Tuesday, May 8, 2012
The Bees Know - Part 2
The bees are capping brood on the frames of drawn comb they created seemingly overnight. It won't be long now and I'll be adding a second super to the hive so they have more room to expand.
Becoming a new beekeeper is a bit like becoming a new parent. A lot can happen to my 60,000 little honey makers. The beekeeping class I attended, (in the garage of a beekeeper who posted the class on craigslist, but that's another story), already had me worrying about all the various mites, wasps, colony collapse disorder, farmers dusting their crops, moths, blah blah blah.. Then there is the potential of swarming. It is not like you can put 60,000 little leashes on them, they are free to leave whenever the queen decides she'd like a change of scenery. So basically you have a couple hundred bucks, with wings, loose in the yard and you have to hope that they don't just fly off. Oh, and they don't come back when you call them.
So just when you come to grips with all the threats endangering your honey, which will become little $7 teddy bears and a delicious mead, I notice return of my barn swallows. Every spring I actually look forward their arrival. They build a mud nest and raise baby swallows under my second floor deck, in the same spot every year. They dutifully clear my yard of large quantities of the mosquitos, wasps, etc that invade our property the moment the frost melts.
The issue, of course, is that these once welcomed feathery terminators have taken a liking to the honeybees. Crap!
Now I have to choose, sacrifice a few thousand bees to my bird buddies so I can BBQ without being drained of blood or chase off the birds, maybe, and protect my bees from one of the many threats that they face.
I think I will keep an eye on my bee population and if it drops, the birds will have to get an eviction notice.