5 Sure Signs of Spring in Arizona
In states where you get a lot of snow, the first signs of Spring may seem pretty obvious: the snow melts, the flowers and trees bloom. Then, a new, snowstorm blows in, the blooms freeze. And so on. Until May.
In Arizona, it's a little different. While Northern Arizona gets a lot of snow - even more than a lot of places in America - in Southern Arizona the signs of spring can be little more subtle. Here are 5 Sure Signs in Spring in Arizona.
1. Where the Wildflowers Bloom
The wildflowers blooming in Arizona is big deal. With so much of our typical landscape displaying various tones of brown and beige, the refreshing burst of orange, red, purple, and other beautiful colors make desert wildflowers a treat for the eyes.
According to DesertMuseum.org, the best times to experience wildflower season in Arizona is, "mid February to mid June with a peak from mid March to late April depending on rainfall and temperatures during the growing season."
2. The Snowbirds Fly Home
Don't bother getting out your binoculars. Arizona Snowbirds are not the migratory fowl known to hikers and nature enthusiasts. Nope. These are folks who flock to our warmer climate to escape the miserable cold months in places like Ohio, Michigan and Wyoming.
Usually retired, many of these Overwintering Humans spend late fall through early spring in Arizona, flying back home with the snow finally melts for good in their home state. You'll know Snowbird Season is over when the license plates return to our native Arizona colors.
3. Allergies in Bloom
When I lived in the Midwest, my allergies were terrible. Living in Arizona, my allergies aren't quite as bad, but it seems like my body has just found new things to be allergic to.
Palo Verde Trees and their beautiful, dainty yellow flowers seem to make my body go into a full histamine rebellion, but Desert Broom and other pollen producers get me going, too. And we won't even begin to talk about the dust when the winds kick up!
4. Migrating Bees
Like birds, bees migrate to warmer places as the weather changes. We're used to seeing birds (and snowbirds) as they come and go, but the first time you see a clump of bees, you might be tempted to call a professional exterminator.
The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension has some advice on how to identify a migrating swarm.
"If a cluster of bees suddenly appears on a wall, on a branch of a tree or on the ground and remains exposed, this is most likely a resting swarm."
Swarming bees will not have yellow or orange pollen evident in pollen baskets on their hind legs, and swarms will not be seen moving in and out of cavities. Swarms will often move on in a few days without intervention and although not defensive, they can sting if disturbed. It is best to observe the swarm from a distance and hope they do not find suitable nesting sites close to or in your home or building."
"It is best to leave swarms alone if they are in a spot that does not have much human traffic passing close by," the Cooperative Extension advises.
5. The Mesquites Know
I've lived in the desert southwest for decades, and I used to think the best way to tell spring was here was the sudden blooming of wildflowers.
"Not so," my neighbor Shari told me. "Always listen to the mesquite trees." Shari has lived in the desert her entire life and as an avid gardener, she's noticed that many plants will pop up early when the weather begins to get warm. But there's one plant who seems to wait until it's safe.
"Mesquite trees seem to know when spring is truly here, and it's only THEN that they bud and leaf out." As soon as that happens, the weather warms up and the new season is really alive in Arizona. I've never known Shari - or the mesquite trees - to be wrong!