The Swallows Returned Today

A Barn swallow swoops and dives over the field behind the barn @Cassel Vineyards

A Barn swallow swoops and dives over the field behind the barn @Cassel Vineyards

      They came today after spending their winter in Mexico.  As the weather warmed up this Spring, the swallows moved north and arrived back @Cassel Vineyards of Hershey.  We were sitting at a soccer game and they came in swooping and diving to catch the gnats that are always swarming around the Swatara Creek.  I love watching these busy, little birds all Summer as I imagine them eating all the mosquitoes and gnats that drive us crazy day and night when we are outside.  In the vineyards, I think of these busy little birds eating all the grape berry moths and Japanese beetles.  With their help, we don't need much in the way of insecticides to keep the grapes healthy.  We try to work with the swallows  in order to keep our vineyard full of just the right bugs for the swallows to eat.  Spraying insecticides would kill the bugs that attract the swallow and chasing away the swallows would cause more insects to cause more damage to our grapes.  It sounds complicated, but in reality it is just striking a balance.  In the 110 years since our farm has been in the family, we have learned a little bit about striking this balance.  Dad has always preached that everything should be used in moderation.  The swallows seem to with Dad because they return every year to enjoy our little corner of this beautiful farm.  Stop by and check out the swallows now that they have returned.  With them around, you won't need any bug spray either!