Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Birds & Bees

Sunday Papi was watching a red-breasted robin in the grass. He wandered into the master bath where some full-length windows afforded him a better view and sat on my exercise ball which was in the giant, jetted British racing green bathtub.  The robin, he told me, had been jumping around in the grass since he mowed the lawn, and now it was just sitting there.  He was worried it was injured.

Ian & Emma in the bubbles

While Papi was watching for signs of health from the robin**, he spotted some dust outside floating down from the top of the window.  We looked down and there was a pile of sawdust on the windowsill.  What the heck?!  Like the Indian tracker he must have been in a previous life, Papi listened to the sun, tasted the wind, smelled the clouds, and heard the sound of wings flapping.  Sure enough he located  two round concave excavations in the casing and a crazy dinosaur of a bee that was making them.  He silently shushed me and we heard the scratchy, scratchy, crunchy, crunchy of a bee eating our house.

The wait for the exterminator to arrive was brief.  He came the next morning and wanted to get a look by 9:00 AM when the bulls get active.  He informed me that we have carpenter bees and the big brute I saw is the bull bee.  He will put a queen down into the tunnel that he is trying to dig.  For a few minutes we were rather worried because we could not find any tunnels anywhere else, but Papi's tracking kicked in and he found they had eaten into some saw horses in the car port and some supposedly pressure treated wood used the hang the gutters.  Carpenter bees will destroy a house faster and do more damage than termites according to Q'town's own Superior Exterminators.  I was happy we got this latest nuisance under control and now are armed and ready to do battle next year.

That fuzzy bee I followed around and photographed two weeks ago was probably a carpenter bee.  They gather pollen and deposit it with their eggs in their tunnels.  They don't make honey, but they do attract woodpeckers.  A badly infested structure will be terribly undermined, literally, by the tunnels, and when the woodpeckers come they can peck it apart.  When the azaleas bloom we need to start looking for bees.  In June, just when it is too late to trim azaleas if we want blossoms the next year, the bees will disappear into their nests and not come out until the following spring.

**Even though Papi didn't believe that I saw the robin hop across the yard and return to the exact same spot, I know that crazy bird was fine because the next afternoon, after vacating his post for an entire day, he was back again sitting in the grass outside the bathroom window.  I suspect there is some insect or another that he is after.  But that will be a battle for another day.

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