Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Eastern Amber wing 6.29.15

These little guys hang around my Passion Vine.


Sure hope they are not munching on my little caterpillars.019c

I guess one is a male and the other a female….but not sure.


On June 6 2009 I came home and spotted one on my bottlebrush bush…

Got my step ladder out and started taking pictures.

I almost got sun stroke I was out there so long…and it was hot.


I think this link will take you to it. If not just type Eastern Amber wing into the search box and it will come up.

I wasn’t able to get nice pictures like in that post. I was thrilled when I downloaded them to the computer.

I took this picture from the post… It looks like it has a clown face.

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Our workers 6.3.15

These little guys used to come in the yard and raid my bird feeders.


I decided to put them to work. Our yard has a weed that takes over everything. Years ago my Mom tried killing it with weed killer and it just kept coming back.

I don’t like pesticides or herbicides so the Raccoons are helping us out.


We have a “feral” cat feeder that Jim built to feed our cats when we are away…Raccoons can’t get into it.

I keep a bag of dog food around, but use cat food from the feeder every couple of days.

I toss it along the edge of the woods in the deepest vines.

This one is feeling around with it’s front feet looking for a piece…


They have to dig around and in doing that it helps flatten out some of the vines…keeps them from climbing.

The cats enjoy the show…


Some days I only see one…..but there is a set of three that come in together….here are two of them.


and the third one.


Look at this cute little face….It knows I am looking at it. I snapped this picture and it was gone.


We like to keep them skittish….when they see us get up and walk around they head for the bushes…same if we go outside. Don’t want them to get used to people…someone else might just kill them.

They can be destructive but they’ve been pretty good since I started giving them the old food. It’s tiny pieces and they have to search through all the weeds to find it…

They don’t find enough to fill them up and I think we are just one of the stops they make during the day.

I toss the food first thing in the morning so I get to watch them while having my coffee….along with  the squirrels…doves…Honey Bees….Butterflies…I check my bushes each day to see how the caterpillars are growing….never gets dull around here.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Passion Flower caterpillars 5.30.15

My Passion Flower is really filling out and has lots of blooms.


Two butterflies use this as a larval plant.

The Zebra Longwing….


Here she is laying eggs on the new growth at the end of the vine.


They lay several eggs in the same spot. The caterpillars are yellow when very small then become white with black spikes.


You can see the difference here….they like to stay together on the plant.


This is the Gulf Fritillary….


She lays her eggs on the broad leaves. If you look close you can see two near the bloom.

Her caterpillars are reddish with black spikes.


They don’t group like the Longwings do. So far, I’ve only spotted these two but there are plenty of eggs….one just below the caterpillar.

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In this photo you can see the skin the white one shed.


Butterflies and caterpillars are fascinating…

Wasps get some of the caterpillars and the little lizards. I guess that is natures way…if all the eggs survived there would be no plant left to feed them.

I started another with a few sticks to grow on.


I also have one started up a Cabbage Palm. I checked it this morning and it has half a dozen caterpillars on it too.

They grow wild along the road into our place and I take a few to plant in my yard.

The blooms have a beautiful fragrance and I hope to have them climbing all over my front porch…the breeze comes from there and would push it inside when the weather is cool enough to have the doors open….usually early morning, then I have to close up….at least during the summer.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sunrise in the Hammock 5.27.15

Our Bat House

I love the Sable Palms…..this is looking to the West…during the hurricanes in ‘04 this was bent at a right angle but is still standing….many just snapped off.
This is a VERY tall tree.
 looking southeast…..

We never really noticed these 3 until Jim cut down all the dead trees…..now they make a beautiful skyline.
We do have some pretty sunrises.

Hen Turkey 5.26.15

She found the seed that was dropped when the bird feeder fell.

She wandered around and checked out the yard.

She was here for a few hours….the cats took some interest but decided she was too big or something….just laid down and went to sleep.

Love her eyes.
I tossed her some cracked corn which she ran to and ate. Now that she knows there is food available and she is fairly safe…I hope she comes back.

We used to have 10 that came in everyday for corn….but not for a few years.

Friday, May 22, 2015

No more Bee Box 5.21.15

This was our Bee Box. It was intended to be a squirrel box but a swarm moved in.

If you look close at the photo you can see the top of my bird feeder hanging on the cable.


Thursday afternoon we had a pretty good storm with hard rain….around 8pm I looked out and saw something on the ground….no bee box in the tree.

It was still windy and raining so we grabbed a hive bottom and 3 supers….I put frames in the bottom super and left the other two empty so we could put the comb in it.

We picked up all the comb and put it inside…it had fallen on it’s side and the comb was all squished together…lots of dead bees.

I stacked it with as much space between them as possible.

I put the front against the stand so they could climb up.

We had to use a piece of board for a cover since we didn’t have one.


This is the top.


There were a lot of bees still alive.


The next morning I made up 10 deep frames…took the box and frame hanger Jim made…the wheel barrow for the comb and box parts.


I used 3 pieces of string for each frame….


I cut and saved the best parts of the comb…tied it with string…


and hung them in the box Jim made. We use this for holding the frames when we are ready to take some honey…I get the bees off then he puts it inside and covers it so the bees don’t get back on them.


If the bees decide to stay they will attach the comb to the top of the frame and eventually remove all the string. I’ve seen them do it.024c

What is really confusing is ….how did it knock down the bird feeder?  There was seed all over the comb…and the bee box was under this cover.


I had the comb stacked inside these empty supers…If we had been prepared and it wasn’t raining we would have just put it in the frames.



I have no idea if there is a live Queen…I find it hard to believe she made it…

I put all the comb that was cut away and the ones too damaged to save in the wheel barrow for the bees to clean up.


Once the frames were done…we pulled the frames out of the bottom super…put the second one on and then put the frames with comb inside….7 frames…3 empty frames.

I put the super on top to let the bees climb down.

We left everything like that till later in the day so the bees could clean up.

I called my neighbor, George, to see if he still had some hive parts left…I needed an inner cover, a cover and another super. He brought them to us. Thanks George!!!


While I was removing frames and the empty super..Jim filled the bird feeder and hung it up. He had to make a few repairs first.


This morning there was a lot of activity around the hive…there was also a large clump of bees on the right end of the cart.


Suddenly it looked like they were in swarm mode and most went to the top of a tree….a few minutes later they came back and most went back to the same end of the cart.

It took several hours but they finally settled down …I think into the hive but not sure.

I suited up and removed the tray  (small hive beetle trap) to see how many bee bodies were in it….it was about half full of seed, bodies, hive beetles and larva and honey.

It is going to keep them busy cleaning up that comb.


Here is some of the comb that wasn’t saved.


lots of dead bees.




There was a lot of larva…I hope there is some that survived and they are able to use one to make a new Queen if she didn’t make it.

I was encouraged when they swarmed this morning…they grouped in the tree like any other swarm….it wasn’t long and they came back…so not sure.

I wasn’t interested in having a 3rd hive but we’ll be happy if they make it.

I have it on a wheeled cart so I can move it a little each day till we can put it on the hive stand.

Wish them luck.