Saturday, 16 May 2020

Good News, Bad News

First the bad news.

None of my honey bee colonies survived the winter, despite it being an exceptionally mild one. Last week I was sitting out on the back deck when I smelled something that reminded me of pipe tobacco smoke. Humongous agricultural machinery was planting soy beans and corn in fields surrounding our property. Slowly it dawned on me. That smell. Pipe tobacco? Nicotine? Neonicotinoid coated seed? Neonicotinoid pesticide is responsible for much accidental honey bee poisoning. Due to the vast industrial farming in my area, I believe honey bee health is too much at risk. After eleven years of beekeeping (thanks to my cousin, Peter) I'm reluctantly taking a 'bee break'.

Now for the good news.

Our weather is much nicer now and migrating birds have returned and are cheering up our gardens. The sight and sounds of them are pure delight! And goodness knows, our spirits need lifting after the past few months of pandemic devastation!


This Baltimore Oreole requested and received it's accustomed treat of grape jam.


A lovely pair of Barn Swallows have decided to nest in my garage.


A screech owl taking day refuse in it's normally winter-time-only hide out.


This alert looking rabbit has lost most of it's winter coat.


The floor of our bush lot is greening up nicely. Wonderful spicy scent of opening buds.


This brook found a small dam to babble over. Music to my ears!

Was delighted to discover this Eastern Blue Bird using one of my nest boxes.


Welcome back, little one. You are the highlight of my day!


I certainly hope the pipe encasing the post will keep nest predators off.


What, a cactus this far north?


Oh, it's just Jimmy (or Jenny) Skunk digging for grubs.



The best news, of course, is that countries around the world are slowly, but cautiously re-opening for business. None of my personal acquaintances (as far as I know) caught the dreaded virus. I sure hope you and your's stay safe as well.

10 comments:

  1. Pesticide smells can fly for miles, years ago one of our cats reacted to the 245D smell and sniffed a long length of grass up her nose to probably ease the itch. Short story, it went down her throat, got lodged, a vet visit full anaesthetic, and was tweezered out. No wonder the bees didn't survive. Maybe another year you can start again, meantime those beautiful feathered friends will enjoy the goodies laid out for them, beautiful colours.

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    1. Quite the upsetting event for your poor cat, Jean. I wonder if I'll live to see all pesticides banned outright. Probably not but I live in hope. Greetings to beautiful N.Z.

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  2. Aww I am so sorry about your bees. Dang it, we need those wonderful pollinators. I hadn't heard about the coated seeds. Nice bit of detective work there.
    I loved your wild life pics and had to smile at the skunk. Barn swallows are one of my favorites. They have the cutest shaped heads.

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    1. Yes, I'm quite depressed over my honey bee deaths, Patti. I understand that Europe banned neonicinoid pesticide outright but other countries have given way to agri-business chemical suppliers. Glad to hear you are also a barn swallow fan. I absolutely love their twittery conversations with each other. Wish I could understand their language. I love them!

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  3. Florence, so sorry to read about the honeybees... I have an old classmate who keeps bees in Ohio and she's pretty passionate about their survival & why. On the plus side, loved the pictures--especially the oreole and that sweet skunk! Your pics are always the best :)

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    1. Thanks for the bee loss sympathy, Doug. I'll bet your old classmate knows all about the perils of industrial agriculture pesticide use. Gets in the soil and water also. Nasty stuff! Yes, I love my bird friends. They used to be the pest controllers when Rex and I were pups and small scale farming was the norm. (sigh)

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  4. That is a shame, your bees.
    Great critters. The skunk is amazing!!!!!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer, for letting me cry on your shoulder. Yes, I love watching my resident skunks. They seem to have one thing on their minds -- grubs, grubs and more grubs!

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  5. Well that is terrible news, Florence. Sad when this happens and overall tragic for our world.
    Love all the critters and bird photos. How are the MCnutties faring? Like your masks.

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    1. Yes, Jocelyn I feel badly about losing my honey bees. I'll have to make do with bumble and other native bees to keep me company as I putter about the gardens. The McNutties are doing fantastic. They are such busy little characters and I expect their chicks will hatch soon. And best of all, they don't migrate so I get to enjoy them all winter as well.

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