More gross than a thousand creepy ex-boyfriends is this: A wax moth-infested beehive.
Two months ago, this hive was booming. But when it exuberantly swarmed in July during one of the hottest and driest summers on record in Albuquerque, we already knew the end of the story.
It goes a little something like this…
- First, the girls can’t/won’t/don’t raise a new queen.
- Next, their numbers dwindle.
- Then, the delicate balance of nature tips in favor of wax moths and ants and robber bees.
And thusly skin-crawling putrefaction occurs in the hive as moths build tunnels through wax comb and ants pilfer the remaining honey. It’s a race to the bottom and the few remaining worker bees struggle hopelessly like violinists on the sinking Titanic. They scurry and gather and clean but are destined for death.
Opening such a hive is a visceral endeavor for you’re not sure whether to cry or wretch. If it weren’t for a stiff drink afterwards, I’d probably do both.
At this point, we’re focusing on our strong remaining hives and will let this one sadly languish until winter’s hard freeze. Both bees and moths will have perished then and we’ll clean and freeze for a fresh start next year.
And so the tale of this hive ends. Except that I happen to know there’s a little Lebowski on the way and that the early spring split from this hive is going strong, strong enough to survive the winter and promise new birth next year.