You can't be too careful!
It’s hardly believable, but have you noticed that it’s
getting dark by 9 o’clock at night? It seems only a few days ago that I was
settling to the late news and the sky was still light. It is true though, we
are well past the longest day, and I haven’t even got the barbeque out yet.
One advantage of the warm darker nights is that we have more
time to see the bats. They come out of lofts, and I see them most nights flying
around our trees catching insects, like moths, on the wing. Round and round
they go using their sound emitting sonar signals. They seem to be the most
remarkable creatures but one thing I have only just learnt is that they migrate.
A bat, about the size of your toe, has just been found in Russia (killed by a
cat), it was initially seen and tagged near London, an unbelievable journey for
such a small creature. My last journey was only to Yorkshire and that was far
enough for me.
When we got back our garden was full of produce. There are
plums, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. The problem is what to do
with them all. Every morning I go out before breakfast and pick a little bowl
of blueberries to eat with the cereals. Then I make a pie and freeze some for
the winter. But still the fruit keeps coming I need to pick quickly. Soon there
will be no alternative but to make jam.
One reason why I need to hurry is the problem of wasps. They
love soft fruit, particularly our blackberries. If the sun comes out it is too
dangerous for me to go along the row and pick, in case of getting stung. We
have put up special traps and even tried an imitation blow up wasps’ nest,
which is supposed to scare them, but to no avail.
Then an old birds’ nest box fell to the ground and one side
came off revealing that the wasps were nesting in there. The grey paper cells
so carefully made were ruined and the wasps left. But their numbers did not
diminish, they must have another nest nearby. Sometimes they live underground
in our sandy soil.
We were spared more ravages of the wasps, in the end, by heavy
rain. They do not like rain. At last, our fruit was left alone, and I went to
pick, safe in the knowledge that I would not be stung. I got wet though, but I
did not mind. It would seem dreadful to waste months of effort just for another
creature to attack, like that little bat.
(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)
Trying to stop the wasps eating our fruit with a wasp trap loaded with sugar
An old birds' nest used by wasps to make their nest