My Mother had a spider, who sat down beside her and lived in her wash-house (in our house we called the laundry the wash-house). This spider was called Elizabeth. A perfectly lovely name for a spider I always thought. Anyway Mum said that she did not do major housework in the wash-house because it might disturb Elizabeth. Mother hated flies and Elizabeth loved to spin with them so they worked together in the wash house very happily for a number of years. Yes, YEARS… mm, I hear you say. I did not realise that spiders had that long a life span. Well they may not have but Mothers ability to make up stories to avoid housework lasted many years. Of course I am doing my best to keep her memory alive by adopting spiders and avoiding housework at all costs too. I do relocation housework, it is the best kind. Remind me and I will explain the concept to you one day.
Below is a spider. This is not Elizabeth. This is called The Big Spider. Now you might think that The Big Spider is not a very original name. But we also have a dog referred to as The Big Dog. And you know how married people have pet names for things. Well when Our John comes in from the garden and says there is a Big Spider by the Wendy house I grab my camera and go to the woodshed expecting to find this guy. And so I did. (No this is not the revolting shot)
The Big Spider is a protected species in the gardens because this spider has a huge web, he will run 3 foot lines to trees on either side of his web because he is after a big catch. So in fact it is hard to get a shot of him without disturbing him with all that webby stuff everywhere. He is waiting for the quiver. He is very big, from foot to foot about as big as the palm of your hand. (No this is not the revolting shot either)
Then I took this just to terrify myself a little further and when I looked back to shoot again he had disappeared. GONE. Gone Where!!! I have to confess that I brushed my hands wildly all over my body as I leapt without looking, back out of the garden. I am not afraid of spiders but it is hard not to get some prime -evil shudder when you don’t know where the little buggers are hiding. I hate it when they do that. I left the spider then, as I could not bear the thought of it scuttling around like that.
And off I went to check my hives.
But look at this. My poor hive. No I did not have a bear! We don’t even have bears here! I did this taking the hive apart after I discovered ruined comb from the DREADED wax moth. He had to be found and rooted out but he was already all over the place in there.Usually this moth and their clean up larvae live in a symbiotic relationship with a strong chemical free hive. The bees move them along quite smartly. And sometimes they will pop into the hive and clean up an old unguarded area before being shuffled out by the bees. But when a hive is weak, and combined with a cold snap (last week) which means the bees leave their doorways unguarded (to cuddle up against the cold), these hideous creatures get in and will take over and move further into the warm dark nest and the larvae burrow in and eat the brood. Bad bad wax moth. Yes, this was one of the weaker hives. I am so mad I could just spit. This is the revolting shot!
I have taken off the two infested supers. Ripped out the nasties. I will wrap them in black plastic and store them in the shed. The freezing temps in the winter will kill what moths are left and then I will have to take out each foundation and burn it. A winter job.
Two interesting things. I was able to take this whole hive apart and brush the bees into their one clean super without smoke or protective gear, in a short skirt and singlet. My only extra gear was gloves. Not a peep. A depressed hive indeed. Plus there is another underlying cloying smell in amongst the honey scent. I think it comes from the damaged comb. So this can be an extra warning trigger for me next time. Now I know that this next image is out of focus but really it is the sentiment. You will agree I am sure. Go little fly guy!! What a mess.
What I should have done.
Listened to my instincts and made the hive smaller a few months ago. Initially I was so afraid of them swarming again that I gave them too much room, they were not able to guard it all and with the weather cooling – the moths got in.
Or I should have combined this hive with another stronger one much earlier. Instead of trying to build up a hive that was too weak.
Now the really bad news is that Our John fell off the wagon yesterday, caved in, succumbed and went to the supermarket and bought BAD stuff! And brought it home in plastic bags – PLASTIC BAGS! Little plastic containers of fake food in Plastic bags! I was appalled. I won’t tell you what he bought, it will make you sick in your mouth! I said what is all this Unclean Fake Food in my kitchen, my voice rising to an hysterical tone and he says well there was nothing in the fridge for my lunch. I spluttered (as you do) and stomped a bit.
Today I am making a pound cake. Maybe a bacon and egg pie. Hopefully that help pull him back from the brink. WELL! I ask you .. mutter mutter.. it is hard only eating the food you cook yourself with the stuff you grow yourself, but living simply is not always that simple! AND (please don’t tell anyone) the words LOW FAT were stamped on the side of the container that he was eating out of with a spoon – the horror of it.)
Told you not to look.