Monday, July 28, 2008

Bees, the Law of Averages, and another insect

Bee on a hummingbird feeder

Bees, bees everywhere! I noticed them at our hummingbird feeders soon after the rains last week. They haven't let up yet. I'm thinking of mail ordering a feeder with bee guards. They cost lots more $$, but even one would give the hummers a place to feed unmolested. We've got four "big" feeders in our Wildscape, and four 1-ounce models. The latter drip, which definitely attracts bees and wasps. But it hadn't been a problem this summer until now.

Get this: the bees even land on ME.

I'm not afraid, and I don't berserk when they do. However, when I was watering awhile ago, the thought occurred to me that one might slip under my shorts, panic, and go into attack mode.

"The law of averages is definitely gonna go against you when it comes to these bees, Sheryl," I thought. Oh, well. I figure I'll cry pretty good if one does zap me, but that's life.

Bee on my knee....

Last Saturday, when I was sitting in the back yard, I noticed numerous blackish bugs buzzing over the grass. Now and then, one would bump into the chain-link fence–thud! Like nothing had happened, it'd just try again and keep going. Hmmmm. One never stopped long enough for a good look, but I did see metallic green. That meant they were probably green June beetles (Cotinis nitida). It was funny watching them hit the fence, time after time. Some, however, flew right through with no problem.

Underside of a green june beetle (don't worry–she's alive...photographed August 17, 2008)

Friday, August 1, 2008–UPDATE–I emailed TPW biologist Mike Quinn and asked if he knew what's been going on with bees lately. Here's his July 31 response:

"Am not sure. It's possible that a feral colony may have recently established a hive near your location. You might see if they are coming and going in a particular direction and follow them back. Note: they get more defensive nearer to their hive. Also, if they are from a feral colony, then they are almost surely Africanized honey bees. Mas info aqui:"

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