Sunday, May 04, 2008

Bees ...

My son, Mark, arrived a week or so ago with a hive box and about 10,000 bees. He has 2 hives at his home but wanted to spread out a bit so here we are with our own hive, carefully being tended by him. They are Mark's bees and he does all the work, but I cannot help but refer to them as "my bees."

Mark came by a few days ago to release the Queen, who was encapsulated in a tiny, sugary box which the workers are chewing through. The bees were calmed by the smoke. A few did try to sting him but his protective gear kept him from feeling it.

The bees are already building comb in the box and pollinating plants in my garden. When they first arrive bees need to be fed, so yesterday Mark came by with a gallon of sugar water (5 lbs. of sugar to 1 Gallon of water) to refill their reservoir so they can eat while they begin bringing their new home together and producing honey. They will be fed again in the fall before winter comes to help hold them over. We will not harvest any honey this year, letting them spend their first winter living on the honey they themselves produce and the extra sugar syrup Mark feeds them.

Honey is a very magical food and an antimicrobial healing agent. My dog, Molly, recently had surgery to remove a nasty cyste on her tail. After the cyste was removed the veterinarian dressed the wound with honey and then bandaged it. I had no idea that honey could be used in this way. The site has healed on Molly's tail and she is as good as new. I will use honey next time I cut myself to help the healing along.

Besides providing us with honey, bees are critically important because they pollinate the plants we use for food. Without them and other pollinators, the growing food crisis around the world will become more than a crisis. Starvation will not only effect the poor, it will effect the richest of the rich. Food growers as well as the world's bee keepers will be without work.

Bees have been mysteriously dissapearing. Called "Colony Collapse Disorder," hives around the world are found abandoned with no sign of the bees. It is believed that a mite and/or a virus are involved and scientists are at work trying to discover what else could be to blame. Other pollinators such as bumble bees are at risk as well. I often wonder about the tons of pesticides that are being used to grow our food crops. Could that be part of the problem??

We'll see what happens with this hive. I'll keep you posted on this latest adventure!


Star said...

Lucky you to have bees nearby!

We have two friends who have had hives, one for a decade or more and the other only a few years, but the bees have left both in the last couple of years. It is certainly cause for concern as you've mentioned here.

Ann said...

I was just reading in a herb book (looking for love potions actually) that lemon balm planted around bee hives keeps the bees happily together and makes them enjoy coming 'home.'
Makes humans happy too!

Visual-Voice said...

verry cool, Joan. You'll have to create a Secret Life now!

PJS said...

as always, when i tune to your blog, i am never dissappointed! glad mark isn't having bee colony collapse - my friend, judy, has bees on her ranch near here, and they are still with her - i've always suspected chemicals! in anything!!!!! they are making plastic hummer feeders now that concern me because they sit in the hot sun which can help turn the plastic toxic!