Yesterday I went to help Chris and Lucy attempt to rescue a bee swarm 60 ft up in a Lobolly pine tree at a summer camp nearby. This late in the year when bees swarm the chances of them surviving the winter is pretty slim. Bee hives need to store at least 40 pounds of honey to make it though the winter and need to be a large enough colony to make a cluster at least as big as a soccer ball, bigger would be much better. The more bees in a cluster the more effective they are at warming the brood and themselves for the next generation. Collecting the swarm would give them a better chance of survival as the beekeeper can feed them all winter long and give them better odds at making it through the winter.
Before heading out yesterday I placed a sticky board at the bottom of our hive to check for mites, this morning the results came in 3-4 mites, 15 would be bad, so we passed inspection for now. Also saw our first Small Hive Beetle and the board had a dead beetle larva on it.
Rain, yes this morning perhaps an half inch of rain fell. The lower rain tote overflow drain worked for the first time, it watered the camellia bush very good. The upper rain tote of the shed still is no way near full. So we have perhaps 350 gallons of rain water in storage, more than we have ever had. Currently with the two totes we could store around 550 gallons.
Tomorrow is the Durham Butterfly Count I'll be leading a group or going by myself (Meg and Sharna are here but they are spending time with Meg's son who is leaving to go overseas with the army very soon.) The normal butterfly areas I have covered in the past look pretty dismal from lack of rain and mowing by the highway department. So I'll be covering the Eno River State Park which I know very well. The state parks manage their mowing much better than the highway department so I should do fairly well there.
We had a Common Wood-Nymph in the tomato patch today, normally we see one every other year or so here.