Prepare

In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2   If I learned nothing else from my bees, it is this: they prepare.  For example, they dutifully clean and prepare cells for eggs; diligently forage nectar to prepare for winter, and are always prepared to die in defense of their colony. This Spring, I have spent countless hours building new hive boxes and preparing equipment for beekeeping’s busy season.  I’ve been hammering –  gluing –  painting in what seemed an endless cycle of preparation.  My back would ache from hammering; and at the end of a busy day I’d stagger out into the backyard with yet more completed boxes to paint and stack. I never...

Drift

 One who wanders from the way of good sense will rest in the assembly of the dead. Proverbs 21:16   Honey bees don’t always return to the correct hive; eager to unload their gathered treasures, honey bees will occasionally get off track, and land at the doorstep of the wrong colony.  Beekeepers call this “drifting”. If the colony is in need of resources, the little bee, laden with food might be accepted, or she might find herself fending off attacking guard bees.  Although drifting can increase the population of a small colony, it can also adversely affect a colony’s health.  You’ve heard the story of the Trojan Horse?  This bee might be carrying varroa mites, or the spores of AFB (American Foulbrood).  Her drifting into the...

Clutter

  Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15 Honey bees are really into housekeeping.  I, on the other hand, am not.  Honey bees are dutiful in cleaning, polishing cell walls and removing clutter from their hive.  By comparison, I have that odious pile of mail that gathers dust in the corner, a closet full of clothes that no longer fit me, and gadgets (et al) I will no longer use but can’t seem to part with. Clutter, is everywhere. Bees are very good at removing “clutter” unless it’s something they REALLY love, like nectar.  Bees can overstock their hive creating a situation known as “honey bound”.  It means...

Shape

Now may the God of peace… equip you with every good thing to do His will… Heb 13:21-22 Have you ever noticed the pollen that honey bees carry on their back legs?  It’s normally a bright blob of yellow or orange and approximately 15 mg by weight.  I’m wretched at comprehending mg, so for reference – Americans are supposed to limit sodium intake to 1500 mg per day.  At 50 foraging flights per day, our intrepid honey bee would need two days to retrieve 1500 mg of pollen!  I’m tired already, aren’t you? Honey bees are able to carry pollen because of a very special curved hair on their hind legs that anchors the pollen in a “basket”.  The honey bee collects pollen, mixes it with a teensy bit of regurgitated...

Breathe

…I will put breath into you, and you will come to life.  Eze 37:6 When I first started beekeeping, there were some general don’ts.  One cautionary tidbit was “Don’t eat bananas before you work the hive.”  Weird?  Not entirely.  The odor of bananas is very similar to the honey bee’s alarm pheromone.  Going in stinking of trouble is likely to guarantee you find it.  Fortunately, I never found it to be true.  Forgetful and/or hungry, I have eaten bananas and the girls remained blissfully unaware of my fruity faux pas.  What I have found true 100% of the time, is my bees respond quite energetically when breathed upon. Some times when I’m struggling to pull out a heavy frame, I inadvertently hold my breath.  Once it’s...