Monday, April 28, 2008

Bee-Wildered

This is Athena. Hive #1, the girls that made it through my first winter of total clue-less-ness as a beekeeper.

A beekeeper.

Yes, that is what I have become.
Just ask the two most important men in my life - my Dad and Cute Husband.


My Dad (master beekeeper and mentor) gets my frantic calls at all hours of the night. "Dad, why are the bees making a roaring sound after I opened them up and rearranged their whole living conditions" or... "Dad, do you think I am giving them enough ventilation? Maybe I should drill some new entrances..." or

"Dad, I really think Athena's bees are a super strong force of honey making nature ... and... can you believe I may actually get some honey from this hive?"

(Secretly, I could care less about the honey ... but don't tell Cute Husband)

So, Dad gets the frantic hive management calls.

Warren, my Love, gets bees 24/7.

I tell him the daily activities of both Athena and Diana (Hive #2).

Daily.

I tell him all the interesting bee behavior theories that I learn from endless reading of bee journals. I relay any new bee news that might make me a better keeper of the bees.

I tell him if ants are messing with Diana or if Athena looks like she is going to swarm again. I lure him to the "bee yard"to see all the bee activity. I go on and on for hours about the discussions at the bee club meetings.

I hide the evidence of bee paraphernalia purchases like some women hide shoe boxes in hopes their husbands will not notice.

"What? That new feeder, swarm trap and bottom board? Oh, no, no.... these are old ones, had them for years... you never noticed?"

Or...

"Oh, yes, yes, these are new... last season's frame and wax. Super beekeeper sale that I hit last fall".

So, obviously I have tons of wonderful male support.

But I also have over 100,000 females in the back yard. And Athena's females are acting quite odd.

Last week a group of them decided to swarm and landed about 10 feet away from the original hive. They hung out on the ground in a big ball, which I thought I had recaptured, only to return the next morning and find no sign of them.

Perhaps they were queen-less and decided to return to their original abode. My next inspection showed little to no difference in bee numbers. So, maybe.

The trouble is... I don't speak bee.

On Saturday, some of Athena's gals were just hanging out on their fancy landing ramp. All clumped together perhaps waiting for further instructions from the realtor worker bees who look for a new home. Or, maybe they were waiting for the queen to exit so they could take off together. Or, maybe they just get sick of me looking at them all the time.

Again, I don't speak bee.

I recently whined to our bee club president, "I just have no idea if I am doing any of this beekeeping stuff correctly... and I feel so responsible for their well being...."

Apparently, bee club president thinks these are exactly the traits that make a good beekeeper.

Really?

Stay tuned to see if any of these bees decide to continue to live in the housing I provide.

2 comments:

Larry said...

A Bee Club President! I've never even thought of such a thing.-I've heard Honey Bees have been in trouble so I hope you're helping the cause.-I try to hide and downplay my birding paraphenalia from my wife all the time so I can relate.

Warren & Lisa Strobel said...

Larry - hope you're having a great birding spring! Yes, Lisa tries to hide her bee-ness, but in the end I just sigh and go along... her bees make her very happy, and they seem to be doing quite well. Maybe too well.
W