Only Do It for Love (Or, Keeping Bees)

As some of you know we are generational beekeepers here at Voodoo.  I am the third and my children who help me,are the fourth. The one thing that sunk in while learning beekeeping from my dad was to do it for the simple pleasure of doing it.  You are not going to be a  millionaire keeping bees.  On a small farm, beekeeping is not going to be the major generator to keep you going.  Do it because you love nature, you understand the value of pollination on your farm and you enjoy the delight on people’s  faces when they taste the honey.  And remember,anything can go wrong.  Anything.  You can be visited by a skunk, mites, or in our case a bear.  We have three hives securely behind high voltage electric fencing, but there was this fourth hive…a gift from the powers that be, a swarm we caught over the summer that we had out in the open.  Big mistake.  When we caught it, it had swarmed twenty feet up in a tree.  Oren climbed the twenty feet and started to saw, Tim and I stayed on the ground,box at the ready.  So the swarm decided to go up thirty feet.  You see where this is going.  After many hours, Oren spraining his ankle, a couple of stings and myself finally sweeping them into a box, we had them.  And they did great!  And the season went on.  We should get that fence up we  thought.  Of course things happened, the goat gave birth, a few hundred chickens escaped,  our four children decided they needed our attention, and so on.  The pictures below are of the bear attack and the bees in their new home.  The day after the bear ripped apart the hive  I put on my big girl overalls and went out to it to clean up.  And I found a pathetic ball of bees, slow and tired from the cold and the rain, waiting to die, huddled in one of the broken boxes.  Well, it wasn’t the first time I had found them a home, so I grabbed our observation hive and swept them into it.  They are living in the house now and trying to get themselves together.  I haven’t  seen the queen, she could be long gone.  At any rate their chances of survival are  slim.  But we’ll try..again.

bearattack obhive1

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