busy as a bee
“The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” Henry David Thoreau
Bees may be the most fascinating of God’s creatures… at least in our garden anyhow! With beekeeping as with life, we never stop learning or as a one beekeeper, Michael Bush, said, “If you are not confused, you are not learning anything.”
At the beginning of August our strongest hive – kept at our local farmers – had lots of brood, bees and honey – probably 2 gallons in the super, which is why we left it – so they might fill it more. Turns out the weather in Virginia has been hard on the bees this year…and today we went out to check on the hive and it was empty of all honey… all of it… every single last drop. Gratefully there was still some brood, but not a lot and a good amount of bees, but the poor girls are literally living hand to mouth and could not have gone on long like that.
By some amazing circumstance we brought one quart of sugar water with us – not really thinking we would need it – and it is certainly not enough for this colony. They will go through it all in one night. But thank goodness we had some!
You see, September and early October is a very important time for the bees. The eggs the queen lays now will sustain the hive during the winter. Winter bees are special little bees that are physiologically different than her spring and summer sisters. Worker bees live for about 6 weeks in the summer, but the eggs laid in the next few weeks will grow into the winter bees which live for four to nine months, warming the hive in the cold winter months and tending and caring for the hive through spring.
Needless to say, we are now busy as bees making lots and lots sugar syrup … which as a student of holistic nutrition is very against my grain, but then again
“The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him