Thursday, March 10, 2016

I'll Bee Darned!

Not a honeybee.... but perhaps the only type we will see this summer.
Temperatures reached 78 yesterday...
giving me the perfect opportunity to assess the health of my one remaining beehive 
(the tall one in the back right corner).

You might remember that we had several hives perish last winter...
and before that we sporadically lost hives every year.
It's the way of the honeybee world these days.

The honeybee's existence is very tenuous these days.
Ask any beekeeper and they will tell you that they have suffered 
unprecedented losses over the past few years.
Sadly, I am no exception.

Fearful of another hard winter, I had decided not to harvest honey for us last summer...
but instead left all of it to assure that the honeybees would have enough no matter what the weather.

Yesterday, as I approached my hives,  I had hoped to see the girls outside
doing a little spring housekeeping.
Closer and closer I came to the hive...not a bee in sight.

Hubbs listened to the side of the buzzing.
We cracked open the hive.
Not a single bee, alive or dead.

If they had succumbed to disease or pestilence, there would have been dead bees inside the hive.
With no sign of the previous tenants, we can only surmise that our bees were the victims of
Colony Collapse Disorder....that mysterious "thing" that is killing off the nation's honeybees
at an alarming rate.

We took the hive apart.
There were still a couple of frames with a large amount of capped honey within.
We took those frames to the greenhouse 
(the warmth of the greenhouse helps honey flow faster).

I used the hot knife to uncap the honey and allowed
the sticky goodness to drip into a large pot.
I let these two frames sit over night,
slowly dripping their sweet goodness into the pot.
Today I will filter out the beeswax and bottle the honey.

I feel such sadness over the loss of our bees.
I have not ordered new bees this year and will take a year off from beekeeping.
Hopefully next year we can get our hives up and running again.

Hopefully entomologists will have some success in finding the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder
before it is too late.

Meanwhile, while Hubbs and I were tending to the hive,
Oakley was taking his first "swim" of the season.

He has the pond to swim in, but instead prefers his own private swimming hole!

PS....Annie's look-alike (shelter pup) arrives tomorrow morning for a visit.
We (humans) are all very excited.
We'll see how the dogs feel about it tomorrow.
Stay tuned for updates on Monday.....and maybe a sneak peak over the weekend.


  1. Good Morning Bev,
    On your Honey Bees.....possible neonicotinoids? I just read something about this and the probable potential of causing colony collapse. They are using this insecticide on bedding flowers at some of the large home improvement centers. Just a thought (knowing you, you've already thought of this) :-)

  2. Yes, Tina, that is one of the possibilities that scientists are considering. Of course, we are organic here on the farm. Unfortunately, the bees have a large range for gathering nectar and who know what other farmers are using! Many of the countries in the EU have banned neonicotinoids....but of course the US will never do that because the chemical companies have big money in their lobbying.

  3. So with Colony Collapse Disorder, where do the bees go? Do they all just fly off in a big bunch and die somewhere else? You said there were no bees, alive or dead, inside the hive.


  4. The bee issue is huge in this country and I don't think enough people get what that means. Ugh. Sorry to hear of your colony collapse.

    Mucked stalls in a tee shirt this morning!!

  5. Such a shame to read about the loss of your colony, Will you be getting another one?

    All the best

  6. Here is a good description of Colony Collapse Disorder from Wikipedia "Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is the phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees and the queen. "

  7. Sorry about your bees...Ashcombes bees have come back after their collapse...Hope your hives will be healthy some day soon..

  8. bummer about the bees. oakley is too funny!

  9. I rejoice every spring when the honeybees, as well as the native bees, visit our early crocus, boxwood and fruit trees. Outside the museum where I work, we have a large colony in a tree branch, and I won't let the tree guys remove it. Any healthy colony of bees is a great thing! Hope you have some wild colonies around the farm. Deb

  10. so sorry for your loss. a cousin next door keeps bees, and we've gone through this with him periodically. and this year, there's also a bear lurking about. the neighbor on the other side saw the bear several times just before deer gun season started at thanksgiving. a bear destroyed my cousin's hives once before, probably about 30 years ago now. i'm 65. --suz in NE ohio

  11. How sad the loss of your hive, I am fearing checking ours this week end in case thy havent made it, great video :-0

  12. I also read that the lack of diversity in planting, (mostly corn and soy beans) affects the bees. Apparently they do much better with many different plants to collect pollen from. And of course, the soy and corn are most likely to be treated and/or gmo. I, too, read of the bedding plant industries using neonics. I actually contacted the nursery I prefer to buy from and asked. Thankfully they do not use them but I purchased some organic flower seeds and will be starting a lot of my own bedding plants to be safe.

  13. Hi Beverly,
    How sad about the bees. So much has changed with nature and creatures, makes me feel unsettled.. I hope it all turns around.

    Oh that Oakley! Looks as if he is having the time of his life with his first swim of the season.. The video made me laugh.

    I can't wait to see the new pup... Enjoy!


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