And I thought that the great bee emergency was reserved for commercial beekeepers and the good folks in Baden-Württemburg…
This morning — right now — my bees are dying by the thousands in great heaps under the hive in my Albuquerque backyard.
The worst part? There’s absolutely nothing I can do.
Perhaps the City sprayed yesterday for the mosquitoes that follow our annual monsoon season. Perhaps a neighbor went pesticide crazy. I’ve no idea, but just yesterday I had a full and burgeoning hive.
All I can do right now is ease their discomfort as they twitch and writhe. Maybe remove the bottom board so the few remaining bees can move freely between the comb without being encumbered by thousands of their dead sisters.
I’m disheartened right now. For my bees. For our world.
For the past month or so, my girls have flirted with the event that drives despair into many a beekeeper’s heart — swarming.
According to this bee expert, bees swarm for two reasons:
Though Queen Natasha has been quite prolific, the hive is not yet full. My girls are most certainly antsy due to the overcrowding resulting from recent nectar flows in town.
I’ve tried everything I can think of to keep them happily hived including the introduction of empty top bars into the brood nest. So far, they haven’t hived, but the youngsters keep building swarm cells.
Could it be an emergency preparedness tactic more than a full-on declaration of swarm?
To some it’s a chili-laden hot dog from The Dog House. To others, it’s anything covered in chopped green from Frontier or a bowl of posole on Christmas Eve (Ay dios mio, even Rachael Ray has a posole recipe).
To the 30,000 honeybees living in my backyard, Albuquerque quite literally tastes like flowers. Continue reading