Thursday, August 01, 2013

Late summer afternoon...

I took another whack of bee photos yesterday. I particularly like this one:

Honey bee on wild (aka poison) parsnip. You can get a bad reaction from the sap of this plant. I avoid touching it, but I don't seem to react much when it accidentally brushes against me. Nonetheless, I was careful when I wandered into it for bee photos! The roots are edible but you have to be careful digging them up.

My four new beehives are doing incredibly well. I'm taking off 10 honey supers this Saturday. We'll see how much is in there. These aren't all full, but I will be putting some back on after the bees fill up the new brood box I put on each hive. Brood boxes are the "deep" boxes. You can see two at the bottom of each of these hives. It's where the queen lays eggs and where baby bees are born. :)

I just love sitting back here, listening to the bees. So beautiful! I have an old bench near the hives.

Tristan appreciated the break. He is having some minor surgery next week to remove a big growth on his gum, but because he's a senior, it's worrisome to have him put under. But he needs to get the thing off.

And here's Miss Sophie...

She was not looking adoringly at me. Rather, she wanted to eat the honey bee sitting on the purple flower just to the left of her eye! She is terrible for catching and eating bees and wasps. She and Tristan have both done this so many times that they must be completely immune to the venom. They never seem to have any reaction!

And here's a worker bee foraging on white clover.

She's an old gal and will likely succumb soon. You can tell, because her wings have ragged edged and her thorax is not as hairy as a younger bee's would be. The hair wears off as the bees age. Foraging is the last job a bee performs for the hive before death. Often they just drop dead in the fields from exhaustion!

But they do love their clover.

Sipping that nectar to make me some beautiful honey!

And the wild parsnip is pretty tasty too.

And for you butterfly lovers (who isn't?)

A Black Swallowtail. I have seen very few butterflies this summer, and not a single Monarch. It's very distressing. Their numbers are in freefall and scientists are unsure whether or not they can bounce back.  People really need to wake the hell up to what's happening out there. Monarchs and honey bees will die off first, but it won't end there, my friends. :(

And here's a funky little dude!

I don't know what kind of fly he is, but I liked him.

And of course I will give you your duckling fix!



  1. Love the bee on clover.Oh my goodness, those babies. I'll be praying for Tristan to have a quick recovery from surgery. Big {{{hug}}}, Deb

  2. Sophie as Ophelia....gorgeous!
    Jane x

  3. Natalie these photos are outstanding.....that camera and new lens are outstanding.

  4. You worked hard on this post. I sing from the same page as you when it comes to the state of the environment. Too many people think that we will be able to fix whatever happens. they seem to think that if they lose a few nasty things like bees life will still go on. I've got news for them. We need a healthy eco system to survive. And I don't mean the bees are nasty but many ignorant people would consider them to be nasty.

  5. Anonymous11:42 pm

    Outstanding photos as usual. Love it when you give insight into the life of bees -- I enjoy my visitors so much more. I have noticed a dip in butterfly numbers, but we've been in a drought for the past 5 years or so (if that makes a difference). We've had more rain this year and I've seen more butterflies and dragonflies this summer.


  6. Again, such beautiful photos. Give Tristan a little tickle from me; hope it all goes well for him.

  7. Prayers for Tristan. I wonder if I should also pray for the Monarch butterflies? And the poor little bees, working to the point of exhaustion to produce the honey I love, or being zapped in the air and eaten by Sophie and Tristan? Nature seems to be cruel at times, but also so sweet when I look at the adorable ducklings.

  8. Please be super careful with Tristan! Take him to a specialist if need be! I lost my soulmate senior kitty to a simple surgery 5 years ago, and now I'm just horrified of surgeries.

  9. Beautiful photos. I've seen only two butterflies this summer, and I have a garden full of their plants. When I saw the second one yesterday it struck me.

  10. I have seen only one Monarch this summer and I think it must have been an escapee from the butterfly tent over at the Como Zoo a few miles away. Wherever I go, I keep looking for milkweed plants that show signs of caterpillar munching.
    Milkweeds are not supposed to have pristine leaves! I'm so glad your beehives are thriving.

  11. I know black swallowtails well -- their caterpillars like to munch on the leaves of my carrot plants.

  12. Oh, I want 7 ducklings!!!

    Your photos are incredible, even the ones of bees! I've actually noticed I'm growing a little numb to those... but that may not be a good thing.

  13. Lovely! You know, if you ever want a guest...I clean and stuff.

  14. I love your bee shots! So great and such detail. It always makes me a little sad when I see a bee out foraging with tattered wings because I know she's at the end of her life.

    Thanks for my daily duckling fix! Sooo cute!

  15. Gorgeous photos! Our goldenrod is just starting to bloom here, and the weather is cooling off, finally! I've seen some yellow and black swallowtails here but no monarchs.

  16. I wonder if honey entirely from poison parsnip would be poisonous

  17. A lovely set of photos. I particularly like your top one of the bee. Wow!!!

    I rather like the one of the butterfly too.

  18. Anonymous11:01 pm

    Great pics of the bees. My butterfly count has been way down this summer too. Could be partly linked to the wet weather, I guess. Do you know local apiaries that have been hit by the colony collapse thing?

  19. I haven't visited for awhile. Oh what I've been missing! Such wonderful photos. Can I please ask what type of camera you are using? Happy to hear Tristan got through the surgery. Anya (

    1. Hi Anya! It's a Nikon D7100 DSLR and I love it!


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!