Honeybee Fail

Those who have been following this blog for a while will recall that we lost both our hives of honeybees last year.  One swarmed after wax moths got into the hive and the other died for reasons unknown to me.

Before losing them our bees had been very productive, pollinating our gardens and giving us lots of honey every year.  We started with a hive we took out of the wall of the old farmhouse on the place, a hive that had been there at least 40 years.  When that hive swarmed, I caught the swarm so that we had two producing hives.  I was very disappointed to lose them.

So this spring I bought two “packages” of bees and tried to get hives going again.  Sadly, neither made it.  In the end neither had a queen, and without one the hive dies.  Worker bees only live seven weeks, so it is essential to have a queen laying eggs at all times.

It’s a real drag to lose the hives, especially since in one case the problem was almost certainly poor beekeeping.  But we’ll try again next year.  I’m looking forward to the day we have our own honey off the farm again.

I’ll close with some fascinating bee facts.

–in its lifetime a bee produces a mere 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey.

–a queen lays more than 1,000 eggs a day.

–during its seven week life, a worker bee will fly 10 to 20 thousand miles.

“The hum of bees is the voice of the garden.”  Elizabeth Lawrence

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