Monday, April 18, 2011

Facebee: soon adding 20,000 new friends

location, location, location:
nectar right across the street
Next weekend finally, we pick up our packages of bees at the darling Beekind in Sebastopol.  Inside each little wooden box, we will have 10,000 new friends and a new queen, which we'll pour into their new homes.  One package we'll install at home, in the garden, the other at the shop, in the Canal.

At home yesterday, we spent a little time moving and leveling the hive boxes in their new spot for this season and beyond.  As we did so, it was in the company of wild bees, busy working over the Pride of Madeira, the apple blossoms, the borage, the Pawlonia.  They are beside themselves with busy-ness right now, heavy with pollen, so filled with purpose.  It's so great to have them here, to know that there's such abundant food for when the new bees arrive.

Since last July when both our hives died, it's been way too quiet in our yard.  Abruptly last summer both hives, the one we'd purchased the year before from Alan Hawkins, from whom we took a course at Green Gulch in 2009, the other a swarm we caught within days of completing our beekeeping classes, dropped dead, seemingly overnight, the ground in front of the hives covered with little corpses.  They'd been thriving, busy at their work, coming home laden with pollen, a little defensive of our hive-checks but healthy and strong.  And then suddenly, gone.

I found out just a couple of months ago that a neighbor two doors down had a thriving wild colony of bees under his deck commercially poisoned right around the same time as we lost our hives.  It doesn't seem so odd now that our bees died, possible victims of second-hand pesticide. It's such a shame to kill bees like that, I can't even believe anyone would do it in this day and age, particularly when there are dozens, if not hundreds, of avid beekeepers ready and willing to extract those bees and either keep them, give them away or sell them on Craig's List.

At any rate,  after this long period of quiet and a long, wet winter, I'm so glad to be introducing new residents to our yard.  Soon, once again, we'll reap the many benefits of their presence, not least of which is the simple joy of sitting by the hive, smelling that sweet smell of wax and honey, watching them flying in and out of the hive, spinning the bounty of the nectar-flow into gold of their own.

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