A Wet Year Threatens our Bee Colonies Winter Survival

As the year’s theme of rain continues in Vermont, most of us are thinking of people who have lost their homes and farmers who have lost their crop, but this year’s soggy days are impacting more than just us humans.

Honey Bees, they can’t fly in the rain and so for everyday of rain, they miss vital days of harvest, possibly causing their winter stores of honey to fall short.

Many Beekeepers are now mixing their sugar syrup solutions to supplement the short comings of a insufficient harvest. The solution is fed to the bees in the fall so they can store it in the honeycomb before the cold triggers the hive’s semi-hibernation. Ideally the bees would have stored enough honey to make it through the long winter, yet for wet years like this one beekeepers want to make sure that the hives will have enough stores to make it through the cold months ahead.

Biodynamic sugar syrup is a mixture that includes Camomile tea and essential oils of lemongrass and peppermint. The antibacterial and other properties of the plants help to mimmic honey. If there is not enough stores to make it through the winter all the bees die. A beehive is an organism in its self, they are codependent and have no chance at individual survival.

The Drone bees whose sole purpose is to fertilize the Queen to produce the brood are sacrificed this time of year. The drones purpose has been fulfilled during the warm months and are now only eating the vital stores of honey endangering the survival of the hive. The worker bees who do everything else, will now start to prevent the drones from reaching the honey and will eventually kick them out of the hive to increase the chances that the hive will see the first flowers of spring.

We need honeybees for pollination and it seems that right now honeybees need us, although they only need us because of us. If it wasn’t for our spraying of insecticides and chemical fertilizers, the devastation of nectar plant habitat, and all our other impacting activities I’m sure bees would be thriving.

I thank all beekeepers who keep bees out of a love for Life and for the bees themselves – VT4Evolution

From the Vermont Beekeepers Association – 

We’ve heard reports of Vermont beekeepers losing hives to flooding and falling trees as a result of Tropical Storm Irene.

If you’ve experienced losses in your apiaries we’d like to hear from you. Simply write your stories and send them to storm@vermontbeekeepers.org. (Include pictures if you have them.)

Any information and images received will be posted here and forwarded to Vermont State Apiculturist Steve Parise at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

Take Action –

Please sign on to support this act about preserving habitat and forage plants along our highways. This is H.R. 2381 and has just been introduced. It’s supported by many organizations including the American Beekeeping Federation and the American Honey Producers Association

Loss of habitat is a big issue for many pollinators, honeybees not the least of which, as well as birds, bats, and butterflies. Reducing mowing would preserve habitat as well as reduce pollution and local and state transportation costs. More info and the support letter to sign can be found at  http://pollinator.org/BEEAct.htm.

http://www.vermontbeekeepers.org/

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