Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Honey Bee Blues

I was too emotionally and physically exhausted to take pictures. I really don't need to relive the tale in color anyway. Perhaps I will fill in with other farm and family photos.

                             ****Yum-Yum, our 1 year old jersey steer****

Today was like any other crazy busy day. I had farm chores out the wadzoo and on that list of chores was bee hive inspection.

It's been a tough year for bee keeping here this year. I am sure you have read some headlines about the potential peril we all face without the little yellow critters flying around to pollinate our food.

There have been countless bee keepers losing their bees, especially through the winter months.

It's. Been. Tough.

Today was no different. My heart sank when I came upon my main apiary and did not see a single bee flying from a few hives.

                                ****Indiana's photography debut on the blog. She loves Athena****

Three hives dead. Three hives totally empty. Nothing. Nada.

Three hives succumbed to Colony Collapse Disorder, and my strongest hive was one of the victims.

It just plain stinks.

I spent an hour pulling hives parts down and stacking them half heartedly into my storage building, as I was not in the frame of mind to complete any sort of organizing of hive components.

The cause of the incredible loss could really be any number of things. We do not spray chemicals here, but what about the farm down the road? I am fairly certain they do use harsh chemicals, and that could well have played it's role in the CCD of these hives.

           ****Willow and Bumpit. Bumpit can be a rascal, but she is sometimes very sweet too****

Ironic that a farm that wishes to get a high crop yield would kill off bees when these same bees are needed for the pollination of such crops. Organic pesticides are just as deadly too.

1/3 of our food is dependent upon the pollination of the honey bee. That's a huge chunk of our food.

I emptied my smoker, hung my bee suit and veil up and then decided to work on a different chore. All of the chores needed to be finished today before the rain started, despite my disappointment and frustration.

There is a saying I have had to repeat many times this wet, soggy summer.

"It could always be worse."



  1. I am so sorry to hear about your bees. My son came home last night with a video of him and his employer getting a hive down from a tree that had swarmed. He told me that they have had bad luck with the bees also. He did say that last year they had two empty hives and for some weird reason two groups of bees moved in. He said that hardly ever happens once, let alone twice. I hope your bee luck changes.

  2. So sorry to hear about your hives. When will people understand the domino effect spraying has on nature?!
    I do hope you get some healthy hives back soon.


    1. Thanks Kayli! I am positive that next year will be better!!!!

  3. So sorry about your bees. They are one of those many big issues I worry about but feel rather helpless to do anything about. We'd like to keep bees, but we know the local bee keepers and their struggles are so hard, we aren't sure we could manage. Too many farmers just hose everything down. We have had our neighbour come and spray down the track/ our drive, which we share from the main road. What ever he used, the grass turned brown and just died in hours. Within 24 hours we lost 40 turkeys, and 26 chickens, who had been free ranging in that field. Our field. There are a lot of wild rabbits in the fields around us and we have found them dying all over in the few days after. I can't imagine a delicate honey bee would cope. I hope the winter is gentle to your other bees, and that next summer gives them abundance so that they can grow and regroup.

    1. Those poor bunnies and birds! People have it so pounded into their brains that round-up fixes everything! Bee keeping has been challenging this year for sure but I will try and get it built back up next spring!

  4. I'm very sorry. My hive succumbed this summer too. I am not sure if I will try again.

    1. I can totally understand! I am going to try and build up the best I can in the spring! Don't let one bad year convince you that you can't do it! This year the rain has been unreal and has caused many, many problems! Hang in there!

  5. Hi! I just found your blog and am reading some back posts. Just wanted to say how sad this post made me. I am a big, huge believer in organic food and homegrown food, free of pesticides. I do not buy anything else from the stores. And I also LOVE raw organic honey. I really do hope things get under control in our beautiful country and that the bees will thrive again.


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