Monday, September 8, 2014

Let Me Tell You 'Bout the Birds and the Bees

Recall how I said a whole series of problems have to be overcome before you can begin to take good pictures of hummingbirds? Over the weekend, I accidentally added one more when I joggled the feeder a little too much and caused some of the sugar water to leak out around the edge of the feeder. This resulted in yellow jackets finding the feeder, hanging around and inviting other family members to the luau.

How do bees find sugar water? Answers I read on the internet did not convince me that scientists really know. I was fishing on the Chesapeake Bay one time and we were not within sight of land on any side. I popped a soft drink open and within two minutes, there was a yellow jacket claiming it was his. How does that happen over open water and miles from land?

I tried taking the feeder down, rinsing it good and refilling it. They still came. I tried moving the feeder to a different spot. The yellow jackets found it before the hummingbirds did. Once I moved it, you could see them sending out scouts all over the lawn looking for the feeder.

There is nothing meaner than a angry yellow jacket with a short fuse or a disturbed paper wasp. I would look down and discover one flying around me checking me out. Sometimes they were just above the ground around my feet hovering back and forth, trying to zero in on where the feeder went. I was afraid I was going to be stung accidentally.

They were even going after the hummingbirds. And I don't mean a little! They were chasing them all the way across the yard. That'll put you off you feed. And I was afraid it was going to cause the hummers to leave and not come back.

So I made an executive decision to go purchase another feeder at the hardware store. Although it appears to be a similar design, there is a difference which makes it less likely it will overflow or leak and attract more bees. The upside - and I didn't realize when I purchased it - is that the feeder is very photogenic.

The bees had to check this one out too, but once they discovered they couldn't get any sugar water out of it, they left it alone and disappeared. By the end of the day, they were gone. We have had a feeder for years and that was the first time I ever had a problem like that.

That's all I got on the birds and the bees. What? You were expecting something else?...

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