Like it or not….nature’s critters are a big part of the camping crowd

This week's Hammertime takes a fun look at critters when camping.

Come rain or shine or sleet or snow, there is absolutely no doubt that many hardy families invaded our Alberta campgrounds for the annual wild and quite often wet May long weekend celebration. With all the strict fire and other restrictions that were in effect, hopefully everyone snuggled up and had a good time, but treated nature with deep respect so that it will still be there for everyone to enjoy for the rest of the summer.

Along with all those excited winter weary campers of all ages setting up their tents and toys, this glorious season also welcomes the noisy arrival on the scene of the birds, bees, bugs, bats, bears and all the rest of nature’s creatures, all by the way who, whether we like it or not, do have a place in the scheme of things. Way back when camping fees were only $5 (water and wood included), our family loved heading out on most weekends with one tiny tent trailer for mom/dad/four kids and the dog, but now that they are all grown, grandma and grandpa shack up at home or motel it. Of course. the joy of ‘roughing it’ out among natures finest may have changed quite a bit over the years, but it will always be a grand tradition that started with pup tents in the back yard, summer camps and family sleepovers at the lake with the whole clan.

Please let it bee

While watching the bees buzzing around a flowering tree outside our window, I was surprised to discover that Canada actually has been blessed with over 40 species of bees, all serving the Queen, and some more territorial than others. Due to climate and other reasons the bee population has dropped off drastically, which is really bad news for all of us, simply because two-thirds of the food crops that we eat depend on native bees, honey bees and other polluters to successfully produce a good harvest.

Bees, especially wasps are on a mission and can be very miserable towards us humans, especially when there is a sweet food source close by, so we need to cover up our treats, give the ‘little buzzers’ some space, and don’t bother their nesting quarters. Concerned honey producers have launched a ‘Bees….let it be’ campaign to try and revitalize the vital bee population.

I found an article in the paper last week reporting that a swarm of 45,000 honey bees had been spotted in a flowering choke cherry tree last week in Red Deer as well as one in the Garden Centre at Canadian Tire, but after calling a beekeeper the swarms were removed without a single bite and relocated to a comfortable hive box where they could get on with their work. Instead of trying to be the terminator or going into a panic and risking getting stung, anyone spying a bunch of bees setting up their colony in the neighbourhood is urged to get in touch with Tees Bees Inc. at 587-797-1947 and they will help you solve the problem. By the way, those shy little bats, who nobody likes, are actually responsible for consuming 3000 or more mosquitoes or other insects on their nightly neighbourhood prowl as well as for providing up to 95 per cent of the dispersal that is essential to the regeneration of our forests. Whatever the case, we need to stock up now on our usual supply of bug spray and sun-screen, let everyone enjoy their space, and have a great week, all of you.

 

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