We thought we were fostering a little Eden in Sonoma, but we may be in the middle of a rude awakening. Through all the scary stories of disappearing bees and colony collapse disorder, I took heart in the fact that our land was swarming with bees. Once the lavender fields bloomed, the place was buzzing. Literally. As in turn up your iPod louder to hear over the collective hum of the bees. We harvested the lavender a few weeks ago for oil and dried flowers. And now the bees are gone. We had a classic “Winnie the Pooh Honey Tree”, an old hollow oak that hosted a huge hive of bees. I just went down to check on it, and nothing. Not a bee. Not a bee body. Just a little lizard running in and out of what used to be the front door of the hive.
That started a frantic run around the property looking for bees. Hordes of butterflies and dragonflies were out, but no bees. Until I got to Lake Charles. Then I found a few bees sipping water and flying around. So there are bees somewhere. Hopefully they swarmed, which is basically when a huge part of the colony decides things are becoming too crowded, breaks off from the main hive and swarms out to establish a new colony. Sort of like the flight to the suburbs. But that pattern leaves some bees in the original colony. And that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Finding the bees down at Lake Charles reminded me of another disappearing population. Where the hell have all our frogs gone? We had an explosion of tadpoles this spring, then they started growing legs and hopping around. Suddenly, no more frogs. The pond,which is quite shallow, did heat up and get an unfortunately algae bloom at the height of the summer. So I’m hoping the frogs made a mass exodus down the hill to the seasonal creek which is always cool. Or maybe all the birds I’ve seen flocking around the pond ate them.
In any case, here is a pesticide-free bit of land and we’re still seeing things disappear. Or maybe I’m overreacting and am really looking at a seasonal migration.
In any case, we still have Spanish moss in the trees which I’m told is the first thing to die in polluted air.