Popping in briefly to share what I think is a fascinating example of how the larger ecosystem of November Hill works.
After a mild winter, in spite of using fly predators and fly strips and doing all the things one is supposed to do to reduce flies around the barn, we were still seeing what I consider a lot of them.
We used Summer Whinnies for Salina and Keil Bay as needed, liberal amounts of my summer of 2012 fly spray concoction, fly masks, and even with all this, I still felt there were just Too Many Flies.
Suddenly we noticed a new face around the barn.
These bald-faced hornets were around the barn doors, inside the barn itself, and although they didn't feel aggressive to me, we researched them to find out what we were dealing with.
As it turns out they are considered quite docile in terms of hornet personality, and I found several mentions online of these hornets hunting flies. So when I went back out, I started observing. Indeed, they were in the barn hunting flies. We decided to let them stay and see what happened.
A week later, in spite of rain and heat which usually make the number of flies explode, my sticky fly strips are nearly empty. The Summer Whinnies are in the tack room, clean and ready but not needed. The horses are happy and not fussing.
And the bald-faced hornets have moved on. I saw two yesterday.
We hoped to find their nest, but thus far haven't found it. These nests are pretty stunning to me, and I'd love to see one:
Now that the hornets are gone we're dealing with the heat wave that seems to be affecting much of the United States this weekend. Yesterday it was 101.8 in our barn aisle, and needless to say, we're doing a lot of cold hosing, feeding extra salt in the feed tubs, and keeping a close eye on all of us as we move on with routine during this extreme heat.
It is day two of a five-day wave, and we're moving slowly, taking our time with chores, keeping cold drinks in the barn, and of course doing no riding. 90 degrees F will seem like a cool spell after this!
Hope all are faring well as we move into July!