When a sailor misses a chance to go to sea, he tends to wander around his garden, paying special attention to the clouds and the weather, as if he were walking on the ship’s deck in fresh sea air. He circles his home like it were a shipyard, looking for repairs. Today I noticed some rotting wood on the gable in a corner of the garden. A bee crawled out.
The adjacent firebush (Fig. 1) buzzes every morning with dozens of bees of a few different species. Two species are bumblebees, big, black, and loud; the other is small, like a honeybee, yellow and black. Hummingbirds also frequent the bush. I like it because it reminds me of a deep-sea coral colony, covered with invertebrates.
I am concerned about the bees because populations are in great decline throughout North America. So I take special care of this firebush, hoping to make a small contribution to their eventual recovery.
Unfortunately, fireflies are now also in jeopardy. Sailors love fireflies, naturally. It reminds us of bioluminescent flashes in the night sea. When I ask my neighbors, they say the same about South Texas, there don’t seem to be as many lightning bugs as their used to be. The problem, according to the news story, is a shortage of rotting wood. My bees live in rotting wood (Fig. 2) in the corner of my garage. Which I must repair, because I am not at sea when I should be. So I am met with a dilemma.
After scant consideration, I performed a rather dangerous and risky maneuver. The bees were preoccupied, and I was barefoot with a hammer looking for something to do. So I performed a rotting wood transplant. The technique maintains the wood’s character, height, and orientation (Fig. 3). Basically, the piece was (gingerly) removed from the garage and nailed to the fence.
I think its going to be a money maker. I am calling it “ornamental rotting wood”. The bees love it. No sooner than the last nail was pounded, two came scouting their new home. Isn’t that wonderful? A sailor saved a bumblebee today. You can, too. Keep your eyes open for rotting wood in your hood. Don’t throw it away. Make it “ornamental”.
Now, if I could only find a rotting plank full of lightning bugs….