Tuesday, August 27, 2013
This photo is from the spring, a day when we were full of hope and enthusiasm, when anything seemed possible.
It has been a sad summer for us, a summer of more questions than answers and more losses than gains. Our bees just have not thrived. July was a telling month. We lost Andrea's girls, and we struggled with long periods of not having brood or seeing our queens. None of the hives have produced much honey, and in most cases not enough for overwintering. I am not sure what we will do. Colleen's Royal Ruckus has one almost full super which will give us about 3 gallons and if we take anything from the other hives we might end up with 5 gallons. A far cry from the 20 gallons we got last year.
I am at a loss for the causes but I am well aware of the struggle bees are having. I worry that we don't have good nutritional sources, but how can that be after last year. I worry that the one farmer nearby who is using heavy chemicals is hurting our bees, but how can that be after last year. I worry that Varroa destructor is hurting our bees, but how can that be they were new packages. It was a long, cold and wet spring which didn't help the situation and we have not had great weather until recently which is just too late for the bees.
Maybe we just had bad bee juju this year, maybe we got hit hard by a combination of problems. I don't know. I just know how sad and painful it is and I can't imagine being a commercial beekeeper and dealing with losses of a greater magnitude. This is a hobby, an expensive one yes, but a still a hobby. We can recover and go at it again next year but it is a different story for commercial beekeepers who are loosing hundreds of hives and in some cases having to shut down.
I am sad I won't have honey for the Jewish New Year. I am sad I might not have enough honey for my wedding favors. I am sad my bees will die because they don't have enough stores for the winter. I am just sad about it all. I don't want to bemoan but it is hard to get my chin up. I love my bees and I love my time in the bee yard. The past 6 weeks have been a struggle and in the sprit of trying to keep my hopes up I kept all of this to myself. Now that the summer is coming to an end I just have to fess up and admit it has been a very bad year. So there you have it. If you have been fortunate enough to get honey from The Flight of The Turquoise Bee Apiary your share may be very small this year.