We raise mason bees. Or at least we used to. Mason bees are an easy way to get your feet wet with bees without all the expensive gear or the risk of getting stung. This year we watched all of our little mason bees hatch out of their cocoons and bask in the sun on their top of the line mason bee house with reusable plastic trays (which we switched to after the squirrels discovered our more basic mason bee houses filled with cardboard tubes where the bees live and lay their eggs - the squirrels started eating all the baby bees and pollen out of the tubes like they were pixie sticks.) After basking for a few hours the bees flew off in search of pollen and mud (which they use to plug up the holes they lay their eggs in.) We waited calmly for them to come back and start filling up their tubes. And we waited. And waited. And waited. It has been several weeks now with no sign of our bees. Usually we will see them coming and going from the house and the tubes will begin to plug up with mud but not this year. I don't know if they all flew off in search of greener pastures, so to speak, or if they were killed off by the pesticides the neighbors used on their homes this spring. At any rate, we have no bees and no clue as to why. For now, it remains a mystery. We were concerned that we would have to expand our operation this year and add a second house but now we will be lucky to have any bees at all next year.
other news, a bobcat has been spotted in our neighborhood. This has us
concerned, as you would expect, for the safety of our chickens and ducks
which currently roam freely throughout our backyard. A six foot wooden
fence probably isn't much of a deterrent when there is an easy meal on
the other side of it. We are trying now to find a way to cover the
chicken run so that the chickens stay confined inside of it. I am as yet
unsure what we will do to protect Minna and Maggie because they need
access to their pool during the day. The makeshift catio under the deck
will not work for long because in a couple of weeks we will no longer
have a deck. It needs to be redone from the ground up but that is a
headache for another day. In the meantime, let us hope that the bobcat
stays occupied with rats and other small creatures further down the
street and leaves our yard alone.