Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ah, nature - observations in the back yard

Mining bees - no, I don't mean "mining" as a verb but as an adjective.

Last week I began seeing these little holes all over the backyard. Now, the rectory back yard is dreadful - very little grass, lots of dirt (read mud!) - so the holes were clearly visible. I thought, "I wonder what has hatched?" But I kept seeing them, even after rain, and more, and more. I also observed an influx of what looked like bumblebees (although take that in the generic - they look like bumble bees, or even carpenter bees, but they're not). Yesterday I looked up "ground bees" and found "Mining Bees".

Yes indeed, the entire back yard of the rectory is infested with mining bee colonies. The post assures me the males are incapable of stinging, and that the females seldom sting. It also includes a plea not to try to eradicate them. In the face of the decimation of native honey bees any bees are good bees, necessary for the pollination not only of flowers but of many vegetable crops.

At any rate, it says, it will take more than one year of insecticides to get rid of the underground colonies.

Tell that to Xena, Labrador Mix Warrior Princess of all Norwalk, who is on a mission to dig these critters up, was found yesterday trying to get one bee off her left front kicker, and is trying to eat those she brings down. (sigh)

Meanwhile, the lavendar sets I planted out last spring, which looked like nothing so much as dead for good, are beginning to show green leaves among the dead ones. The birds are screaming outside earlier and earlier in the morning - today the blasted robins were at it at 4:00! So Miss Xena decided it was time to get me up, just in case the birds hadn't already done an excellent job of chasing sleep off already!

Still, the post on the bees says they will be around only for 2 to 4 weeks. There will be lavendar in the garden again. And as an avid birder, I thank God for them, even as I curse the hour of their early morning racket.

Spring - ya gotta love it!

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