Riverlogue

This blog originates on the banks of the Atchafalaya River, in Louisiana. It proposes to share the things that happen on and by the river as the seasons progress. As the river changes from quiet, warm, slow flow to rises of eighteen feet or more, there are changes in the lives of the birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles that use the river. And the mood of the river changes with the seasons. I propose to note and comment on these things.

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Location: Butte La Rose, Louisiana, United States

I transitioned a few years ago from a career as a water-pollution control biologist. I want to do this blog to stay in touch with a world outside my everyday surroundings, whatever they may be. I like open-minded company and the discussion of ideas. Photo by Brad Moon.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bees

This morning I have a bee problem, which is actually better than having no bee problem due to having no bees. I have a wild bee hive in the yard because about four years ago I built a rather large “roost box” out of western cedar, and attached it to a tree. To my knowledge, no roosting ever took place in the box, but two years ago a vagrant group of bees took up residence and they seem likely to remain. So, local bees are always around and that’s not the problem. Having NO bees would be a 10 on a scale of 10, having my problem is maybe a 1 on that scale. Come to think of it, given the overall situation, maybe it’s not even a 1. What it is, is, the hummer population has increased at its usual pace and they were taking down 8-oz feeders in one day or less. This morning I switched to the larger feeders and one of these is the problem. It is the one right outside my window so I see it up close all day. The design of this feeder is such that it has the vent holes around the top rim of the base. I’m a little sloppy, I guess, when I fill the feeders and I leave some sugar water on the outside, even though I do rinse them off. Well, the bees found this new feeder about ten minutes after I put it out this morning, and if you ever had any doubt about them talking to each other in the hive and telling their sisters about where the new source of food was, you would have had to have seen what happened. About twenty minutes after I put the feeder out, shortly after the first bees found it, there were at least 300 bees around that feeder. Even as aggressive as the hummers are, you could tell they were more than a little impressed by the sheer numbers of bees flying around. I have nothing against committing this feeder to the bees, but they were so active that more than a few were finding their way through the vent holes, into the base and actually drowning in the nectar. I finally had to go out there and take down the feeder while this swarm was still focused on it (ancillary information: apparently not Africanized bees) and do a temporary patch job on the vent holes . I stuffed cotton into the vents all around the base – result: air in, bees out (picture shows the cotton). Again re the communication efficiency they have, within ten minutes the big bunch had disappeared. Now I see one or two, could these be keeping in touch in case the big food source suddenly reappeared? Of course not, or at least I doubt it a lot…. I think...

I had a lot of items to put in here today but I’ve been trying to finish writing this post since about 10:00am and I’ve only gotten this far due to various interesting things. I have to wrap it up.

One more thing, Ray was out here this afternoon to get shrimp from his traps (there are a lot) and while he was I took the opportunity to push the raft out from the bank a little. Well, no. It’s stuck, so I jumped in the water/mud and tried to pry it off of the bank, no luck. There is plenty of water to float the logs near the bank, but apparently the big log on the outside has found something about six feet deep that it’s hung on. I’m thinking that here we are until next December. But keep reading.

The river is at 5.2 on the Butte La Rose gauge and staying steady for the next few days. Hold the phone! All those big storms that went through the Midwest last week are making a difference in the Ohio, causing rises of 3 feet/day or more at Paducah (Tennessee/Ohio River confluence) and Smithland. That water will begin to reach here in about a week, and my raft should float off of whatever it’s hung on. Ain’t nature great! Unfortunately more water won’t fix the fact that the trotline is hung up too. I have to fix that tomorrow. Oh well….

Rise and Shine, Jim

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April 10, 2006 6:00 PM  
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