Posts Tagged ‘predators’

Honeybees carrying in pollen

These bees were spotted carrying in some pollen earlier this week – yay! We’ve actually gotten a bit of rain here and there, definitely enough to make a difference since they’re finding pollen somewhere out there. Just this week, we’ve measure about 1.25 inches in the gauge. And Mark reported earlier today that Bigfoot got about two inches down there in Frio County. Nice! A fellow Texan commented on one of my Instagram shots that it is funny how excited we get over rain here. Well, it’s true. We do. We just don’t always get rain consistently so we get excited in drought years. 🙂 And then we run outside to pull our potted plants out far enough so they, too, can benefit from the natural watering from above.

Rainy evening

Next up and in light of some cool (though not really cool for our bees) pictures the beekeeper gets for me when I’m not with him in bee yards and the fact that people have questions about what dangers face the honeybees, I thought I’d show you some of the things we’ve seen in our beeyards that might impede the progress of the bees (besides man). First, here’s the very gorgeous Lynx Spider. Though not poisonous to humans, I read their bite does cause pain. Quite a bit. My awesome older bro pointed out to me, when I told him this, “All bites cause pain.” Well, that’s sort of true isn’t it? Put it in perspective for me. haha

Got another one for dinner

Back in 2006 we had our first but not our last sighting of the awful Robber Fly – nasty and reminds me of several alien-related movie creatures. Poor bees – these guys prey cleverly, following the bees around the area as they forage. And when the bees least expect it, they pounce! Grabbing them and then doing their thing. I read that they pretty much drink the life out of the bees. 0_0 Mark has gone through several robber fly swatters as he smacks them whenever he can in the bee yards.

Something wicked this way comes...what is that?!

Back to spiders – the Black Widow seems to really love hanging out in the boxes. Not sure we’ve seen them feasting on the bees but Mark’s pretty sure they want to feast on the beekeepers. Thank goodness for good gloves and that the beekeeper and crew are wearing them more this year. They get in the way and slow down work at times but it’s better than getting a kiss from one of these ladies. 😦

Biggest Black Widow I've ever seen

This one has got to be one of my favorites only in the sense that the spider is pretty awesomely unique. I mean look at those fangs and that helmet head!

Spider's dinner

One last one to show the cleverness of the bee predators – building a web right outside the front door! Poor bees don’t even see the web until it’s too late sometimes, although I did watch as several of the bees were able to disentangle themselves and scoot on inside. After a shot this, Mark got rid of the web since he had to open up the hive to tend to the bees. Good job, love.

Spider web at hive entrance

Okay, so there’s a tour of some of the dangers awaiting bees and beekeepers here in South Texas. Besides these things, we just have to keep one eye out on the fields around us – no bears but sometimes there are snakes, wild hogs, skunks, and such things. The fun things include wild turkeys, road runners, deer, fiesty donkeys (thinking about the hilarious one at Deadman Creek), lots of gorgeous birds, weird looking caterpillars and an occasional coyote or fox. Pretty awesome stuff to see. I’m sure in different areas, y’all have different threats and all sorts of loveliness to see as well. That’s one of the many rewards of beekeeping I would say.

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Mark gets to work pulling supers

You wouldn’t think this is August really if you look at that picture, would you? It’s been hot, hot, hot and dry, dry, dry. Yet I was so pleased to see all the little flowers blooming in the fields both at Big Oaks and the Pizza yards. However, when we got a closer look at Pizza yard, we did see a sign of the dry ground – a hive was down. 😦 Luckily, Mark was able to right the boxes but they sure weren’t too happy. Not horribly mean but I sure was happy I was covered up. I had about five irritated girls poking at my veil. Interesting behavior and I was fascinated. Mark said they were trying to intimidate me. Hmmm.

Looks like the ground gave way

By the way, we were ONE degree off the record temperature today, I just heard the weatherman say. It was 101 degrees! Yikes. So far, I think this is one of the hottest weeks so far this year. Booooo. Tomorrow will be 101 again. Sigh. I need a pool.

We are busy and we are thankful but you know what? I can’t wait for the beekeeper to get back to beekeeping full time! We have so much going on it’s hard to keep up with everything! He works long hours but we’re hoping that will be finished soon. I try to run errands for home and GBR during lunch hours and post work but even then we have a long list still. Speaking of which, we still haven’t finished extracting and we need to be thinking about splitting hives as well. Better than being bored I suppose. I think I’ve said it before but I don’t know how anyone could possibly be bored with life. There sure is a lot to do.

We’re gearing for Pearl again. We’re getting pretty good at it and it is going so smoothly we can hardly believe it! We’re having a good time and it’s been great for the business. Sure are happy we got accepted!

Before I leave you, I want to show you some other hazards the bees are facing again this summer…drought brings out some funny creatures. There are spiders galore!

Lurking Spider at Big Oaks

The above spider can be found all over the countryside. Around the Big Oaks yard we saw at least three big webs and many little bees caught up in them. Very smart of the spiders to build near the hives. Here’s another type of spider we saw at the Pizza yard.

Unidentified spider

Finally, despite this not being a great picture because it’s hard to focus an iPhone on a flying insect buzzing around preying another flying insect…

Robber fly & predator

Something that chases the robber fly! Remember them? I blogged about them last summer when they were abundant during the drought and they preyed on our poor little bees, catching them and draining the liquid out of our girls. Fascinating how nature works. Well I do not know what the black creature is to the left in the picture but it followed the robber fly around, zipping here and there. Then when the brown robber fly (on right and landed on a weed) would land somewhere, that black thing would hover near the fly, two appendages (not sure if they are legs or what) pop out in front and then charge it. It was pretty neat. The black thing looked like a creature out of a science fiction flick. Anyway, I find those things interesting and I love it when I get to accompany Mark to bee yards. Always seeing something new and learning. 🙂

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