Scoot, scoot, go that way
Wednesday April 05th 2023, 9:50 pm
Filed under: Garden

There were four of them at first. Quite docile. They were interested in the starter pots filled with composted lobster and crab shells where the seeds had never sprouted–but not the pots where they had–they were exploring every place in them where there was any indentation in the soil and twice, an abdomen throbbed downward into such a spot.

What on earth (literally) were they doing? There were no flowers there.

Well then it must not have been honeybees, he said.

I went back out and took pictures, this one being the clearest. I looked them up just to be sure. Classic worker bees from everything I could find.

At one point there were at least six, and since they were investigating right where the seedlings are that I’m tending to every day it seemed like this could escalate quickly.

Our elderly neighbors years ago had honeybees move into their compost pile, and after I saw them swarming one afternoon above the fence between our yards, the husband told me he was setting up an actual hive for them. We chatted about how my fruit trees would help feed them well.

Jim passed away and I haven’t asked his widow if that is still there.

I don’t want a break-off hive setting up camp…quite…there.

So I moved those two sets of starter pots several feet away. Nudge, nudge. I probably should have taken them farther but first I wanted to see if they would follow them.

They ran away from my approach but came back, looking for them. One persisted for an hour as the sun faded, zigzagging back and forth over where the one had been, then the other. It’s like the figure-8 dance they teach elementary school kids about had become a mobius strip that had broken. Straight lines back and forth where IS that thing it was just here guys I promise it was!

I tried to gently chase it in the right direction–they’re right over there!–but it wasn’t having it.

One of those sets was apricot kernels that had never sprouted; I think the other was tomatoes that didn’t, but the windstorms blew my markers away.

No loss there, others grew and I have definitely enough of both.

I’m delighted to have proof that the honeybees are still around.

But maybe not quite so close to the back door? (Just don’t burrow into the house, that’s all I really ask. Hopefully the 17-month-old house paint will discourage that?)

4 Comments so far
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Oh dear…

Comment by Jayleen Hatmaker 04.06.23 @ 7:22 am

And now beekeeping…one thing sure does lead to another!

Comment by ccr in MA 04.06.23 @ 8:57 am

Thank you for always sharing the latest buzz!

Comment by DebbieR 04.06.23 @ 9:23 am

I imagine they were finding something sweet in the decomposition of the crabshells. Chitin is a polymer of sugars! If there isn’t an actual cavity that is big enough for about 30,000 bees, you don’t have to worry about them moving in.

Your photo, I think, captures one of the best ID features for a honeybee – hairy eyeballs! Very few other bees have them.

Comment by twinsetellen 04.09.23 @ 6:46 pm

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