Archive | April, 2012

The Silent Bee Hive

30 Apr

7 months later, it’s time to clean the hive of doom, utterly devastated by wax moths last September. Like the unbearable pain of losing your sweetest love, sometimes denial works best. Denial and the slow plod of time’s anesthesia.

But eventually, one must don a pair of work gloves and dig in. This weekend, I finally lifted the lid of my devastated hive and began the slow and disgusting work of cleaning her out.

Cleaning up a hive destroyed by wax moths

Fortunately, the chill of winter had killed all remaining wax moths, and robber bees had removed all remaining drops of honey. So, you see, avoidance seems to have worked in my favor after all.

Cleaning up a hive destroyed by wax moths Cleaning up a hive destroyed by wax moths

What would have been a sticky slime-filled mess, was now simply dessicated and devoid of life.

Cleaning up a hive destroyed by wax moths

And so, I’ll clean off the cocoons and webbing. I’ll freeze the frames to kill any remaining moth eggs. And I’ll pick up my heavy heart and start over.

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The Beekeepers of Albuquerque, New Mexico

21 Apr

2012 Spring Field Day for Albuquerque Beekeepers

We’re an eccentric crew.

With over 400 teachers, students, attorneys, engineers, scientists, accountants, fighter pilots and more, the Albuquerque beekeeping scene is endlessly varied. And one of my greatest pleasures is to volunteer as co-chair with Jessie Brown to organize our collective efforts.

Hands down, the highlight of our annual event series is our Spring Field Day. Lucky us, today was another beautiful and bee-filled day in the Rio Grande Valley.

2012 Spring Field Day for Albuquerque Beekeepers 2012 Spring Field Day for Albuquerque Beekeepers
2012 Spring Field Day for Albuquerque Beekeepers 2012 Spring Field Day for Albuquerque Beekeepers
2012 Spring Field Day for Albuquerque Beekeepers 2012 Spring Field Day for Albuquerque Beekeepers
2012 Spring Field Day for Albuquerque Beekeepers 2012 Spring Field Day for Albuquerque Beekeepers
2012 Spring Field Day for Albuquerque Beekeepers 2012 Spring Field Day for Albuquerque Beekeepers

View a slideshow of the full photo set.

Learn more about beekeeping in Albuquerque.

The Existential Pleasures of Beekeeping

9 Apr

The world is filled with postures of certainty, like a well-honed consumer behavior study or the latest microeconomic manifesto. And that, my friends, is why I keep bees.

I keep bees for the pure moments of surprise, doubt, and confusion that inevitably arise when I least expect them…

  • When the burgeoning hive that towers like a honey-filled monster in my backyard disappears without a trace while I’m in Sweden.
  • When the walkaway split that I created like a reckless cowgirl manages to A) raise a queen; B) mate the queen; C) return the queen before her sisters revolt; and D) grow a new generation in time for winter.
  • When the perfect hive succumbs like a midnight victim to varroa.
  • When the underdog colony I presumed dead in March turns out to be jammed full of bees and blasting into summer.

I keep bees for the magic of utterly unexpected moments filled with challenge and hope; disappointment and glittering joy. I keep bees for all that I could never hope to control.

Update on the DIY Propolis Hive Entrance

9 Apr

A month ago, I found that my neglected hive had built its own propolis entrance reducer since I forgot to add one last fall. As temperatures warm up with the season, my theory is that the girls will remove and reshape the propolis as needed. Here are two shots, about one month apart and one month closer to summer. Do you notice any changes?

Propolis at the hive entrance on March 2

Propolis at the hive entrance on March 2

Propolis at the hive entrance on April 9

Propolis at the hive entrance on April 9