Last week, I mentioned that our one hive in the city was abandoned right after the eclipse. The bees were a swarm capture, and they were doing really well, so it was a surprise to walk up there one day and find no bees whatsoever. What’s currently more surprising is that there are no bees to be seen at all in our yard.
Over at my husband’s workplace and the stores around there, bees are searching for resources in trashcans, showing that there is a definite nectar (sugar) dearth five miles from here. Our neighbor at the farm is seeing the same thing — bees are going after what is left in soda cans. This is something we haven’t seen before, and we assume it has something to do with the high winds and the torrential rains from Hurricane Irma.
In hopes of attracting some bees to the back yard and maybe capturing a fall swarm, I put out a syrup bucket early yesterday morning. Our thought was that even if we don’t capture a swarm, we are helping local bees survive until the ubiquitous Goldenrod recovers enough to provide them what they need leading into winter. After two days, we don’t have a single bee on the bucket. I sprayed some extra Honey-B-Healthy around the bucket this morning as that is as enticing to a bee as good cheesecake is to me, but still no bees. I just have to wonder whether the media-induced frenzy about mosquitoes has led to the death of all feral hives within 2 miles of our home, especially considering the EPA-confirmed pesticide kill we experienced last year.
Bees routinely fly up to two miles to find resources, and even further if that becomes necessary. Of course, like us, they will “shop” locally if the “stores” offer what they need. Bees five miles from here are dumpster-diving for sugary drinks with lots of added chemicals; it makes no sense that we do not have a single bee on our zinnias, clover, garlic flowers, or syrup. Here’s hoping that changes soon…..
Better news is that we have very little damage at the farm.
Our neighbors had already checked for damage right after the storm, but hubby was actually able to go down and check things out for himself this weekend. One pine came down in the bee yard. While it crushed a few empty hive boxes, it missed all of the hives , and all the hives are happily buzzing now that temperatures are back in the 80s.
A huge, rotten pine that was hung up in a tree along the street edge of the property also came down, smashing the H-brace at the creek end of the fence. We have worried about this tree since before we bought the property because there was no good way to bring it down. It was tall enough to hit the power line if it fell badly, and rotten enough to be a real danger to anyone trying to take it down. Luckily it did what hubby always hoped it would do and split in the middle, dropping half the tree to the ground and (unluckily) the rest of the tree onto the fence. We are just happy that it didn’t damage the power line,.
We have a few other, smaller trees down along the fence and two trees along the driveway that need to come down. We’ll tackle them next weekend when we are both down there — it’s going be a two-person job to bring them down safely.
All-in-all we consider ourselves to be very, very lucky to have not sustained more damage than we did. Our RV suffered no damage and the power wasn’t off long enough to let the ice in the freezer melt. (A country tip for checking to see if the power goes off — put a Dixie cup of water in the freezer and place a coin on top of the ice before you leave. If the coin is still on top when you come back, everything is good. If the coin is on the bottom, you probably want to throw away any food that’s in there!)
Now we’re just hoping the systems currently in the Atlantic stay in the Atlantic! Family in Texas is still drying out from Harvey and we’ll be cleaning up from Irma for a while. Florida simply doesn’t need any more wind or rain for a while. Our hearts go out to all of those who have sustained damage to their homes and businesses and our hearts are full of gratitude to all the people who have given so much to help those in need.