Thursday, September 08, 2011

An Inadvertent Beekeeper

I was over at my mom’s house yesterday and she told me to look out at our empty beehive. 

This is what I saw:

It’s empty no longer, evidently. 

Here is a quick bee recap:

Our beloved Mud Honey hive died out last winter and we decided not to rehive it this spring as my parents were hoping to redo the vegetable garden in which the hive was located. 

So the colony was dead but we neglected to bring in the hive boxes. Rogue bees from the area came by to forage for honey that the previous workers had left in the supers. 

Later this spring, my parents noticed a swarm at the far end of their garden. I tried to convince the padres to rehome them in our empty hive boxes but as the veggie garden work hadn’t been completed started, they weren’t buying that proposition. Instead that swarm went to live with a fellow beekeeper.

So imagine my mother’s surprise last week when she looked out into the garden upon her return from vacation and discovered that a colony had set up shop in our empty hive!

 We’re guessing that this hive is an offshoot of a large feral hive that lives in a nearby dead tree. That was probably also the source of the early summer swarm as well. 

Regardless, we have bees again!!!!! 

I am so excited. 

My parents, on the other hand, are less so. Especially as my mom was going to have a couple guys come out this week and start work on the stalled garden project….

[I feel obligated to point out that our beekeeping practices were not in top form, in regards to leaving out empty supers and allowing feral bees to pick through the remains {and set up shop permanently}. Given the number of unknown factors surrounding Colony Collapse Disorder, in addition to various diseases and mite problems, the responsible thing to do would have been to remove the hive boxes, clean them, and freeze them. Which is what we did to the ten other boxes from last season. But I didn’t get around to attending to these two last boxes. My fault and I’m feeling a bit badly about it. BUT, if I’d done that, we wouldn’t have a HIVE RIGHT NOW. Sometimes, laziness triumphs.]