I was just walking through the field with Bridger and my cousin Jed a few hours ago and stumbled upon this beauty:
|What a way to make your day!|
But I'll also wager that they didn't complain about it nearly as much as I do. Even though, at times, it was probably a matter of life and death.
For me, this dreadful winter was just a matter of mild discomfort. Physically, mentally and financially.
For the bees, of course, it truly was life and death.
More death then life, unfortunately. 65% gone.
Much blame to be placed squarely on the incompetent beekeeper.
But you can always blame Climate Change, right?
The old timers in the bee club are saying it was the worst winter in 40 years. Most are saying it was the worst bee year ever because of the added stress of a poor summer honey flow.
This meant that March was filled with bee yard clean-ups. So many dead-outs.
|Mr. Blair had his fill of dead bees.|
Still, for beekeepers, hope springs eternal. The warmth has arrived, though fickle with wind and rain. I think we've seen our last frozen dead cluster. I've been feeding the living and dreaming of dandelions.
Throughout March there were still many pleasant surprises. So surprising in fact, I couldn't help but snap some photos of a few future boomers:
And a lot less of this:
|Dead. A should-a-been-boomer.|
Blame it on the beekeeper.
In a few of the less fortunate bee yards the many lifeless brood boxes about filled the truck.
|Swing Low, Sweet Chariot|
It became a growing wall of death:
Not all doom and gloom.
The hives with young queens and plenty of honey stores were actually just fine.
Best yard- One dead:
Worst yard- One alive:
When I worked for the Morris Honey Company (2006), we took all the bees to the citrus in far southern California. This was after the almond bloom in February. Wayne, my boss, liked to brag that he was the only beekeeper in the country who extracted honey beginning in March.
Well Wayne, eat your heart out:
|Dad looks on in wide-eyed wonder.|