Pear Becomes Bumblebee Banquet

My neighbor’s pear tree drops fruit at the end of August and into September right outside my back door every year. I pick up the fruit every morning, very carefully, so that I don’t inadvertently step on a yellow jacket—the largest number of visitors to these pears has always been yellow jackets, and the only thing crankier than a yellow jacket is a yellow jacket in August, but I have seen only one or two in the last couple of weeks. However, when I stepped out after lunch to toss my compostables into the bin, I noticed a pear covered in insects. Before my eyes  even focussed, I was thinking, “Oh no! Bald-face hornets!”—the only hymenopteran I have run into that is meaner than a yellow jacket. Thankfully, I was wrong.

Six bumblebees share a pear for lunch. That big orange saddlebag on the uppermost bee is pollen. Photographed on August 26, 2019.

My best guess is that these are eastern bumblebees. They susurrate their way through the grape hyacinths in the spring, which is very joyful to listen to and to watch. They buzz and bustle at each flower, and move around very busily, a completely different behavior than their calm approach to the pear in the photograph above, or to Echinacea. The bustling activity turns to be buzz pollination, a critical thing if you like tomatoes, blueberries, or cranberries, to name a few crops.

I will be putting some of the fruit where it cannot get stepped on for the bumblebees. They are clearly hungry, and probably thirsty. We have very little rain this month. Fortunately, rain is in the forecast for the next couple of days.

More Rain Today Than in the Month of June

I cannot believe I’m saying this, but I was very happy to be blasted out of bed shortly after 5 a.m. by very loud thunder. When I looked out the window, the rain garden had plenty of puddling in it, so it was doing its job keeping at least some of the rain from running off down the sidewalk and into the overtaxed storm drains.

By 8 a.m., the silver maple had stopped dripping enough that I could walk around and enjoy my second cup of coffee. The hydrangeas looked terrific. Looking more closely, I realized that a month with many more promises of rain than actual rain had taken its toll. The flowers heads are smaller than usual, and the individual flowers are quite a bit smaller, but the green of the leaves was already shifting from that piny, water-stressed blue green to a much brighter and greener green.

Annabelle hydrangea, closeup. The individual flowers are just over half of their usual diameter, due to a very dry June. Usually the petals hide the stems behind them completely. Photographed July 7, 2017.

Continue reading “More Rain Today Than in the Month of June”