Disappearing Bees

bee on marigoldWe need bees; to pollinate our plants to produce our veggies. We have been lucky, the bees have always found us. I love to hear them buzzing in the cucumbers and squash, doing their job to help the cycle of growth.

But, as you are probably already aware, there is a problem with the bees. Colony Collapse Disorder is one of the things that’s killing off the bees. There’s lots of theories, but one thing is for certain, there aren’t as many bees and if we don’t have bees, we lose a majority of our food crops. It’s a scary thought.

So I figured, let’s get bees on the property. I thought I’d just make a few phone calls, maybe an email or two and viola, we’d have bees. Ha!!! Well, not so fast. I spoke to a couple of beekeepers today and first of all, they won’t come out unless they can put 100 hives on the property. I don’t think we need or can support 100  hives. Plus, the hives are getting sick and dying. One beekeeper I spoke with said he may not even get honey this year. The majority of his bees are dead and/or sick. He said he’s done everything right and it’s driving him nuts because he can’t figure it out. He’s having problems with parasites. Again, it’s a scary thought.

Ok, so how about we buy our own hive and box. We’ve taken some classes, read some books, have friends who have done it; why not us? Because we don’t have the time. We don’t want to spread ourselves too thin, as we need to focus on the garden and growing the veggies. That’s why I contacted these beekeepers in the first place. They are the experts.

Now where do we stand? Well, there are some other ideas out there and I will continue to pursue them. (One of the beekeepers I spoke with today was very helpful and gave me some info I need to explore before I give up.) In the meantime, I’ll plant more flowers to bring the bees to us and thank each one when they are visiting the garden.

Download this PDF on Bee Facts; two simple to read, nicely designed pages, for more, yet concise info.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Christina on March 8, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Hello, I’m a hobbyist beekeeper in Cameron Park. Lost all 3 of my hives this winter (so many challenges!) Been at this for 5 years and though it is extremely challenging, it is well worth it. Going to set up another hive in April. Orders to Sacto Beekeeping are usually made in February, but they may still be taking orders for packaged bees and queens ($100 per hive + cost of boxes). If you wanted to invest in this, I would be happy to show you how to set things up free of charge. Or to answer questions.

    • Christina, That is so nice of you to offer. I may take you up on that later. Right now we are focused on the garden. Let’s stay in touch. Su

  2. Posted by Scott on March 18, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Hello, I live in the hills of Shingle Springs. I’ve been reading up on beginning beekeeping (Starting Right with Bees) an older library book, but quite informative. I read a posting from 2000 that listed the cost at around $300 for essential supplies (bees included), but it sounds as if all supplies have gone up quite a bit since then. Anyway, I may be a bit late in getting started with a couple hives this year, but I am super interested in trying it out at some point, and I’d be interested in seeing your set up if you’d be up for that. Thanks for your time, Scott L

    • Hi Scott,

      We don’t have a set up right now, as far as bees are concerned, but if you are interested in getting started, you can also check out the beekeeping supply store in downtown Sacramento. My neighbor is going to start a hive and he told us the bees would cost $100, with the queen?? Not sure if this is correct. I can also connect you with some local beekeepers who can help and sell. Email me at zoeyfarms@yahoo.com.

      Thanks,

      su

  3. As a newcomer to the hobbyist field of beekeeping — what is taking place this year is downright scary. I purchased my first hive last year — and then promptly lost it to CCD. Another gardening friend, who was “gifted” a colony of bees, complete with hive mind you, also lost hers. This is most troubling as her hive was an established colony that was at least 15-years old. She did not feed or care for the bees like most hobbyist beekeepers do (we fawn over them) — but the hive came back and survived year after year after year — just as nature intended. But this year? This year it’s scary. I have NO BEES whatsoever. The blossoms that should be covered with bees? They have ZERO BEES. I just don’t know how pollination is going to take place this year without the bees….Troubling indeed.

    • HI Bill, This is a giant issue, for sure. What do we do about it? I don’t know all the ins and outs, but I thought if we had our own bees, we would be helping the situation. I’ve been in the garden the last few days and we have lots of bees on the flowering broccoli and collard greens. I like to keep some type of flowers in the garden at all times, just for the bees, plus I hope they will remember us and keep coming back. And this year, I’ll be planting even more flowers. Keep us posted and good luck. Su

  4. Posted by Amber on April 14, 2010 at 8:43 am

    I am SO happy to find your blog! What a wealth of information! I just watched the film “The Real Dirt on Farmer John” and found the CSA website! I am new to the area and have been wanting to find local farmers/farms…
    About bees, Last week a friend was telling me of a bee hive her neighbors have in their yard here in Cameron Park. She took on the task of trying to find a home for them and has had no luck finding one. I would gladly connect you to her if you would be interested in adopting them! Thank You for all you do!

  5. Posted by Syria Low on February 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Last summer, I was looking for bees on the flowers. Sadly, I didn’t see many at the blooms. Mostly bumblebees, but hardly a honey bee in sight. It is very sad.
    I’m hoping this year will be better. Fingers crossed.
    Your blog is very interesting.
    I’m glad I stumbled upon it. 🙂

    Syria

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