The calendar may say early summer, but it has been a long, hot season already. Here in North Carolina, we had a mild winter, a really warm spring, and now summer is guaranteed to be a real scorcher too.
The last three days have been some of the hottest temperatures on record. Even though Friday's official record breaking high was 102 degrees, here at my house the thermometer registered 105 degrees. It was so hot, the city parks were empty and there weren't that many people stirring around outside. Facebook even lit up with people posting pictures of thermometers showing the miserable heat. Then on Friday night, a storm blew through Virginia and into North Carolina which caused all sorts of havoc including trees down and thousands without power. Luckily the only problem at my house was the large limb of a black walnut tree that straddles my property broke off and hit the ground in my neighbor's yard.
Even my honey bees are a tad testy because of the oppressive heat. Trying to be merciful, I had a Boardman feeder on one of the hives and figured that with that part of the entrance blocked, it had to be really hot inside. So I decided to remove it until the heat cools down in a few days. As always, I suited up and went down to take the feeder off - when WHAM, I got stung on the back of my left ankle! One of the ladies who didn't want me around the hive hit me before I knew it. She found a spot not covered by my overalls and let me have it full force. It was, without a doubt, the worst sting I've gotten this year. I've been stung three times this year, once on the ankle and the other two under my right arm (30 days apart and in the exact same spot). Oh well, just one of the few hazards of being a beekeeper.
While the sting of a honey bee hurts, it is nothing compared to a yellow jacket. I make no bones about it...I hate yellow jackets! Here was the first (and hopefully, last) nest I've found this year. It was in the back yard and I found it while I was petting my neighbor's dog over the fence. I glanced over a few feet from where I was standing and there they were...a steady stream of nasty, ill tempered devils coming out of the ground. As you can see in the picture, it was easy to find the entrance hole since it was about two inches wide and going straight down. So I waited until it got dark and sprayed it with wasp and hornet killer. While I hate using chemicals, I'm not going to get into another nest of hateful yellow jackets. Been there, done that - but no more. After I found stragglers the next day, I stuck the water hose in the hole and ran it for an hour. That apparently ended that problem since I've seen no more yellow jackets there in a week. Oh, and this was the same location where I killed a nest in 2009. Last year's nest was 6 inches from my front walkway. I don't know what it is about my yard that attracts yellow jackets, but it seems I've had to kill about one nest per year since I've moved here. Needless to say, I've gotten really good at spotting them before they spot me, thank goodness!
Hope your summer is going well! More updates later!