Last year, we bought bees. Three hives. Not for honey, mind you! For pollination. (We have maple syrup and sorghum for sweeteners). They have a job on the farm. It's to go around to all the flowers and "spread the love" so to speak so that fruits will develop from the flowers. Also, as I'm sure you know, bees are so important not just for vegetable and fruit pollination, but to make the whole system work. We need them. They did their job by being bees, and visiting all the flowers on the farm, and then around October we weren't seeing them anymore. The hives had died. We were very disappointed, but it was our first year, so we thought, "well, we'll try again next year." Well, over the winter we've made friends with a new beekeeper, Monica. She wants to learn to keep bees to do her part to help out the bees. She came over to see where we kept our hives, and she volunteered to manage the new batch for us for the year. We took a family trip out to the hives to check them out, and low and behold:
one hive survived! They were crawling all around the top when we opened the lid. So she came back the following day with her suit, Adam donned his suit and we checked it out. They truly had survived. Plenty of honey to help them through the winter, and the Queen was alive and well.
Those are the kinds of bees we want to nurture: the kind that can survive the winter without us checking on them or feeding them once! We'll order two more hives for this year for the set of three. So when you get your tomatoes and squash and cucumbers and watermelon and butternut this year: say "thank you" to the bees!