Man, beekeeping is an emotional roller coaster. Two years ago, our three hives survived the mild, Michigan winter like champs. My husband and I did everything the books told us to do and it was a success! We were feeling pretty darn proud of ourselves. Then last winter hit: record cold, record snow, wind gusts that, I swear, blew straight through the house. It was a nasty one. Now this year, we seem to be back into the mild category once again (although all true Michiganders know it’s way too early to make bets!).
Last year provided the opportunity for my husband and I to lay awake in bed, night after night, listening to the screaming wind and wonder, “Can the bees survive this?” Then when we looked out in the morning and saw snow drifted over the hives we wondered, “Can the bees survive that?” Then when the weather forecasters said, “We’re looking at record cold temperatures for the third day in a row.” We worried, “There’s no way they’ll survive that.” Well, it turned out they did not survive these things. In fact, roughly a quarter of the beekeepers who responded to the Bee Informed spring survey reported colony losses as well. If you were to eavesdrop on conversations around the 2014 Bee School put on by the Kalamazoo Bee Club, most of what you’d have heard would have been beekeepers lamenting the loss of their hives!Continue Reading