Go to this link, send s message to Bayer, stop killing our bees!
Friday, April 27, 2012
I was working on my bees the other day. It was warm and sunny outside. The day was truly a gift from God. The little bees were crawling across my bare hands and they were not stinging me, we were at peace the bee and the beekeeper, in harmony. I was thinking about the miracle of the beehive. 20,000 bees all working in perfect harmony. You see unlike humans bee's don’t sin, in fact they don't make mistakes either. They live for the good of their family. From the day a bee is born till the day it dies it works hard for the hive. Keepers have found aging worker bees drop dead from old age still trying to get one more load of nectar or pollen back to the hive. Unlike wasps when a bee stings it dies. When they must protect their family they always make the ultimate sacrifice. The honeybee is a completely selfless creature. Surely one of God's miracles. Even though they never make mistakes and never sin only 1 in 4 wild hives survives more than a year. Some have survived for decades, possibly even centuries. Some barely survive a single year and the entire hive collapses. If the bees can fail and lose it all and they live without sin what chance do we humans have.
The only chance is through Jesus. Only He can save us.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Our garden was recently weeded. What was once a dense plush bed of greenery and blooms is now irritatingly neat rows of cultivated flowers with naked soil between them? The weeder (we shall call her Bob) was very unhappy that I let the garden get to this state. I looked at the piles of Bull Thistle, Buttercups, dandelions, and wood sorrel she yanked out of the garden and looked at her with curiosity.
"Aren't those flowers too?" I ask. No, says Bob those are WEEDS. "But the weeds have flowers on them?" She looked at me like I was someone who needed assistance eating oatmeal. To me any plant that produces a flower is welcome in a flower bed. I like it to look wild, verdant, an explosion of life, as if God planted it and not Bob.
Why I wonder are weeds so hated and despised? For example if I am a few days late mowing my yard it erupts in buttercups and dandelions with whole continents of clover flowers. It is a magnificent example of biodiversity and natures splendor. Bob seeks monoculture, just green grass as far as the eye can see uninterrupted blades. If I wait a month to mow burdock, lambs quarters, and occasionally a mighty thistle will shoot skyward.
I ask myself who is stranger, me or Bob? Bob seeks to make the yard like the carpet in the living room. The flower bed a series of neat rows like a corn field. She will pull and poison and wage war on any organism that disrupts the order of her universe.
For example Bob dislikes my beehive. In fact I learn that not only are honey bees vermin but the wood borer bees that are zooming around the summer sky like harrier jets are repellent to her. The bald face wasp, the yellow Jacket, the fuzzy harmless Bumble Bee, all is considered pests to be destroyed.
How can this Bob woman profess to like flowers but not bees? The only reason flowers exist is to attract pollinators to assist them in reproduction. If the world was without bees it would eventually be without flowers. It would also be without most fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Our diet would exist of mostly cereal grains and corn. Gone would be apples, pears, strawberries, almonds, oranges, limes, lemons, black berries, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, and watermelon.
God put the weeds on the Earth because they are a vital link in the circle of life. Often they are the only source of nutrition for bees between nectar flows. Monoculture is death. If you plant only one type of plant, corn let's say, you will have to dump chemicals on it to keep it alive. It would get picked clean and die otherwise. Old world farmers understood this. They often used to employ tricks like letting the bean stalks climb around the corn stalks. The beans use the corn as a trellis. They alternated rows of potatoes, and carrots, and cucumbers, and tomatoes. This is biodiversity. A garden like this will be fruitful and grow with minimum human or chemical intervention. It would be a benefit to not only mankind but all of God's creatures.
A lot of people don't know this but most 'weeds' are completely edible. I have watched gardens fail and produce nothing and if you just turn your head slightly you can see a pile of 'weeds' the gardener yanked out and threw away that was full of things to eat. I once ate a salad at a high end restaurant and it was one of the best salads I had ever had. I looked closer and mixed among the romaine lettuce were tender dandelion leaves. We paid good money to be served those "weeds".
If you plant vegetables and flowers, you have to water them, weed them, kill insects with poisons. If you don't, supposedly they will die. Maybe, maybe not, but everybody seems to think so. However weeds grow without mans intervention, often in spite of mans intervention. Weeds find life in cracks in the sidewalk. They survive and even thrive despite repeated attacks from the gas mower.
So, Bob if you are out there reading this. Your ways are the ways of death and destruction. Your ways will lead to the catastrophic loss of life on Earth. Your ways are a sin against God's creation for which we are stewards. I will speak out for the weeds; they have as much a right to live as you do Bob. They are arguably contributing more than you are. While I am at it I will speak out for the pests too. The buzzing insects that ignore you and you seem to fear and loath. It is no wonder God gave them stingers because he knew in his wisdom that someday arrogant and ignorant humans would try to eradicate them.
I choose life, for me, for my children and someday grandchildren, for all the inhabitants on this rare gem called Earth.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Supered up two boxes Friday afternoon. It was a nice warm sunny day. I was having an OCD thing with the misaligned boxes and decided to fix it. I took two supers full of empty frames out in a long plastic box with all my tools. I brought gloves but decided not to wear them. Top super came off with little or no difficulty simply prying a little here and there with the hive tool. The next super down was the one that wasn't sitting plumb on the deep. I pried the super from the box but couldn't lift it or move it around. Closer inspection revealed that the frames from the lower box were propolized and waxed to frames in the upper box.
I took all the empty frames out of my spare boxes and carefully removed each frame from the stuck box and put it into the empty box. I moved slowly and said calming things to the bees. I occasionally gave them a small puff of smoke. They were surprisingly tolerant of all this manipulation. Outer frames were full of honey and inner frames were brood comb. Unfortunately the very middle one had brood come bridging two frames and stuck to lower frames. It was essentially causing the problem. I did the best I could to remove it without causing damage but ended up losing a 4 inch slab of brood comb. I kept looking for the queen but did not spot her. Once I got the chunk out of the middle everything started moving around just fine.
I decided not to disturb the lower box because the queen was likely down there and the bulk of the brood nest. I ended up putting it all back together and staggering empty and full boxes. It's now a deep and four shallows. The bees did not seem to mind my intrusion. The four inch comb that fell out of the frame I brushed all the bees into the hive from it and put it in my tote. I wanted to put it back into the hive but was unsure how to do it. I considered leaving it at the front of the hive but thought that might cause a robbing scenario. Thus far the local wasps and wood borer bees have been abundant around our house but have been leaving the bee hive alone.
Happy to report that despite not wearing gloves I didn't get a single sting. Ironically a friend from work who is interested in keeping bees was washing his car and got stung by a yellow jacket. I told him about my working on the hive and all the bees everywhere and not getting stung once. I am not sure he believes me.
I am glad I added supers because the bees had filled all but two frames with comb and honey in the topmost box. Most frames were two thirds capped honey and one third uncapped. Since this is the beginning of the nectar flow I surmised that it was mostly raw nectar in the one third that was uncapped. Couldn't resist licking my fingers through the veil mesh and was delighted with the sweet sticky goodness in the hive.
All in all I had big time! Happy to report the bees kept coming and going with nectar and occasionally pollen the rest of the day and seemed to recover from my intrusion with no problems.
I decided not to use the frame lift tool. I found it better to slip my fingers in between the frames gradually pushing bees out of my way. I worried that if I used the tool I might accidentally crush one. I discovered that the inner cover was upside down so the bees couldn't use the top entrance. It was propolized shut. I removed the propolis with hive tool and put the inner cover right side up. Haven't noticed the bees using it yet.