February 18, 1987
 
 
Bumblebees Invade the Butterfly Bush

 

By ELEANOR S. MARTIN

 

It's February and the seed catalogs are out. With a little imagination as we turn the pages, we can still dream a little about just how our garden will look.

Sometimes winter deceives us, with some warm days creeping in, surely spring cannot be far away.

Did the ground hog see his shadow? The wind touches the bare tree tops with only a rustle, in March it will be another story.

A family of squirrels has moved into the big oak tree outside my window, playfully chasing each other up and down, around and around the tree. They seem to be in two places at the same time, but taking the second look, we found there were not two, but four of them.

In spite of the February chill, I have seen brave little crocus blooming in the snow, a promise of another day.

I'm reminded of last spring1986. My granddaughter planted a butterfly bush outside my kitchen door. I watched it grow. It was soon sending long delicate blossoms on the end of each branch. Not blue lavender or pink but a color in between if you can imagine.

Then the butterflies came, beyond the garage, from the neighborís yard, and down the avenue. I was fascinated to see them hanging to the bush like ornaments on a Christmas tree displaying the intricate pattern on their lovely wings. There were black ones tinged with gold, yellow ones, white ones and burgundy.

They had found a home.

Thatís not all, there is a buzzing sound, the stingers are out. Bumblebees are all over the place, they had survived the long hard winter, and are taking over my bush as their territory.

Donít ask me to count them. I took off running. If you have ever been unfortunate to be stung by a bee, you know how it hurts. Here is a quick and easy way to treat a bee sting reported from Georgia College of Agriculture. "Salt applied within five minutes of the sting will draw out the venom. Leave the wet salt on the skin for a few minutes. You will get similar results from moistened baking soda, or wet aspirin"

The butterfly bush will have to go. Iím looking for a replacement. Maybe the seed catalogue will be the answer.