Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Keeping bees – a big responsibility

But Dad sick

Midnight trips

Can they make it on their own?

Clover, Bee, and Revery

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

We pulled a 10 frame box of capped  honey from our hives from the nectar flow of goldenrod in the fall.  Knowing we had removed the bees’  food, we set out to feed them sugar syrup regularly so they could build up more honey stores for the winter.  But unfortunately, novice errors and life events got in the way.  We didn’t know not to put on the inner cover with the hive top feeder (this makes it easier for robbers (wasps and hornets) to get in the hive to get to the syrup.  And then Steve’s dad took a turn for the worse, in his battle with lung cancer.  Late night calls from mom meant a frantic drive to help out in the middle of the night.  Supporting her in dad’s care during the day, meant our minds and our time were elsewhere for the month of October.  Our bees were left to fend for themselves, and unfortunately, they didn’t fare very well.

When we finally had time to check, we’d lost one hive to robbers, and the other hives hadn’t built up much of a honey store.  We were to lose another hive before winter due to hive moths – what a mess!  They say that hive moths only “win” if the hive is weak to begin with.  This was the same hive near the tree stump that we had lost last fall before winter ever set it.  I am beginning to wonder if it has something to do with the placement of the hive.  Does this stump have mold, or fungus, or bugs?  Maybe we should move it to another location next spring.

Meanwhile, Steve had to spend days cleaning up the frames and boxes of this hive.  He put all the messy comb in a bucket to melt down and render.

wax moth infested frame
wax moth infested frame

Then he put all the frames in big plastic bags and put them in the deep freeze for a few days.  This kills the moths and eggs.  Then we stored all our extra boxes and frames with moth crystal on newspaper laid on top of each box of frames., in the garage.  This should keep the moths out until we need them again in the spring.

We felt we had let our charges down this season.  The loss of the hives was completely our fault, poor beekeeping management.  Though not intended and due to unforeseen circumstances in our life during this season, we still felt we had failed our girls.

Beekeeping is a big responsibility.  We will think twice about the unforeseen effects of harvesting our honey in the future.  We’ll have to make sure that we will be able to fulfill our duty to our bee friends.


3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

4 What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,

7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!