Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day #452 Best Bees in the Yard

A few nights ago the Board of the Gwinnett County Beekeepers Club met, discussed business, and then devolved into a general discussion of how our various bees were doing. There were, alas, some sad stories. One woman had lost both her hives; one man had lost about 50% of his numerous hives.
The funny thing was that nobody knows why some beehives die and other hives survive. Oh, there are a kazillion theories out there--about as many theories as there are beekeepers. But don’t ever believe anyone who says he knows absolutely which beekeeping practices will cause hives to survive.
I got more and more worried, particularly when Rob Alexander, the man who is keeping my hives, said he’d had trouble with his. He wasn’t sure his hives were going to survive till Spring.
“Rob," I said with a great deal of trepidation, “what about my hives? How are they doing?”
“You’re hives are the healthiest ones in my bee yard,” he said. “They’re mean as the dickens, but they sure are strong.”
He told us how he had taken the frames out of each of my hives and placed five of my frames in a ten-frame box, filled the box with additional empty frames, then did the same with the next five frames.
Within two weeks, he said, the bees were overflowing those boxes, so he put on an additional layer, and now they’ve filled those layers as well.
“Why are they doing so well?” I asked.
“I think it’s because you hardly ever worked them,” he said. Beekeepers who are anxious to learn about their hives generally make a habit of opening the hives once a week--or more often--to inspect them. I never did that, particularly once I started having bad reactions to the stings. I just let them do their thing.
Think about it. That’s the way bees live in the wild. Unless there’s a visit from a marauding bear, wild hives are seldom opened to the outside air and light. 
So, just think of me as a venerable hollow oak tree, sheltering my bees for the time I had them here. But then again, that’s just one of MANY theories.
BEEattitude for Day #452:
       Blessed are those who let well enough alone, for they shall encourage and benefit from natural growth.

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