But What About Bees?

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 15.678% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

The most-asked question I get is “Ferrett, you hungry stud-muffin, I hear you’re hung with the brobdingnagian proportions of a Germanic heroic saga, will you whisk me off to a bathroom stall and take me now before my panties explode in anticipation?”
But after that, people ask about the bees.
Problem is, we don’t know how the bees are doing.
See, at some point in late August, Gini and I decided not to harvest any honey this year so the bees could have all the food they could get to supply them through Cleveland’s notoriously harsh winters.  And after listening to all the debates of what you should do to prepare your bees for the winter – you should douse them with chemicals! you should use these natural supplements! you should stand on your head! – we panicked and actually did nothing at all.
So the hive has gone untouched since September.  And we hold out little hope.  We remember a conversation we had with a noted Michigan beekeeper, who said, “It’s your first year as a beekeeper?  Yeah, they’re gonna die.”
He said it with such knowledge and resignation, like a gypsy pronouncing a horrid fate for a greedy businessowner.  It kind of disheartened us.
We’ve watched, and luckily, there are some signs of life.  There are dead bee corpses at the front, which indicates that there’s some activity in the hive (the bees are clearing out their dead).  And yesterday, when the temperature hit fifty, Gini said she saw some bees taking cleansing flights.
(Bees do not poop all winter.  They wait until it’s warm, and then go outside and poop in one massive bee-dump that looks a little like brown bird splatter.  I won’t say it’s endearing, but it’s kind of neat, as apiary-related things are.)
So there are still bees.  In a week or two, on a warm day, we’ll crack the hive to see how they’re doing – enough of them may have died that there’s not enough critical mass to keep the hive together.  Or they may have eaten through their supplies of honey and need to be fed sugar water, which would require the purchasing of new equipment to put the sugar water near them.  (Our current feeders would require them to break off from the huddled mass, which they won’t do since their massed body heat is all that’s keeping them alive.)
So yeah.  We have bees.  Some bees.  Let’s see how this works in a few weeks.

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