Bee-witched, Bothered, and Bewildered

August 3, 2009

Bumblebee on Flowering Rush

Bumblebee on Pickerel Rush

Oh hey, y’all best be careful or I’m gonna sting you with my stinger.  Oh, no!  But then I’se gon’ die if I sting you.  You know what?  I’m not gonna sting y’all after all, and that’s my choice.  Y’all ain’t worth it.  I’m just gonna head on over to that flower and suck on that stamen like there’s no tomorrow.

Mayor Bee, Family Guy


Bees everywhere today–at least three different kinds.  There have been about 15-20 bumblebees congregating around the pickerel rush flowers at any given time this morning.  The flowers are high enough from the water that the bees are relatively safe from the frogs.  We haven’t even seen any attempts at bumblebee eats.  Some of a smaller type of bee, a honey bee, have been visiting the black-eyed susan flowers en masse.  We have also seen many very tiny bees, about the size of mosquitoes, hovering around all of the flower types.


We continue to be bothered by the mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis) .  Once we discovered their love for tadpoles, we tried to relocate them from the People Pond to the Ponderosa.  The Ponderosa already has many goldfish so tadpoles have little hope of surviving there anyway.  There are three other problems with mosquitofish.

  1. They are very quick, swimming to the the deepest section of the far side of the pond whenever they see us.
  2. They are very observant.  They see us as soon as we even begin to approach the pond.
  3. They are live bearers so there are constantly what seems like millions of fry in the pond.

We have managed to catch most of the really large ones, but those that remain (about 15) swim together in a school and are even more cautious than the others.  They continue to elude us, despite daily attempts with the big net.  Sometimes we go out at night with a flashlight and try to catch them.  That seemed to work for a while but then they got wise to us.


The dragonfly larva we found in the pond.

The dragonfly larva we found in the pond.

This morning during one of our fishing attempts, instead of mosquitofish, we found something completely unexpected in our net.  (Picture right).  It was approximately two – three inches long and writhed around, very displeased at being disturbed.  After inspecting it, we decided that it bore a strong resemblance to the dragonflies that enjoy the pond.  We decided it must be a dragonfly larva. Later in the day we found another one.  Perhaps they are also contributing to the decline of the tadpoles.  We don’t want to relocate them, however.  Some of the goldfish are large enough to be dangerous to our young dragonfly friends.

A quick internet search yielded the following information about dragonflies.  Dragonflies are predatory from birth.  They live underwater in their larval stage, eating mosquito larvae, small fish, and yes–tadpoles.  Dragonfly larvae (i.e., nymphs) have a special appendage on their heads that they use as a spear to catch small fish.   (We didn’t notice this appendage, but it sounds quite frightening.) When they have matured to airborne insects, they catch mosquitoes and gnats in mid-air before devouring them.  Hats off to dragonflies!

2 Responses to “Bee-witched, Bothered, and Bewildered”

  1. George said

    I am so glad to hear your bee population is thriving – here in the UK we are very worried about their decline.
    Thanks for your comment on my stoat!

    • dragonwycksanctuary said

      Thanks for your comment, George. You reminded me of our meager bee population last year and inspired me to write my newest post on attracting bees to the garden. Thanks!

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