Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Colony Collapse

Life on the farm has its ups and downs.
With this past few days came a couple downs.

First of all,
I lost my sweet Eileen.

You might remember my gold laced Wyandotte chicken
that we treated for bumblefoot last summer.

She did recover from that and by winter was walking
on both feet without a limp.

Yesterday I found her dead in the chicken house.

She was the sweetest of my chickens.
I gave her a little loving each afternoon as I visited the chickens...
she was always receptive.
I'll miss her.

Sadest of all, however, is the loss of most of my beehives to
Colony Collapse.
We opened up the hives this weekend to get them ready for
summer honey production...

 to find that we have only one living hive.

The bees from all the other hives were gone...
Although we practice organic farming,
our local farmers do not.

Most are dairy farmers who plant corn, soy and hay.
The latest research suggests that Colony Collapse 
is due to a very specific insecticide.

I am just sick about this loss.

We will start all over with new bees, but at a slower pace.
I will not be replacing all 8 hives this year,
but will gradually replace them over the coming years.

And so it is with life on a farm...
you take the bad with the good.
Over all...the good far outweighs the bad.
It is still hard to take some losses, though...
and the bees are one of those tough losses...
and something we all need to be concerned about.


  1. I'm sorry for your loss, she was a beautiful chicken!... and bee colony collapse is becoming an epidemic, scarey. I don't think people realize how important they are.

  2. Oh Beverly, I have been reading about colony collapse. What a frightening phenomenon for the planet. Very sorry for all your losses.

  3. I'm so sorry for your losses. I hope all goes well this week.

  4. Oh no Bev, I'm so sorry about Eileen and your bees.

  5. Sorry to about the bees and you are so correct it is something that we all need to be concerned about. NO INSECTICIDES!!

  6. Bev I'm so sorry to read about Eileen. Who'd have thought that a chicken could win hearts...but they can and do and it always hurts to loose them. I'm shocked that you have lost all but one of your hives...what a terrible thing to discover! I'm not sure if you know this but we have bees living in our corn crib wall. This past winter when hubby opened the door to the old building he found all kinds of dead bees on the floor. We thought at first we had lost them all but now we see them flying around the crib and at the water trough..thank goodness! If we feel bad for our bees and we're not even managing them I can understand how you feel. I hope today is a sunny warm one for you...that always seems to lift the spirit. Take care.
    Maura X

  7. So sorry for all your losses this week. We are relatively new to this journey and are starting with chickens this spring and I'm attending a beekeeping class next week. My nephew's wife is a researcher at U of Illinois studying bees. The last time I talked to her she was sounding pretty discouraged.

  8. Very sorry about your bees and dear Eileen...I think I know how you must feel...Just give the remaing bees and chickens a little extra TLC...very sad

  9. Oh no! I'm sorry to hear about your hen and certainly your bees. You'd think if we can send a man to the moon, we could figure out what's causing CC. Bees are ssoooo important!

  10. So sorry about your favorite chicken. I too found a dead one in the coop last week. You just have to wonder what happened.

    And sorry about the bees too. I hope you will be able to build the colonies back up. In agriculture, we must live with the things that we can't live without. Bees are one of those things.

  11. So sorry about your chicken...I wonder what could have happened to the poor thing? :(
    And too bad about your bees. That must have been so disheartening to find them all gone! Hopefully with your next try thing will go better!

  12. I will sing for your bees, as I sing for all of the bees who are going away. (I think they are working on filling the green cheese moon full of honey, personally)

    I am sad for your losses! <3

  13. I am so sorry, how devestating! It is getting harder and harder to keep our wonderful bees around. I am also sorry to hear about your hen! I can see if that day ever comes...how hard it will be.

  14. Sorry about these losses. Isn't it funny how we can fall in love with a chicken! I found one of my sweet old hens dead sitting on a nest..sad.

  15. I am sorry about your sweet little hen but I know how devastating the bee hive collapse is, The same thing happened to us only ours just left taking everything in the hive, brood everything and left it as clean as the day I put them in the hive. I still am sick about it. Nothing harder than lifting that that lid. I am so sorry as you had eight.

  16. This is so sad, but you do take your lumps well, I must say. They chicken made me snifle, but the bees really set me over. I am so in love with insects so this really struck home. I'm sorry for both your losses.

  17. So sorry about Eileen and your bees. I have chickens and bees. I know the seriousness and pain of your loss. I wish more people understood how dangerous those "certain" chemicals are.

  18. So sorry to hear about your hen. Ours are all around 3 yrs old and we occasionally go in and find one dead. It is so sad to loose the ladies. The loss of the bees was just too much to deal with for me. I think we lost ours to Maine winters. When will we learn that our lives are linked to this lovely little creature? If they can't take the chemicals, niether can we. Take note. Glad that you plan to restock your hives. They are beautiful. Oh, the bees and hives.

  19. My sympathies on your losses. It's never easy, and when they come so closely together it seems even harder, like the world is ganging up on us. I'm so glad to know you haven't given up on your bees.

  20. Sorry about your bees and your sweet little hen Bev.

    I cringe as I walk by the insecticide aisle at the local hardware store. The bees don't stand a chance-and either do we. As long as having a bug and weed free lawn is more important than the thought of spreading poison.

  21. I am sorry about your chicken and the bees. How awful. My son will be getting his bees in the mail soon and bringing them out to our place. I hope they do all right, but we also have a farmer behind us that plants corn/soybeans and sprays. Urrr...

  22. And I was looking so forward to updates on both for this year. I am so sorry. But you know - the insecticide suspicion makes so much sense. We have a neighbor (full of oats, if you get my drift) that may have used something in the soy he planted in 2009. It fried. His last two tries of something, afterward, have failed before we could even tell what it was. And we haven't seen a honeybee since then. The clover on our 10 acres was so loaded with bees, enough that we couldn't wear flip-flops - until then.

  23. Sorry to hear about the loss of your sweet Eileen. It's hard when we lose our pets. Good luck your new bees. I few bee keeper around our town have lost hives. I miss seeing the bee visiting my flowers.


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