Friday, May 23, 2008

I Am A Bee Murderer

empty bee hiveI've been neglecting my bees. I can't believe it was all the way back in February I checked them and found that both colonies survived the winter, although one had suffered mouse damage. I bought new woodwork and made up 40 frames with wax. I rescued some old used equipment and disassembled it, cleaned it up, and put new wax in. I melted and filtered the old wax and I made up several litres of sugar syrup to feed the weak colony.

And then I ground to a halt. I never went back and put all these things in place. Why not? Well, sometimes the weather was poor, sometimes I was busy, sometimes I forgot. I know - pathetic isn't it?

I went to the apiary today and found that the mouse-weakened colony is dead. Totally gone. Cleaned out. I probably could have saved them if I had done all the things I meant to do. So it's my fault they died.

The other colony is fine. They're a bit under-strength for the time of year, but a lot of beekeepers are finding the same thing. They're showing no signs of swarming. I'm just going to let them be, and keep my eye on them to see if they build up in strength.

I'm going to go the the bees at least once a week. My plan is to go every Monday. If for some reason I can't go on Monday, I'll try again on Tuesday, Wednesday etc. Then I'll go again the next Monday. If I just can't manage to find time to do that, I'm going to sell them. It's what I'd do if I had a dog and I couldn't take care of it properly. I'm going to be a proper beekeeper or I'm going to quit.

14 comments:

TopVeg said...

It is amazing how much time bee keeping takes- everyone underestimates it, & no-one warns you.

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heather t said...

Oh no! I am so sorry about your bees. I'm glad the other colony is ok, and I admire your resolve to do it right or not do it at all.

Yellow said...

Mel, will they be dead, or will they have moved on when their home became unlivable in?

Grace said...

Please quit. No self respecting beekeeper would ever allow this to happen.

I don't mean to be rude. But beekeeping does demand diligence and care, of which you have exhibited neither.

Stick to growing sprouts.

Matron said...

We used to keep bees years ago, it is quite a bit of work, especially this time of year when you have to search for queen cells. Please keep it up! We gardeners need all the bees we can get.

femsc said...

I was planning to just leave a hug for Mel (which I'll do anyway), but then I read Grace's comment.

Grace, if that's not being rude I should hate to see what is. Mel made a mistake, and has learned from it. She won't make the same mistake again. Don't you ever make mistakes? Haven't you ever done anything that you've later regretted? Did you achieve perfection and brilliance at everything you tried, right from the start? Please don't bother to answer, because I don't think I can be bothered to read your response.

And now Mel, here's that {{{{{hug}}}}}. Because you know that you're not perfect, and because you don't need people like Grace to tell you that. And here's another {{{{{hug}}}}}, because it takes courage to tell the world that you've been an eejit. Next year's bees will be fine, because you know now what you have to do to make them that way.

Fran

Melanie Rimmer said...

Thanks, Fran, and everyone else who left supportive messages. There's no guarantee that every comment someone leaves will be supportive and that's fine, I'm a big girl and I can take it. And anyway I'm punishing myself enough for messing up so badly with the bees. I also know my bee guru is disappointed with me, and he says I have a lot of work to do if I'm to become a beekeeper. The disapproval of a stranger has very little effect after that.

I'm not a quitter and I'm determined to learn from my mistakes and do better in future. I could sanitise this blog and only tell you about my successes. I could make sure you all get the impression that I am perfect, a wonderwoman, and that I everything I do is flawless and easy. But I can't see the point of that. I'll continue to share with you the highs and lows, the things I'm proud of and the things I'm not so proud of. I can laugh at myself when I do something stupid but harmless, and I can beat myself up when I do something really stupid and irresponsible. And I'll tell you about it all.

Your support is a real boost to me. The brickbats are no worse than I give myself anyway.

femsc said...

I guessed you'd be kicking yourself with knife-embossed hobnailed boots, so I couldn't see any sense in pointing out the obvious. The original hug was because there's nothing worse than knowing you've stuffed up and that there's nothing you can do about it - and that it's all your own fault. You're intelligent enough to know that you've been a culpable iriot, and you don't need anyone else to rub it in.

Have another {{{{{hug}}}}}, and some of your favourite chocolate or vice of choice :)

Fran

Bill of Ballaugh said...

Just remember, Mel, the person who never made a mistake never made anything. Even your Dad has made the occasional one, (and I would like to underline the word 'occasional').

neil said...

Why should you quit. It is a mistake but it's not an act of negligence.

It's not like keeping chicken where you have taken full responsibility for the animals.

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