I haven’t written about our bees in quite some time. On our tours, I don’t really point them out anymore. It’s because while we had two wonderfully strong hives last year and one weak one, by early winter the weak hive had died as expected but so had the strongest hive. By late winter so had the other strong hive and frankly I was depressed looking out at those hives. The view above is of our wonderful sunset but it’s overlooking our bee hives. I’m the Pol Pot of bee keeping and I’ve murdered more bees than I care to think about. I know that everyone else is loosing bees too, but these two hives were doing so well, I just knew they were going to make it. Having all three die over the winter was just too much and I was considering calling our bee supplier and canceling the order for packages I have coming this year and just getting out of beekeeping altogether.
When I inspected my hives this winter, I was so disgusted that I didn’t even bother to put them back together correctly and left one hive open and exposed. I figured the honey that was in there would at least feed the native bees. The other two hives were closed up properly because who knows, maybe a swarm will drop in.
The other day, Miguel asked if my bees had shown up. Nope, don’t have them yet. Not sure when they are getting here, I think it was in May. What’s that then? I looked over, and one of the hives was awash with bees.
Too late for native bees to be robbing I think. Goodness! A swarm has moved in! And guess which hive it is. The one that was open and exposed. Go figure!
I went over and carefully put the hive back together. I noted that the foraging bees are steadily pulling honey from the other hive, plus there is honey still in this hive. A swarm of native bees, with a new queen, and plenty of honey to get started! These guys should do alright.
Suddenly I’m happy about beekeeping again and I’m looking forward to my three packages of bees showing up. I’ve never had a native swarm take up like this so it’ll be great to see how they do against package bees.
I’ve always let me bees swarm if they wanted to. I figure that’s another chance for bees to be out in nature replacing the losses that bees have been having. It sure feels good that nature gave me back a swarm, and my hope.