There has been so been much going on that it's hard to decide what to write about first, so, I'd like to segue on the fantastic publicity that the plight of the bees has been receiving recently (see for example the recent cover of Time Magazine -http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2149141,00.html) to tell you a story about our own beekeeping adventures and our growing love affair with bees here at Costa Digiano.
This post comes from an email I wrote to my family on May 8th telling the story of how Mirco and I witnessed one of our bee families swarm before our eyes! One of the most magical and awe inspiring things I have ever seen!
I hope you enjoy the post and please send me your comments or questions!
As the dear Abbot Warrè wrote "Bees render nature immortal". They are far more important than many of us may think.
May 8th, 2013
This morning Mirco and I headed down to our apiary to set up the new Kenyan top bar hives and the Warrè hives that we got. These hives are COOL, super cool, but that's for a different story:)
I knew something was happening because there was a complete change in the pitch of their buzzing... all of a sudden it was faster and louder and then woosh they filled the air!
It's impossible to see in this picture but we backed away to this distance and watched the dance. The bees started moving in a giant spiral formation (like a tornado or a galaxy or a spiral of energy or all of the above!) all around the boxes and way up into the air. They did this for probably 10 minutes and we had the distinct sensation that they were calling their queen out to join them.
So we chose a Kenya top bar hive for this swarm and set it under the branch with the swarm hanging on it, top off.
See my beekeeper in his new beautiful apiary admiring the brand new family of bees that was just born.
1) bees know best PERIOD. They decided to swarm on the first day when the acacias were in full bloom at the farm. They know acacia means 2-3 weeks of endless bounty. this is a good time to swarm, no risk of hunger and plenty of energy to build your new home when you find it!
2) Actually i have many more reflections on why bees know best but I can feel that i might go into one of my tangents about leaving nature alone and the size of bee cells and the importance of natural comb in saving the bees and 70 million years that bees have been doing this so why in the world should we ever think we can improve on their absolute PERFECTION!!???? So I'll stop now before I loose you all:)
I'll finish with a quote from one of my heros Bill Mollison
"human kind will rediscover harmony with nature only when he will renounce the idea of his presumed superiority over the natural world"
And please everyone do what you can to help save the bees! There's a lot each and every one of us can do. For starters don't buy neonicotinoid pesticides and put pressure on local representatives to pass legislation banning these products. There's no simple solution to the problems that are afflicting bees worldwide but banning these pesticides, which are killing bees on a massive scale, is a very important place to start.