Oh Death, Where is Thy Sting?
As a follow-up to the recent Press piece and blog post about the state of the honeybee:
Someone in church had read about the topic in my column. He had one hive. All his bees disappeared without a trace, he told me, after my limited survey of a few beekeepers I know showed a low impact of Colony Collapse Disorder among Floyd County’s hives.
But he also made the observation that some time this summer, in June or July, he noticed all the paper wasps disappeared out his outbuildings. And so did the mud daubers. And he said he didn’t have any problem with yellow jackets this year, which is very unusual.
As I thought back over my observations of the bees and wasps this summer, as I said, I saw far more honeybees. But we also had a large paper wasp nest in our shed, covered early with a few dozen wasps. Well before it should have been abandoned by the adults, the nest was free of wasps. I looked for a mud daubers nest in early July to show the grand daughters the spiders inside; there were none where we usually have many.
And this is the first summer in living memory I did not get stung even once by yellow jackets. We never found hives in the pasture to avoid in our walks–not a one.
I wrote earlier about the decline in swallowtail populations this summer, and many people locally and at a distance had similar experience. This could all be local cycles or the power of suggestion.
What do you think?