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Posts Tagged ‘spiders’

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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Chinaberry above the backyard hives

Let me start off with the good. Look at the lovely Chinaberry blooming out back, just above the backyard hives we have set up here at the little Bee Ranch. Lovely. I first noticed they were beginning to bud out during the March bee class and I made a note to check again. Love looking at them. As we drove to market this morning in SA, I noticed that more of these had bloomed all along Highway 281; so pretty! I also enjoyed seeing the spreads of Bluebonnets, Primroses, Indian Blankets, Horsemint (yay!), and several other flowers I didn’t know names of this morning. I love this time of year. Weather’s still enjoyable and cool-ish. 🙂 No 3-digit oven temps just yet.

And now for something a little less good. 😦 I just want to share these things with everyone so that our new beekeepers (who are hopefully reading our blog posts as we suggested or joined up with a local bee club) will also be on the alert.

Brown Recluse in observation hive

So you know what that is? We looked at many pictures to confirm it…brown recluse. Yuck. And what’s that you see under her? Egg sack perhaps!? Double yuck. I sure was not happy when Mark showed me that picture. This little beauty was actually ON our observation hive that we pulled out of the garage for the first time this year. It’s been in there since the weather turned cold and we stopped taking our bees to markets. If he hadn’t gotten the box out for display, that means more than likely that sack of tiny, terrible babies would be all over our garage! 😦 Thank God things happen they way they did. He killed the spider and got rid of the sack as well. Between the rattlesnake den and the brown recluse plus sack and all the crawling, long, fuzzy black caterpillars…it’s amazing Smokey’s not been carried off somewhere. We’re going to have to really watch ourselves (minus caterpillar danger) and you should also.

For new beekeepers, please keep in mind that things crawl in and out of our bee boxes all the time so take precautions when you are checking your hives. Which you should be doing now. If you don’t recall, last year during harvest, we ran across black widows under the lids on some hives. Danger! Just be careful out there.

Biggest Black Widow I've ever seen

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