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View Diary: The Daily Bucket -- Horror in the Strawberries? (106 comments)

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  •  I've lived in this house since 1981. (13+ / 0-)

    I have a short acre of land, with pasture to the east of my house, here in SW WA State in Clark County.

    I noticed over a decade ago that bees were not showing up in their normal numbers. But the past 3-5 years we have seen less and less honey & bumble bees, but an upturn in the numbers of yellow jackets and wasps.

    Last year, the wasps and yellow jackets disappeared entirely.

    Then something crazy happened last week.

    A bee swarm landed in the Bridal Veil bush outside my kitchen door. A honey bee swarm!

    They were all juvenile bees (1/3 the size of normal honey bees in this area).

    The swarm was here for 2-3 days, and eventually headed northwest into the old-growth Douglas Fir-lined canyon (about 20 yards deep) which spans the northern edge of our neighbor's property. It looked like there were at least a few hundred of bees and possibly as many as a thousand in the swarm.

    It amazed my two grandkids, whom I had to admonish NOT to swat at the bees, but to just turn away and walk from them. These kids are 8 years old and they had NEVER seen a honeybee up close and did not know how to act around them, even though I have a lot of flowering bushes and plants in the close yard and about 1/8 of the pasture is covered in Blackberry vines.  

    I've also seen a couple of bumble bees this spring (although they are not the size of the ones which used to fill me with terror and send me running for the house a couple of decades ago), in the lilacs and Rhododendron trees in my north yard.

    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

    by Angie in WA State on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:11:49 AM PDT

    •  Workers? (13+ / 0-)
      I've also seen a couple of bumble bees this spring (although they are not the size of the ones which used to fill me with terror and send me running for the house a couple of decades ago).
      Have you determined if the bumble bees you're seeing are workers, rather than queens? The queens are more than twice as large as workers of the same species. The queens appear early, browse early blooming flowers, then start colonies that they don't leave, for the most part, until the Fall.

      One phenomena I've noted among queen bumble bees is that at times, when they encounter a human, they will fly in a complete circle around you several times, and then leave. It's as if they are checking you out, but being safe about it!

      Not being allergic to bee or wasp stings, I do check bees out closely sometimes. They are fascinating up close!

      "Treat others as you would like them to treat you." -St. Luke 6: 31 (NEB) Christians are given a tough assignment here: Love the people you don't even like...

      by paz3 on Sat May 25, 2013 at 10:39:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  then there are the Golden Bees (12+ / 0-)

        which I would like to start a religious cult about, but that gig is probably taken too..grrr.

        The Golden Bee is the large male Carpenter Bee that appears for just a couple of weeks in latre spring.

        They stake out a bush or small tree and circle, inspecting everything coming their way.

        They fly right up and look you right in the eye, and there is an intelligent spark there..heh, at least for me anyway :>

          They also wham into honey bees going thru their patch, it is loud crackling noise, then both fly off like no big deal, I meant to do that. They follow any insect passing thru...they are about a solid inch long, and heavy. The females are the black Carpenter bees, a colonial bee that is more commonly seen.

        I captured one in a jar once, and it stayed centered in the jar, staring at my face, the whole time.

        I released it back in the yard and it went right back to it's same patch.

        When another comes by they circle each other until one goes away. Occasionally one will land for just a moment.

        I thought they were some predatory insect cause they seemed so aggressive.

        But they are just horny.

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Sat May 25, 2013 at 12:28:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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