Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Birds and Bees

It's been a busy time in the garden. Birds flit about non stop building nests and feeding their young with never a quiet moment as they sing their individual songs. We can learn from them - to be joyful every day no matter the weather or hardships. So often when they have gone to all the trouble of rearing a chick or two, the chick is killed by another bird or animal, and they just carry on with life.
A pied barbet hammering away at the fig tree.

Where I live we are very blessed with an abundant bird life. If there are aphids on a plant, you can bet a white eye or two will be busy having a feast. The thrushes poke about in dead leaves looking for grubs and worms, and are as effective as chickens in getting rid of unwanted creepies. A weaver bird has made hundreds of nests in a wild peach that overhangs my garden wall, and each one has been rejected. I love the sound the weavers make. I have been on holiday to some places in the UK where there is not a single bird call and where I am struck by the dead silence in the early mornings. It's a sad fact that millions of birds have died as a result of insecticide use.

Birds bring joy to the garden and are important to keep the balance of nature. If birds die out insects will take over. Some evenings I can hear owls hooting. Because of people using rat poison, owls are often poisoned. We need owls too!

From birds to bees. It's been quite an adventure! I now have a second hive and was given a swarm to put in, and the bees are very happy. They settled in immediately and I can't wait to have a peep to see how they are progressing with their comb making. I have been harvesting honey from hive no 1 and I got severely stung when the bees crawled up under my bee suit, without me realising it. However with the use of herbs, it was soon quite bearable and I healed very quickly. Lessons are to be learned every day!
It is amazing how serene one feels when just watching the bees go about their daily work. On the whole they don't bother one at all, they just go about their daily business with dedication. On occasion they might be a bit defensive but one learns not to aggravate them by digging too close to them, or cutting grass too near them. These are danger signals for bees and they can get irritated. Usually one or two will dart about threatening to sting. People are very scared of swarms, but when bees are swarming, they are not dangerous at all. They are too busy protecting the queen and looking for a new home.

If a swarm is disturbed in an aggressive way in the hive or nesting spot, that is a different story. Then they will be an aggressive swarm and can kill a dog or a person. This happens rarely, but always makes the headlines!! Recently a dog disturbed a swarm that was nesting in someone's compost heap and they attacked and killed him. This is nobody's fault, as the swarm wasn't in a hive.
I have three dogs and they very rarely get stung. They understand not to go sniffing around the hive, and even know they shouldn't go into the bee garden. It's all a matter of respect.

A frame of capped honey


Nature deserves our respect because nature is perfect. We are the ones to mess up the balance of nature. Let's give it some thought and take the time to enjoy the parks and gardens with respect!

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