Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Beehives & Baby Toads

Snapped the pic above just the other day on a walk up the lane behind the house. It's a common sight at this time of year and I'm sure you've discerned that the "boxes" are beehives. The owners move them regularly, depending on the density of the wild flowers as the seasons bring about the dying off of one type and the blossoming of another. 

We love to see them as it means that our garden will be (and in fact is) full of honey bees, which don't bother us humans at all but make a soothing bumbly sound as they tirelessly go from flower to flower in the garden. We even wonder if the keepers deliberately site them within a couple of hundred yards of our place (and our neighbours up the hill, whose garden has arguably more blossoms per square metre than has ours!), since the garden provides a rich source of pollen for the little occupants. The only drawback to their presence is the little yellow pollen bombs that they leave everywhere, including all over your car, your washing and your patio furniture cushions. If you try and wipe these off while they're still moist you get a yellow stain that will never come out. Best left until they dry, when they can be removed with a fingernail.

There are, however, some other insects that drive us up the wall at this time of the year. There's a certain kind of beetle for example, which, when at rest, is hardly as long a a finger nail, very narrow and reddish rust in colour, but when flying sort of hovers in a manner that suggests that they haven't quite got the hang of this flying malarkey and so they tend to bump into everything, including your head. They'll drop unsuspectingly into your muesli while you're spooning it into your mouth if you're not vigilant. They're pretty dopey and, when flying, assume a slightly "bendy" shape, looking more like a kind of flying "bendy" insect than a beetle really, but, since their navigational skills are virtually non-existent, they can drive you bonkers while you're sitting outside for a while at the start of the day. They are perpetually drifting into your "space" and require that your plastic swatter be permanently at the ready. I don't think they bite, but they will alight on your flesh and quite gormlessly sit there while you swat them, unlike mosquitoes, which have lightning-fast reaction times and are maddeningly difficult to get the better of.

Another more welcome visitor, of which we have many at this time of year, is the Mediterranean Toad (for another post referring to these, click HERE). These can be quite large, some of them filling the palm of your hand, whilst others, like the one I snapped out on the tiles (aah, the recklessness of youth, eh?) at 6.00am this morning, are quite a bit smaller. Get ready for the "aaaaah" factor as I present to you the tiniest Mediterranean Toad I've ever seen...

As usual, clicking on any of the pics will open them in a larger view.


  1. Hi John
    Are these toads fully grown or are they babies? We saw hundreds of them in lardos a couple of weeks ago. We assumed they were newly grown baby frogs. Sadly they were all heading for puddles in the road after the heavy rain. Bit of a suicide mission really. My son took a video of them swimming in the puddles. I will try and send it to you for your wife's benefit,(re. blog last year) So cute!

  2. Woops, silly me. Should have read your title 'baby toads' !

  3. Yea, basically, if they have that lovely "Camouflage" marking all over them then they're Mediterranean Toads. We used to think they were frogs until I did a bit of Googling a couple of years back. What we do get here are tree frogs, which you can often hear at night, but seldom see.