|So this is what it looked like before|
So with this many weeds I decided I needed to have a plan of action and tackle it in stages....first off go through and hand pull all the shallow rooted weeds.
|After an hour I was left with this...|
and very cold hands!!
After this I decided to get the hand fork and dig the slightly deeper rooted weeds out. Then I got the large garden and started tackling the dandelions...the worst of them all!!
|Two and a half hours of weeding |
and it's looking promising.
Now my hope was to get all this finished tonight so that it would be free to dog tomorrow but as usual best laid plans and all that so I didn't quite get it finished.
|Three hours in and only a little left to do.|
So why didn't I get it all finished??? Runaway chicken is the answer!! I was the only one down the allotment when I first spotted the escape artist but luckily another couple of people arrived and between us we managed to coax it back into it's pen but by this time as you can tell from the above photo I reallt had run out of light. It was my first late 'nighter' on the allotment of the year though. I didn't get home until 8:44pm...and I only live 5 minutes away
|Looking good if I do say so myself!!|
Apparently there are hundreds of different species of 'bee fly' but the life cycles of most species are known poorly, or not at all. They range in size from very small (2 mm in length) to very large for flies (wingspan of some 40 mm). When at rest, many species hold their wings at a characteristic "swept back" angle. Adults generally feed on nectar and pollen, some being important pollinators, often with spectacularly long proboscises (that's the long bit that looks like a sting!). In parts of East Anglia locals refer to them as 'beewhals' thanks to their tusk-like appendages. Many Bee flies superficially resemble bees which is how they got there common name. Possibly the resemblance is aposematic, affording the adults some protection from predators.
The larval stages are predators or parasitoids of the eggs and larvae of other insects. The adult females usually deposit eggs in the vicinity of possible hosts, quite often in the burrows of beetles or wasps/solitary bees. Although insect parasitoids usually are fairly host-specific, often highly host-specific, some Bee flies are opportunistic and will attack a variety of hosts.
While the Bee fly include a large number of species in great variety, most species do not often appear in abundance, and for its size this is one of the most poorly known families of insects. There are at least 4,500 described species, and certainly thousands yet to be described.
So there you have it, a few interesting facts you may never have known about a harmless little insect which is as useful to us as the bees for pollination. I must say, I am pleased it won't bother the hives!!