, Juncos and a few bees have been spotted hanging around the burgeoning plants and it won’t be long before the other flowering trees and large leaf maples start to fill out. The robins are coming into the pastures in droves to feast on the plentiful worm population.
The bulls in the bull pen seem oblivious to the flowers and trees, birds and bees, they are spending their time finding the newest stems of grass as they traverse the acreage of the pen. We open up the gates at opposite ends of the barn so they can take turns nibbling on grass as it grows keeping both sides from getting overgrown or over-grazed.
It is no surprise around here, everyone is talking about it, it is a bad bee year. Even in May we noticed a larger than average amount of bees especially wasps and hornets, and the weather had not yet turned savagely hot or dry at that stage yet. Now with the blackberries, plums, apples and pears all ripening and full of sweet juice, the bees are becoming downright dangerous. Continue reading
The plums have gotten to the point where they are still crisp with just a hint of tangy-ness to them. Just right in my book.
Some have also started falling off the tree, so the job of ‘hoover-ing’ up the fallen fruit is given to the dogs just until the cows are moved from the far field. Normally, the cows would make the fruit circuit to the apple, plum and pear trees that are growing in the pastures near the river. But with the herd a couple of fields away, the dogs are more than happy to take up the slack by cleaning up under the trees at every opportunity.
It is a good thing that our critters enjoy the fruit as well as they do because the downed fruit attracts bees with the sticky juice. This is one of those years where the bees are everywhere and stings are a constant concern.
While mowing down the tough grasses and weeds in the pastures, I try to get the edges under the trees because those darn Canadian Thistles love to grow in those protected areas. I duck under branches of fir and big leaf maples and back under the branches, driving the tractor with the rotary mower as far as I can to reach the weeds. Continue reading