Sunday, April 24, 2011

Buttercups in Bloom

From spring through fall there are yellow wildflowers in bloom along forest margins, roadsides, and unplowed farm fields. The flowers are actually a sequence of species that bloom at different times. These plants are able to secure insect pollination by not competing with but a few species in attracting the available insects. Buttercups are the first yellow wildflowers to carpet the ground in the Arkansas Delta. They will be followed by groundsel, tickseed coreopsis, golden asters, bitterweed, and goldenrod. Pollinators like the honey bee and moth shown in today’s photo are attracted to the bright, yellow buttercup flowers, which have a waxy surface giving the flower the appearance of being wet with dew.

In the Mid-South, the spring of the year always sees the clash of warm, damp air rising from the Gulf of Mexico meeting the year’s final arctic cold fronts. The result is predictable rainfall to support ample flowering plants for the honey bees and other pollinators. Strong cold fronts bring violent thunderstorms and tornadoes to the region. Peace Bee Farm and the surrounding area were struck by a series of severe storms over the past three weeks. Blown from a barn, broken lumber and sheets of steel roofing struck queen mating nucleus hives, scattering hives and bees. Small clusters of bees sheltered young queens in nucleus hives exposed to the weather. I added nurse bees to boost the population of these hives. Roofers placed temporary coverings over our house’s damaged roof. Lighting struck the honey house, and damaged some honey-handling equipment. An electrician rapidly repaired the wiring; burned fans and lighting fixtures were replaced. The electrical power lines were damaged as well. A lineman in a tall bucket truck repaired wind-strained wiring and replaced fuses. All of these workers efforts are especially appreciated after such storms. Each worked cheerfully conducting important, tiresome, and sometimes dangerous repair tasks. After a short upheaval, our bees remain in dry hives, and honey flows from the honey house. Thanks to all.
--Richard

2 comments:

  1. hoping that May is a kinder month than April to you and your bees.

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  2. Luddite,
    Thanks to you for your kind sentiments. I offer a special thank you to the utility and construction workers who repair our electrical lines and buildings. They protect us and help us recover from the forces of nature.
    --Richard

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