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The Birds and the Bees

May 9th, 2009 · 8 Comments

I am having problems with both birds and bees.

First, the birds: My peaches are ripening on the tree in my back yard, and there are lots of bites and nibbles. The worst part is that birds will eat them at a greener state than I will, so they spoil them before they are ripe enough for me.

I put up a net over the tree, but birds, with their excellent eyesight, can find any little hole in the net to get in. Unfortunately, once they get in under the net they aren’t nearly as good at finding the hole again to get out. So each morning I get up to find 2-3 birds stuck inside the net, sometimes with feathers tangled up in the mesh. I have to raise up one side of the net and then chase them out. At least 2-3 birds a day don’t eat as many peaches as however many were getting to them before, but I’m selfish and want them all to myself. Little by little I’ll find and patch those holes.

You remember a couple of weeks ago that I had bees in my garage. I called a bee expert who came and judged that they were just scouting and would probably move on. I vacuumed them up and he fixed a few holes, and that was that.

Yesterday we noticed hundreds of bees again, near where they had been before, but in an area untouched by the bee man. The stucco wall extends out slightly from the foundation, and there are little holes on the bottom, presumably to let any water out that may get in. The bees were going in and out of one of those holes as if they lived there. So I set up the vacuum cleaner hose an inch or so away from the bee-hole and just let it run. It was fascinating to sit and watch as bee after bee got too close and disappeared with a “thwip”, sometimes several in a second. It didn’t take long (an hour, maybe) until there were very few bees left buzzing around outside. The inside of the vacuum had hundreds–maybe a thousand bees.

The beauty of the vacuum method of bee removal is that when a bee is stressed or injured, it secretes a pheromone that excites other bees and incites them to attack. But with the vacuum, the bee and any pheromones are immediately removed from the area before they know anything is amiss. The other bees never realize that anything is wrong, though I’m sure eventually they are bothered by all their sisters gone missing. They hive must become a lonely place, like an old Twilight Zone episode where all the people suddenly disappear from the earth.

Tags: Family Updates

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Donna // May 9, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Does the vacuum kill the bees or do you end up with a bunch of live bees in the canister?

    Save some of those peaches for me! they aren’t ripe for another couple months or so, are they?

  • 2 Don // May 9, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    You may actually have a hive started there in your wall. You need my bee man. 😉

  • 3 Daryl // May 10, 2009 at 9:10 am

    The vacuum doesn’t immediately kill them. If I go out in the garage to look at the tank (which is clear) I can see the top ones wiggling around. But below the top quarter inch or so they are dead.

    After sucking up about 2000 bees, I’m sure I have an active hive. If the vacuum method doesn’t eliminate them after another day or so I will have to call in an expert. I don’t want to pay travel expenses for your bee man, Don, so will probably find someone local. I hope they don’t have to tear the wall apart…

  • 4 Mom // May 10, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Just out of curiosity, isn’t there just one female, the queen, and the rest are brothers (drones) instead of sisters? I remember something about it, but it’s been a long time. Maybe it’s like a beauty contest, and they vote the prettiest female in as queen.

  • 5 Daryl // May 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    There is one fertile female, the queen. The drones are males whose only responsibility is mating once in their life as a queen flies off to found a new colony.

    The vast majority of bees are worker bees, which are infertile females.

  • 6 Don // May 10, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    I don’t know what they do if you have a hive in your wall and you don’t want them to tear it apart. There must be something they could spray that will kill them.

    My bee man will be sad though. He hates to see bees destroyed. 😉

  • 7 Daryl // May 10, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    They stopped flying around this afternoon after I sucked up an0ther few hundred bees, but I can hear them buzzing in the wall. I sprayed some poison up inside the holes through which they entered.

    Hopefully that will kill them. Hopefully they won’t stink too badly after they die. I hate to think of tearing up the walls.

  • 8 Don // May 11, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I don’t think dead bees have any bad smell. At least I wouldn’t think they would.