While checking our recent buckwheat and sunflower plantings, I noticed a plant that we’ve assumed was Devil’s Walking Stick covered in bees and other pollinators. Most of these shrubs/trees on our land are inaccessible, but this small one is right next to a trail. Bees were zipping from one flower to the next in a frenzy while gathering a dark-ochre pollen. There were no bees on the same plant when I went back with Hubby after supper or a few minutes ago, even though pollen is still visible.
The lack of thorns on the stem is the first give-away that this is not Devil’s Walking Stick, and the non-serrated edges of the leaves is the second.
Hubby’s research last night provided mixed opinions about sumac honey, but as we usually leave fall honey on hives, we probably won’t get to form our own opinion this year. Quite a few beekeepers also recommend using sumac seed pods as smoker fuel as it calms bees. Now we just need to figure out how to get through all the blackberries to harvest enough seed pods to test that theory. One beekeeper also reported a reduction in mites after using sumac-smoke. We’ll have to fight our way to at least a couple of trees once seed pods form. Once again, what bees appear to like or not like depends on the time of day and for 3 years we’ve been around these trees when the bees were not visiting.
The buckwheat that Hubby sowed last weekend is already sprouting, so we should have buckwheat nectar in a few weeks. The buckwheat will hopefully crowd out some of the weeds that are bound to attempt a come-back while also improving the soil. Once fall temperatures arrive, we’ll mix some clover seed in so that we have a perennial nectar source in those areas. We’re impatiently waiting for the sunflower seeds to sprout. We were late planting them and they are very popular with the local birds right now, but at least that area is prepped for next year.
Something that we’ve noticed about the lily pond is that it is teeming with bees any time a swarm is present. Once the swarm is settled, pond activity returns to normal. Now that we’ve put two-and-two together, we’re going to start looking up if we see unusual numbers of bees gathering water.
The current high heat index is making it a little easier to stay indoors and let my neck and arm heal, and the golf cart allows me to spend some time in nature when I just have to get off the couch! Life is good, and the dog days of summer at probably the best time for mandated laziness!