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Danélle Cutting: Warm weather and bees are raising questions

Beekeeper

Cooperative Extension Bryan Fisher, a local beekeeper, touching a swarm of bees. He is not wearing any protective equipment and he is handling the bees gently.

Cooperative Extension Bryan Fisher, a local beekeeper, touching a swarm of bees. He is not wearing any protective equipment and he is handling the bees gently.

We have had some beautiful spring weather lately and it has been a joy to get out and work in the nice temperatures. A lot of times, when it is this nice, I like to take the opportunity to take some photos of the landscape, and this week I have seen some gorgeous cool season crops.

Our office has received a few questions that I have answered below:

Question: What are these bees coming out of my ground? I don’t have a lot of lawn and don’t want them to injure what I have. Also, will they attack me?

Answer: These are ground nesting bees and they are attracted to the sparse areas in your lawn. They are solitary bees and are very docile because they do not have a hive to protect. Although they are fairly docile I still would not recommend picking them up. Solitary or ground nesting bees are also a very important pollinator and actually pollinate many of our crops better than the European honeybee. I would request that you do not apply any insecticide because they are so beneficial, but to help you deter them from creating their “homes” in your lawn you can use a few of these methods: soil sampling and improving your lawn, seeding your lawn in the fall to get a better stand of grass, mulching your area, or irrigating to get a healthier lawn. For more information on ground nesting bees see this website:

https://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/O&T/lawn/note100/note100.html

Question: I have had some bees swarm near my house and I am scared that it will happen again, what can I do to prevent this?

Answer: Swarms of honeybees are actually when the bees are the most docile, they do not have a hive to protect and when they swarm scout bees will be on the lookout for a new home. When you see a person with a mass of bees on their face (Google Bee beards for a funny laugh) they are mocking what happens during a swarm. Do not be afraid of the swarms and instead of trying to kill the bees, pick up the phone and give our office a call. We can match your site to a local beekeeper who will collect those bees for free. Then you can thank yourself for saving a pollinators life.

Question: I have heard that we are going to get a frost soon, with all of the warm weather I planted all of my tomatoes and squash. Will my plants be OK through the frost?

Answer: It all depends on how cold we get, if we get a hard frost your plants are not likely to survive without the aid of a row cover or a protective covering like a cloche. I never plant my summer garden before tax day (April 15) because that day coincides perfectly with our last frost. Tomatoes, squash, corn and peppers will be sensitive to the frost and are usually killed off by one of our frosts.

If you have questions concerning bees, swarms or how a potential frost will injure your vegetables call your local agent, Danelle Cutting, at 704-216-8970.

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