Lia and her kids arrived in the early afternoon this past Saturday. Its been hard having them live so far away. That makes it even nicer to have a nice extended visit. I'm enjoying having the Romero children wandering our yard and little woods. Fortunately, we have berries to pick, fires to be built, and lots of other things to hold their attention.
I took down my mason bee nests in mid June. I store them indoors until I can harvest the cocoons in September. It was just in the nick of time. When I pulled out the nest blocks I found parasitic wasps that were intent on laying their eggs on the mason bee pupae. These little wasps, just half the length of my little fingernail, have an ovipositor that can penetrate a half inch of wood in order to lay their eggs on a pupating mason bee. Last year I failed to take down the nests in time and lost of about 25 percent of my cocoons to these "cute" little wasps. There are many different species of parasitic wasps and the vast majority of them are considered beneficial insects. However, this one targets a beneficial insect rather than a garden pest.
I have a lot of little hazel nuts developing on my trees. All I need now is a serious squirrel eradication program. I've always considered squirrels as rats that have a cute bushy tail and better PR. I will also give them credit for being a lot cleaner than a rat. I think our squirrels derive most of their nourishment from Linda's bird feeder. The primary ingredient in the bird feed we use is hulled sunflower seeds.
|The tiny dark insects on the back of the mason bee nest box are parasitic wasps|
|I have lots of nuts developing on my three little hazel nut trees|
Coincidentally, soon after her arrival, my grand daughter, Sofia, asked me if she could kill, skin, and eat some of my squirrels. She thinks learning to hunt to obtain your own food is an important survival skill she needs to develop. It appears the Romeros may have over-emphasized preparedness in some of their family home evening lessons. Nonetheless, I am very happy to have Sofia practice her survival skills on our local squirrel population. I'm not sure when she is going to find the time to do that as she is currently at EFY in Tacoma. She returns this Saturday and leaves the following week to attend girls camp with the Kang girls in Oregon. The week after girls camp we have cousin camp. Obviously, she is going to be very short of the idle time needed for squirrel hunting.