I’ve been walking around Reading, placing little packets of seeds (that I make myself) with my business card stapled to them on people’s porches. I’ve also been handing them out to anyone who wants to plant them. I’ll also send one to any subscriber who requests one. If you are one of the lucky ones who has received one, here is a partial list of the flowers you should expect next year:
Poppy (white, red, pink)
Globe Thistle (purple)
Honey bees and butterflies love all of these flowers. You can go out and sprinkle them right away if you want to. I wouldn’t put them all in one spot, because some of them get pretty big, such as the chia plants and the sunflowers. Most of the seeds are very tiny, so just put a tiny pinch here and there. They will all reseed themselves and spread in following years. Please let me know how they do and send me pictures.
Most people hate wasps, but I don’t. When I was a little kid, my dad took down a neighbor’s wasp nest and put it in a jar for me and I thought it was the coolest thing. I’ve loved them ever since. As long as they are not right next to your door or a high traffic area, they usually won’t bother you at all. Many times, they kind of get used to you walking by. One time, I saw a large nest under a lifeguard’s post at a busy pool. The lifeguard sat up there and kids were running back and forth but the wasps never attacked anyone. I don’t think anyone even knew it was there but me. If I get a call about an exterior wasp nest, I will place the nest and wasps in a wooden box with an opening for them to get in and out. After they settle down, I’ll cover the hole and take them to my bee sanctuary where they can do what they do unharmed. (Update: No I won’t. I’ll put them somewhere else) Then I can watch them hunt and carry their prey back to the nest. (Here is a cool video of a Bald-faced Hornet battling a giant Horsefly). If their prey happens to be too many of my honeybees (unlikely), well then I’ll just have to move them further away.
Yellowjacket nests in walls are a different story. I wouldn’t attempt to cut a large yellowjacket nest out of a wall. I’ve been unsuccessful at spraying them for people. I would suggest that a professional pest-control company take care of them. If you have a yellowjacket nest in a wall, I recommend the following local pest control companies who do not exterminate honey bees:
I’ve been watching some really cool videos on Youtube about how to set up bumble bee nest boxes. Here is just one good one. You can make a box and hope they use it, or you can actually catch a queen and confine her to the nest box with some food until she lays eggs and then release her. Once she lays eggs, she will not abandon the nest. I’ve never tried it before, but I’m definitely going to have a couple of these for 2016. The bumble bees don’t make nice, neat combs the way honey bees do. Their nests look pretty messy to me, but I’m going to try some of the honey anyway. I see them on marigolds alot, and there are alot of marigolds in the gardens surrounding my beeyard. I have a collection of various marigold seeds to plant next spring, so bumble bee marigold honey is most likely what I’ll be eating. If you’ve had any luck doing this or eating bumble bee honey, tell me about it.
To the uninitiated, this is a swarm of honey bees. This is what I’m after. I have dreams about these things. I started ilovebees.buzz as a way to get more of these. Have you ever seen one? If you have, that means an established colony is probably nearby. Let me know where you’ve seen them so I can place a bait hive (or swarm trap) in that area. I have about 20 bait hives that I need to find places for this spring. In my bait hives, I place a frame of old comb and some swarm attractant. Its the coolest thing ever to check your bait hives and see bees flying in and out. You usually have no idea where they came from. They could be from some beekeeper’s hive or from a colony in a tree or building. I’ll leave them in there for a couple days to fill out some foundationless frames, and then transfer them to their new location.