This weekend was wonderfully warm, climbing into the upper 60's so it was a prime time to inspect our five hives. Jamey was already concerned because on previous warmer days he hadn't seen as much activity at the hives as he thought he should. Sure enough, after each hive roof was lifted off, the verdict was the same- they were all dead.
In each hive, the bee cluster was a mere inch or two away from honey but somehow they were unable to find it. Robber bees from other local bee yards had found the honey, unguarded, and were already helping themselves.
I sent a quick message to our experienced beekeeper friends asking if they could put us on the list for more bees this spring only to hear back that they experienced devastating losses this spring- 79 of their hives dead. They, too, can only guess as to what happened. A combination of weather patterns and an increase of spraying along their road were two of their educated guesses. You can read all about how herbicides and insecticides seem to be causing all kinds of detriments for honey bees by looking elsewhere online (here is a good place to start). I, honestly, don't feel like getting into all that now.
I'm just sad. Sad for our beekeeping friends and others like them who have invested so much time and resources into providing nutritious local honey for our community only to suffer such terrible losses. We can only imagine what that must feel like. We're just hobbyists. For them, it's part of their livelihood.
We're also making available the remaining sticky goodness left on the strained honeycomb to neighboring bee colonies. Maybe some of them will return the favor and come swarm into one of our empty hives this spring.
The term bittersweet has never described a day so perfectly.Pin It