Atlanta Fruitman’s Blog

Spring has sprung
April 4, 2010, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

…. and with a vengeance!! Flowers are everywhere and bees are working overtime.  “…sound and perfume swirl in the evening air.” (Debussy via Art of Noise). My Nanking cherries and Hall’s Hardy Almond has bloomed and past; now the Stella Cherry, Blueberries, Goumi, Currants, Hardy Citrus and Crabapple.  Even the ones that are not blooming are waking up sooner than expected.

Everything is off to a good start.  We had some good soaking rains last month, but recently it has been dry.  This means the flowers are strong and I hope the low humidity will keep disease pressures at bay. Also these bright warm days we have had make for perfect pollination weather. Swarms of bees are in my yard all happy and working like there is no tomorrow. I have seen many kinds of bees and wasps of the native bees are rare in my yard.

Some of the star pollinators are the Carpenter bees. I know there is a love hate relationship between these monsters of bees.  Any exposed wood becomes a potential home for them to bore out holes. Luckily my eaves have not seen any damage, but I do have to watch for them in the green house. The males will startle many people as they try to defend a certain territory, but they do not really care about people they just to make sure you not a another bee. After flying around your head a few time the go back to their post till they find another male bee to challenge.  I have seen some all out bee battles I my yard too. I also get a number bumblebees in the yard. Often confused with Carpenter bees, they tend to be a little smaller with more fuzzy abdomens. I get plenty of mason bees. They are small bees with a bulbous abdomen that is black with slight blue iridescence.  Many would mistake them for a fly at first.  Their buzzing sound is very similar. These may be progeny of the ones a bought in a kit two years ago, that I keep a “condo unit” for in the back yard. In the same units I get leaf cutter bees – that seem to use thin strips of grass for their nest, and Giant Resin Bees that are near the size of carpenter bees. Some bees I don’t see often have been showing up regularly this year. I saw few green sweat bees and a huge swarm of what I thin k are yellow-faced bees doing the work that the honeybees should be doing.

Oddly enough, I have not seen the ubiquitous honeybee recently.  When the Nanking cherries first came out, there were plenty of them – they love this particular bush for there is nothing else blooming at the time they wake up. I am sure they are hungry after winter for new forage. But now I have not seen even one in the last week or two.  Did I say something wrong?  Could they have found more tasty nectar somewhere else? Seems very odd.  I like honey making friends.

My flowers are still pollinated though.  There was once I was worried about pollination, but the quantity of bees I see all over the yard even with out the honey bees have assured me that the flowers are visited many times a day.

Cove Currant blooms

Hall's Hardy Almond blossom

Crabapple blossom (possibly Dolgo or Centennial)

flowering Flying Dragon

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