Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Of Honeybees and Cheap Japanese Horror Flicks

This winter has been very, very mild.  I'd even venture so far as to say it was hot.  Granted it's the end of winter, but it's going to be near 90 degrees today!

Although I have to admit that I've been thoroughly enjoying the warm winter, I'm more than a bit concerned for the fruit trees.  The nectarine trees started blooming almost two weeks ago and the peaches started last week.  Last year's area fruit crop was pretty much a flop, I think for the same reason. There just didn't seem to be enough pollinators up and about yet.  We had a gazillion blooms, but no fruit.  

While I was admiring the beautiful blooms of the peaches yesterday I was also looking for bees.  I only saw two bees; they weren't honeybees, but some other kind I have yet to identify.  We normally have a red wasp that I've seen visiting the fruit and vegetable flowers, but they haven't emerged yet.

I suppose I shouldn't really fret too much as our trees are still very young and we were going to cut the young fruits off anyhow in order to let the tree put it's energy into a good root and branch system.  But it is troublesome knowing that just a few short years ago we had honeybees covering the red bud trees and carpeting the patches of clover in the yard.  We stumbled upon a bee tree four years ago, but the following year, they were all gone.  Hopefully they just moved on to bigger and better foraging areas.  

Paul, Rhiannon and I were wandering around the property yesterday just before dusk and made our way back to the house and the front yard where the fruit trees are.  And there were hundreds of moths fluttering around the trees!  I though that maybe they were just there because we were there and wanted to annoy us (as many bugs seem to enjoy doing this very thing), but they were visiting the flower blooms!  And not just, "Oh, a moth just so happened to land upon a flower" kind'a thing, but going from flower to flower!  

I'm going to try and catch one or two tonight and see if I can identify them just for the heck of it.  Knowing my luck, they are some sort of moth that feeds on nectar and then lay their eggs on a variety of my vegetable plants where the emerging caterpillars will chow down on my potential harvest.

I think I'm also going to start seriously looking into what we need to do in order to get a honeybee colony started, even if it's just for the pollinating services.  And honey would definitely be an added bonus.  Especially given the alternative:

Mothra trying to invade my hoop houses


  1. Holy Moly... near ninety degrees?!? I thought it was bad here (it's 75 in Denver today).

    You know, for the past week or so I just haven't been able to shake the feeling that I'm incredibly behind. I'm not really behind... it just feels like I am. I think it's because my senses keep telling me I should be planting the tomatoes not the peas!

  2. I am reinstalling a hive this spring, after losing mine last year. It is so iffy, this beekeeping thing. Two of three friends with hives did fine, while one lost hers. Go figure. I have been urging the white clover in my so-called front yard just to keep them happy. And to make sure I don't have to mow it. I'm going for the non-mown yard.

  3. Wow, we are only in the high 70s this week here in the Arizona desert! You guys are way too hot!!
    We do have bees but you know what, almost ALL bees here are now Africanized bees so we have to be careful. A beekeeper I know said he gets new bees about every three years because they just become too aggressive!

  4. You can also look into Mason Bees; "Blue orchard and hornfaced bees are spring season pollinators and will only sting if squeezed or stepped on. As such, they are beneficial and benign, since they both pollinate the plants and are safe for children and pets." Wiki.

  5. Well, come on. Mothra wouldn't be so bad, would it? I was thinking of bees today as well, but only because I know its that time of year when we have to get my youngest's Epi-Pen renewed... :( Welcome Spring!

  6. I've been contemplating bees as well. We had initially planned for this spring but have now put if off for another year. We've got too much on our plates to bring another species into the mix at the moment.
    I'm not as familiar with peaches but I know that apples need a certain number of 'cold days' to set fruit. Are peaches the same? I heard someone worrying about apple crops further south because of the warm winter.

  7. Our neighboring watermelon farms bring in bee hives every year so this isn't something we worry about. When we had a swimming pool, we couldn't keep them away. It seemed to be the filter motor noise that attracted them. Hmmm....

  8. EcoCatLady, it wasn't that hot....only got to 87! And it seems like we're all behind because the weather is like a MONTH ahead!

    Susan, oooo, beehive installation....sounds like a good subject for a blog post (hint-hint). I've also been encouraging white clover in the front yard, it doesn't grow as fast and keeps what bees we do have happy. Just don't walk barefoot without keeping your eyes on the ground!

    Candy, yes, it's just too darned hot. We were sweating outside while pulling weeds, icky!

    Chai Chai, I saw an article on Mason Bees and the little tube houses you can build for them to encourage them to stick around...but of course never got around to it. Some day. :)

    MamaTea, Epi-pens, hugh? Beehives not in your future then I suppose?

    Judy, I didn't think about the cold days requirement thingy....if I were a betting gal, I'd say that we did NOT get enough freezing weather. There goes another fruit crop!

    Hoosier Girl, now THAT'S a nice neighbor to have; they rent the bees & you get to use them for free!

  9. Here's hoping the moths will step in to fill the role of the bees until the bees are able to recover whatever is causing their disturbance. And may they recover sooner, rather than later!

  10. Charade, the moths were back again in full force tonight, although I think half of them were at my door trying to get inside the house!

  11. I thought about bees. I just dont think I could work with them though. You know, them being bees and all. Lol. Someone else could for me though. Hehehe