It’s Wednesday again, so time for more updates from the crazy world of learning about bees. Our equipment shipped from Brushy Mountain yesterday, and all 115 pounds of it attached to three separate UPS tracking numbers left Raleigh about an hour before I wrote this, and should be blocking my way into my own house by tomorrow. Which means we’ve got a hell of a project set for this weekend as we assemble all the unassembled bits. We’ve got a little time, but it’d be nice to have all the paint and glue dried well before the bees move in.
Last night’s beekeeping lesson was on the various threats to bees. Bacterial, viral, mites, and predators. Surprisingly little about colony collapse disorder (CCD), which I learned isn’t a single event but is a broad umbrella term that covers all instances of “something went wrong with the hive, and we don’t really know what.” Colony loss is cyclical, and we’re just living in one of the down points in that cycle, made more visible by improved scientific tools, faster communication, larger scale movable apiaries, and probably just a little by a more sensationalized media. Which loves bees. I was living in San Antonio when Africanized bees crossed the Rio Grande, and by god, you’d think they were going to KILL US ALL! KILLER BEES! RUN! HIDE! While I’m not going to raise Africanized bees, they became popular for a reason. In several ways are easier to handle.
We also learned about mites, moths, skunks, and bears. It all came with an interesting test. Apparently what you do is take a cup of powdered sugar, put it into a sifter, and sift it over your hive. Take a brush, and make sure it gets all down inside. The causes the bees to be really fluffy and clean themselves. Which results in them knocking off any pests and being about as cute as insects can be. An oiled base board will catch the pests and allow for a good count. If there are any bears, then you might have a problem. Even one is too many. Three or more bears found by this test probably mark a colony that can’t be saved.
Or was that the mites test?
I left my notes at home.
Updates on equipment in terms of arrival, assembly, and painting will probably be on Twitter. Only a few months until we’ll have our dueling hives with their monarchs: Queen Kickass I and Queen Victoria Queen Victoria Queen Victoria.