Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Will they make it? Survive the cold?

What can we do to help them along?

Block the wind, feed ’em, say a prayer.

Hope that despite our ignorance,

In spring, they’ll still be there.

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea.

We headed into our first winter with the bees, wondering if we could keep them alive.  But before there was even a hint of snow, we had lost a hive.  Our original hive, near a stump in our yard, just seemed to dwindle.  Maybe the queen died, or stopped laying?  We don’t know.  So we just had to hope that the 8 frame from the OSU Bee Yard would make it.  We didn’t do anything special, just left the honey in the hive for them to eat.  We had read that the bees cluster to gether in the center of the hive, and can keep the center of the cluster at 95 degrees.  The bees on the outside change places with the inner bees to get warm.  So we left them alone and kept our fingers crossed.  We spent the winter rereading our bee books and planning our expansion for the next spring.hivesnow

Meanwhile, Laurie and Pete went into the winter with two hives.  On a warm day in November, Laurie walked out to their hives and saw bees flying in and out of the entrance – a good sign!  But when she walked out to the hives on a warm day in January, she saw nothing!  In a panic, she called one of the master beekeepers from COBA.

“Put your ear to the hive. Can you hear anything?” he said.

“Nope,” Laurie replied.

“Open the top.  Do you hear anything?”


“Take out some frames. What do you see?”

“Dead bees, in a small cluster on 3 frames, but lots of honey. Our girls are all dead!!”

The master beekeeper got a chuckle out of “our girls”.  He explained that even though there was honey for them to eat, they could not keep themselves warm enough to leave the cluster to get to it.  He suggested that the colony might not have been strong enough to make it. But then again, sometimes, we just don’t know why…  We’ve heard the average loss is as high as 60%!

Guess beekeeping requires a lot of starting over, trying again, not giving up. Perseverance is a must!

Philippians 3

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.