-Posted by Isaac
Yesterday the radio said that we’ve just suffered through the hottest June ever recorded. By we, I mean the world. Not Ohio. In fact, come to think of it, I’m surprised they even allow that kind of fake news ‘round these parts.
And I hear the climate dorks are really crowing in Europe these days. It seems they’ve had a little heat. But I’m happy to say our long lost Seth has found ways of mitigating these trivial problems.
We got an email from him this week. All about his adventures in Italy and beyond. He’s trying to tease us into making a trip, and it may just work. We’ll see.
I just hope he doesn’t forget his beekeeping roots. Hearing about all this fun, seeing all these new cultures, I worry that he’s losing his good ol’ boy core. His O-H-I-O. Will he forget what it’s like here in the Buckeye? It’s easy to lose things.
For instance, it takes principle, talent, courage, and true midwestern stubbornness to remain a climate denier with the heat index at 107.
This kind of talent has not yet developed in other, shall we say, fact-based societies. It easily slips away if you leave the Heartland and travel around.
Will we ever get him back?
We’re missing our Seth, and this week we were missing our kids too. They took a road trip to far Grandma’s.
Leaving Jayne and I to fend for ourselves.
And we got so much done! We ate out at three fancy restaurants and made it through six Game Of Thrones. We enjoyed the quiet. We read. We conversed. It was uncanny at first, as we both expected to be interrupted any second. It’s almost unnerving… unbroken conversation for longer than a minute. No barking intrusions, no fights to break up.
I do miss them, the kids, but I have to say I’m also going to miss the quiet. Yesterday Jayne headed north to get them and I spent the evening alone watching the sun go down.
With only my ladies of the night to keep me company.
The bee work didn’t stop or slow with our heat wave. In fact, this whole month I’ve been putting in some long days. Not just to super hives for the soybean flow.
You beekeepers will recognize those white strips as formic acid mite treatment.
I got everybody treated in early June, and since then I’ve been going around trying to fix the problems. Formic acid is an organic treatment that can be used with honey supers on. It does a great job killing mites, but it’s also a bit hard on the bees. Every year I’m getting better at keeping yard records, and this year I really wanted to quantify the damages attributed to the treatment. I found out that close to 20% of the hives will kill the queen and end up with emergency cells.
This is not good.
I knew that this happened with a formic treatment, and I used to console myself with the fact that most of the killed queens were the old ones. Plus it was still early, plenty of time to make a new queen and come back in good shape for fall honey. But I have sort of changed my thinking… Do you really want queens from emergency cells? Isn’t this kind of a gamble?
Not only are you potentially missing the summer honey, but you’re really taking some chances with the quality of queen who will be taking that hive through the winter. The longer I thought about it, the more I realized I had to take some action.
This was going to be an expensive mite treatment.
Every hive got inspected, if the bees had killed their queen, a new one went in. I have now installed over 100 beauties from California, turning a $2000 mite treatment into a $5000 treatment+mitigation. Wow. Those beauties aren’t cheap.
But you know, I feel good about it. I’m feeling confident that I did something right. You can’t always count on the bees. Especially dealing with formic acid. Sometimes they mess up. For whatever reason, they lose their collective mind and put somebody in the highest office who just isn’t fit to serve.
Good thing humans never do that.