Today is National Honeybee Day but we're not celebrating - and here's why....a thriving colony of bees in our apiary mysteriously perished without explanation. The incident is suspicious and particularly disturbing because two days earlier this colony was alive and active. Since my apiary is just outside my honey house I can view the bees and their activity easily without going outside, an ideal situation. In my 18 years of keeping honeybees, I have never had a colony of bees wiped out instantaneously.
Less than one week earlier, I was thrilled to be in my apiary with Richard Wiese the host of Weekends with Yankee filming an episode for PBS that would feature Red Bee Apiary nationally. This was an incredible opportunity to showcase the importance of honeybees and their pollination activities also the honey making process. We spent a glorious morning among the bees inspecting a few of my colonies; we spotted the queens, watched as worker bees performed their ritual dances, and tasted fresh honey being made right before our eyes. Everything about honeybees is mesmerizing and as any beekeeper will tell you, one could spend hours observing the simple everyday activities of these enchanting creatures. Our day went as planned and although a bee got under Richard's bee suit, it added to the true experience and the magic of honeybees.
Fast forward to the Wednesday after filming, I took a walk over to the hives as I do most days and was alarmed to see a pile of dead bees cluttering the entrance board. Absolutely no movement! More dead bees had poured like a waterfall onto the grass in front of the hive. I was numb...I knew this was serious so I desperately ripped off the outer cover to look inside - a massive graveyard. I felt nauseated and destroyed. How could this happen? Thousands upon thousands of honeybees, silenced all at one time. My gut tells me they were exposed to nearby pesticide treatment. What if it was a neighbor spraying for weeds? Or the power company spraying to prevent growth along their power lines? The town very well could have been spraying for mosquitos or ticks again? Right now I do not have answers but have contacted our state bee inspector to take a look and will be sending samples of bees to the lab for evaluation. You can be sure that once I have answers, I will share them with readers and followers. There has been an overwhelming interest in the plight of honeybees and the use of pesticides in our environment. I posted initial pictures on Red Bee Honey's Facebook page and it has gone viral. It is heartening to see the out pour of concern from everyone who reads my story. Now more than ever we must fight to Save the Bees! Thank you and stay tuned for more updates on Facebook and when our episode will air on PBS! Marina