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Friday, August 12, 2016

Post #52 Bee Having


A Beekeeper is someone who “keeps” bees.  Today, that means that the beekeeper cares for his or her bees, and provides for the bees those things that help a beehive stay healthy.

When I had bees in the 1980’s, I was what is now considered to be a “bee haver” rather than a beekeeper.  I went out to visit the hives every once in a while.  I was aware of the diseases that bees were prone to back then, but did nothing to watch for the disease or treat it. 

Back then, the major concerns were American Foulbrood (AFB), European Foulbrood (EFB), and Wax Moths.  AFB was the most deadly.  If a hive was found with this dreaded disease, it needed to be destroyed and the woodenware burned.  EFB could be deadly, but burning the boxes and frames wasn’t necessary.  Wax Moths were messy, and difficult to come back from.

I usually harvested honey from the bees whenever we began to run low on honey.  I would pull a couple of frames from the honey super and stick them in my solar wax melter.  I made sure my bees had empty frames with wax foundation to work on.  But mostly, they were a novelty, and very easy to have.

The whole family became involved in the bees.  I was even able to get Wife suited up and sent out to do a hive inspection.
 

The last time I went out to check on the hives I was surprised to find a huge mess inside the hive.  Ants had made their way in.  And so had the wax moths.  There was webbing all over the hive.  Small grubs, baby moths, were crawling in and out of the comb, and the wood had long grooves eaten out of it by the hungry moth larvae. 

My bees had left, and in their place was this mess. 

This was 1991 or 1992.  By now, the Africanized Honey Bee (AHB) had made its way up from Hidalgo, Texas and was present in my county in South Texas!  There was a lot of fear associated with AHB, and counties were being placed in quarantine as the AHBs infiltrated.  I probably could have imported a new hive from Weaver Apiaries, but the novelty of having bees had worn off.  The mess made by the ants and the wax moths seemed really big.  And finally, my life had become really busy. 
By now, I was working in a new job and I was back in school.  So, I walked away from the bees, and left them alone for 25 years.