Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mom the Bee"keeper"

Hi, it's Celia again.

Doesn't the word "beekeeper" mean that you actually keep bees? That you "keep" them alive?

My mom is a "beekeeper". She belongs to the Lancaster County Beekeepers Society, or as she calls it, the Bee Club. They have monthly meetings that my mom tries to go to, and sometimes they have banquets and picnics. She doesn't like it when we go with her. She says all we want to do is eat and leave, when she wants to eat and sit around and talk about bees. For hours. Mom and her fellow beekeepers talk about mites, and hive beetles, and pollination. Oh, and honey yield, and the best place to put a hive, and when to split the hive, and should we be treating them with powdered sugar? And did any of your hives survive the winter? It goes on and on and on.

Mom's bees always  usually die when it gets cold. She says pesticides weaken the bees and make it hard for them to survive the winter. But guess what? This year she actually had bees that survived. But it took her a little while to realize it.

January: On a warm day Mom goes out and checks the bees. She knocks on the hive and listens for buzzing. Nothing. She peeks into the hive and sees a cluster of dead bees. She declares the hive dead.

Beginning of March: John comes in to the house and tells Mom there are bees flying in and out of the hive. She says they are probably robbers stealing any honey that was left from the dead hive. She tells him she'll take a look.

Mid March: She walks down to the hive. Surprise! There are bees flying in and out, and they're bringing in pollen. A sure sign of a working hive. She puts on her bee suit, opens the hive, and yes, there are bees. A small cluster, but they have a queen so Mom's happy.

End of March: She goes to see the hive again. No bees are flying in and out. She didn't have time to suit up, so she assumes the hive is dead.

April: John and I were down near the hive shooting the bb and pump guns, and guess what! There are bees flying in and out of the hive. We told Mom, and she walked down, saw lots of bees, and declared the hive alive again. It's a bee miracle!

So Mom can now say that she managed to keep a hive alive over the winter. Woo hoo! I just hope we get some delicious honey.

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