Since our first monsoon rain we have been having an issue with the bees. They are in the grain that we feed the steers, pigs, sheep and they have been dictating our feeding schedule. In order to help the animals be able to get the food intake they need we have been feeding at night and in the morning. It sounded like a good idea although that comes with it challenges.
This past winter and spring we had a good amount of rain which was great and we loved the growth we saw in our natural grasses that our cattle eat. After spring we started to heat up and it did get pretty hot. We had several 105 degree days. When it began to heat up we started seeing rattle snakes and bugs. Lots of them! We found a snake in the barn, in the hay stack and one by our rv. That was just ones seen by the house. It's been challenging getting the grain from the barn. I go in there stomping, banging things, moving things around just to make sure I don't run into any snakes.
So when the bees arrived making it impossible for the animals to eat I did some research. I ended up spraying outside of the feeders a concentration of peppermint essential oil. That didn't work. Then I tried spraying vinegar water concentration and that didn't work. I don't want to kill the bees, I just want to make it uncomfortable for them so they'll go away and find another source of food. I contacted a friend of mine that has several bee hives she didn't have any suggestions. So now what I thought one evening. I went outside and watched the cattle eat their hay just before dark. They wouldn't get near the feeders. The bees were swarming all around the feeders. All I could hear was bzzzzzzzz, they even would fly past my head occasionally. I felt defeated as I take so much pride in feeding our steers and knew we had to find a solution.
I ended up back at the steer corral again at eight o'clock and no bees. The light bulb went on!! I said to myself "well guess we're feeding at night perhaps the bees won't come out at night." It seemed to be pretty successful. No bees out at night. So my new feeding routine is I go into the barn in the early evening get all the buckets of grain ready and cover them. Once the sun is down and we've eaten dinner Cash and I are out there with our headlamps carrying buckets from the barn to the feeders. We bring Kayleigh along to help keep the calves at bay while we're delivering the grain to the steers. That's been our routine for a week or so now. So I recently incorporated early morning feedings. I started going out at 5am, but soon realized that didn't work as soon as the sun was peeking though the morning sky the bees began gathering around the feeders. So now what I thought. I guess I'll have to go out at 4am, maybe they'll still be sleeping. It's all trial and error this cattle business. We all just have to try to make do with what we have and try to make our lives and animals lives better.