Sunday, April 27, 2008


The bees died. It happens. My father-in-law's dad used to keep bees in Western Minnesota, and they killed them each autumn so they could harvest more easily. They wouldn't do that today. Since I began beekeeping in 2002, the price of a package of bees has gone from $42 to $78. For a box of bugs. More if you get a fancy queen. I didn't. In fact, with the price of fuel so high, it now runs about $10 per trip to visit my Zumbrota beeyard. I will not be going there as much. Which is unfortunate. Because the year I was there every 3 to 4 days, was my biggest year in terms of pounds of honey produced. Nothing since has come close, but I have greatly reduced my manipulations of the hives - so much so that I am perilously close to being a bee-haver instead of a beekeeper. My fondest wish at the moment (apart from world peace and a cure for cavernous angioma) is to live someplace where I can have bees and chickens (and a pair of golden pheasants) This can be done in an urban setting - I just need to find copacetic neighbors (this is my blog and I get to use whatever words I want, thank you very much).

Anyway, the bees died. There were a few cold-snap days this late winter that did them in. The bees girls were scattered throughout the hive as though they had been feeding and caught out of cluster. Dang - there were a LOT of bees. These would have been good, strong colonies, and I could have made daughter hives from both of them. So It was either take a year off from beekeeping or.... Well, I had actually planned to take a year off from beekeeping and hope to be in different circumstances next year, financially and logistically. However, for my recent birthday, my partner put out a financial appeal, and the funds came in strong enough to order bees.

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