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bees and butterflies

Dennis Stoneburger wrote:

 >> In SW Virginia - There have been very few butterflies, and honey bees. The
 Monarch Butterflies were frozen out in several "wintering" places, the honey
 bees are suffering from mites in the hive.  Several people who have always
 provided as much honey as I have ever needed don't have any this year... <<

Hmmm!  I'm really surprised to hear this; only an hour north of Dennis we had a
fantastic year for butterflies, all kinds but especially monarchs. And there
were abundant honey and bumble bees. (And carpenter bees, but I'm not sure
their ecological niche is...or whether they're of much horticultural value.)
Roses are hipped, non-deadheaded perennials are heavily podded.

Also a beekeeping friend here says that the mites were better this year.  Some
kind of virus is apparently attacking them (the mites), so while they're not
gone they're much reduced in numbers (though I guess the ones left could be
those that have developed a resistance). Not sure which of the two kinds of
mites my friend was dealing with.

   Nell Lancaster, Lexington, Virginia  75500.2521@compuserve.com
    USDA zone 6 (-10F to 0F avg. winter low), annual rainfall 39"
    '96: low -16F Feb. 5 but with a foot of snow mulch, high 100F July 17
         last frost May 13, first frost Oct. 5

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