Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Worth a silver spoon

Bees have been the subject of concern for quite a while, but we have plenty here if you are looking for some. A gentle humming intrigued me while I was busy with my new ploy of growing radishes yesterday. It came from this.

It's a bee swarm which grew in the next few hours into a larger triangle, while I Googled for information and discovered the network of 'swarm collectors' via the excellent website of the British Beekeeping Association. (Sorry, that seems to be down at the moment (8am in the UK), but it was working yesterday so should be OK soon). This also informed me that Solitary Bees don't swarm, not suprisingly. I've always been attracted by the Solitary Bee which sounds like Kipling's The Cat That Walked By Himself from the Just-so Stories. Wikipedia chipped in too, with an ancient adage:

A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July isn't worth a fly.

So we've got the right month. 

The moth trap is dark at the moment because we have an auntie staying and the glow might keep her awake; but the rest of the natural world has more than made up for this. Apart from the bees, we discovered this delicate little slow worm while digging a flowerbed.

In its honour, and also to mark the Auntie Visit, we have hoisted one of my favourite flags: the American revolutionaries' rattlesnake with its sensible health and safety advice.

We were also visited by a cardinal beetle, below, and this toad, at the bottom, which looks a bit underfed, although the garden is full of toad diet such as grubs, worms and slugs. Anything which eats slugs also has my warm approval.

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