A Labor of Love - with equal emphasis on labor and love
Let's start with the "Labor". It's not easy being a beekeeper these days. Some newcomers buy a nuc or package in the Spring and assume that they'll have a crop of honey in the Fall. If only it were that simple. Today, the bees and beekeepers are fighting against pests like varroa mites and small hive beetles, not to mention the strong negative impact of lawn and garden chemicals. When the colony is weak, then various bacteria and viruses gain a foothold and can decimate a colony in short order. Weather can also take its toll...a prolonged, rainy spring, a hot, dry, summer of little pollen or nectar sources, a mild winter, when stores may be consumed prematurely, leading to colony starvation, before natural resources are available once again.
Now about "Love". Apis mellifera ligustica, the Italian honey bee, is a docile creature, when treated like we would like to be treated...with gentle kindness. When we do our best to keep them happy, they will return the favor in full measure.
Honey Bee Stewardship
The Small Bee
Photo by Kristi Meehan
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Photo - Lee Muenzen Photography