Saturday, August 9, 2008

August Bees

The summer has been active. A bit too active for my liking really, with a very "spirited" new hive. I have had to resort to full gear (veil, boots and long sleeves) every time I go up. I don't think that they are mean bees really, just more defensive than some, and a bit impulsive. Each of the stings I have gotten can be rationalized; a girl got caught in my hair and freaked out, a girl bumped into me because I was in her way while pulling out weeds and freaked out, a girl got caught in my pants fold and freaked out. You get the idea. (As with parenting, it's easy to blame oneself when anything goes wrong.) But the other hive is so mellow. How could this be? I guess it is like having a second child and being surprised at how different they are from the first. But why should they be the same? It is hard to approach them now without fear or anger. It is sinking in that we are not "friends" really. I still love sitting near them and watching them though. It calms me and stills my mind.

About a week ago, following my mentor's advice, I started feeding the girls again. Apparently there is not enough out there for them, in part due to the heavy rains that wash all the pollen of the flowers. I found them to be ravenous! Sucking down a gallon of sugar water within hours. They will stop taking the "bee tea" when they no longer need it, but I can't keep up with them. Yesterday I decided to give them two of the frames of honey that were left over from last winter. I opened up the large plastic container on the front patio and took out two frames and left two behind. By the time I set them up at the hives, the girls had found the two that I had left on the patio (note to self; don't forget to put the top back on next time.) I brought the whole container up to the hives and watched as they gorged themselves all afternoon. the frames were covered with bees within 20 minutes. Each frame holds about 4 pounds of honey and by the end of the afternoon, each cell of each frame was dry as a bone. I am thinking now that I probably will not get any honey this year if this is the state that they are in. I need to be o.k. with that. I have come to think of myself as being "at their service" versus the other way around. I am thinking instead of making some beeswax "products" i.e. body lotion and lip balm. Things that use the by products of the hive but are not dependent on them producing honey.
Today I will venture in to see what is going on inside the hives. Fully covered, full of love.