The Bee Problems Have Arrived

The Bee Problems Have Arrived

Notice anything wrong in that picture above?  No, it’s not out of focus and this isn’t a post about pruning.  Yes, the flowers ARE so beautiful!  But there’s no bees.  Not a single honey bee in the blooms.  I thought maybe they might just be sleeping or something.  Or maybe it’s too wet.  Or still too cold.  A few days later, still not a single honey bee in sight.  I went next door to investigate.

Our little farm is…or was… pollinated by a wild hive next door.  Our lovely neighbors left the hive alone and let it coexist with them in their backyard.  They confirmed that the hive left when we thought they had just splintered off.  I was devastated.  We will not have any fruit on the trees this year.  And just when I had discovered that wonderful yellow plum tree in the backyard.  What now?

Luckily, I have a friend that has a couple of hives..the fabulous Diane.  She has graciously offered to let me borrow a hive for the farm.  Life saver!  In the interim, we’ve both been looking around town and we aren’t seeing any bees anywhere else, either.  It’s kind of scary.  She’s in a bee club and made some inquiries.  It seems there were huge hive losses during the snowpocalypse.  And, as we discovered, the wild hives have left.  Many of the local farms are starting to wring their hands.  Diane thinks it might be all the giant vineyards moving in from California, but I’m not so sure.

I suspect this is going to push produce products prices that rely on bees here locally through the roof.  We’ve enjoyed low costs on so many locally grown produce for as long as I’ve lived here that it really hasn’t occured to me that it could change.  I think the orchards will probably suffer the most.  We could see the end of many U-picks.  Time will tell.

In the meantime, I’m on a paid waiting list for a hive.  Diane directed me to the local bee box maker.  The hives will arrive at the end of April.  I’ve been so spoiled with a wild hive next door and now I’m going to have to add bees to my chores list.  I know, I know….poor me and all my whining.  I’m actually pretty grateful to have the opportunity to even have a hive at all.

Now, I have to bone up on all my bee hive maintenance skills.  It’s been about eight years since I’ve done it.  It’s like a riding a bike, right?  Just lie to me.  My farm is depending on me.  All the eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, and squash are in severe peril right now.  And the peas!  We need to save the peas!  I can do this!  What I AM looking forward to is getting Hubs into a beesuit so I can take pics.

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