“Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.” William Jennings Bryan

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 15, 2009

Last week an owner of a tree company gave me a section of a hollowed log with a cluster of honey bees hanging tenuously inside. It seems his crew was taking down the tree when they cut into what they thought was a hornets nest. They sprayed it down with wasp and hornet spray and when all the bee activity ceased, they opened up the cavity to see the remains of a honey bee colony. The bees that came to me were maybe a thousand of what maybe had been a population of 10-20 thousand.

I took the hollowed section, bees and all, home and transferred them into a hive body containing a frame of comb donated by Bill, the area’s beekeeper’s mentor, and a few frames that I had around the house. Later I searched for the queen which I thought the odds of finding were zero, considering the colony had been sprayed down. I did not find her then, but until three days later during another inspection. I was really surprised to see her!

The problem now is this. The bees have no reserves of honey, and most likely the cluster will not be big enough to protect and warm the queen through the winter. In all likelihood, as it stands, the colony will not make it. At this point my plan is to keep feeding the bees sugar water for them to make honey, and maybe steal a frame or two of extra honey from another hive if their reserves are enough, to give to this new colony. With a little luck, that might work. The other option is to join this colony with another hive. To do that I will need to kill one of the queens, ‘cause there cannot be two. That involves playing God. No matter what I decide, their chances are better now than what they would have been.

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