A couple of weeks ago we got our first colony of bees! They settled quickly and got on with exploring the area for good flowers. They especially seem to enjoy the poppy flowers which have self-seeded everywhere. Hmmm opium honey, that might prove popular? We checked the hive for the first time over the weekend and the colony is doing well.
One of the things we have been instructed on is how to look out for the American Foul Brood (AFB). If this gets into a hive un-checked, it will destroy it and the disease will spread to other hives. Some years ago, a neighbour of ours found AFB in a hive she had. It was devastating! The whole hive had to be destroyed by burning. It nearly made her give up beekeeping, such was the trauma of having to exterminate a whole colony! Having AFB in a hive is terminally bad for the hive, but finding it early, before it has spread to other hives is really good. If you find it through vigilant observation, then you are a good beekeeper, not a bad one. As this was explained, my perspective changed. It is the poor beekeeper who turns up to a hive only to find it completely destroyed. I knew our neighbour was a good beekeeper, she knew that catching it early is the key. Elimination of AFB in the country is the goal.
In an instant I saw disease detection in hives differently. I then thought about my vain efforts to catch mice and rats. I have been vigilant with checking, re-baiting and moving the traps around. Am I a bad trapper? Possibly, but a different view is that catching no rats or mice tells me something – maybe there aren’t a great number around, or maybe none at all? Certainly since Effie (the cat) realized that mice were for eating not bringing inside and playing with – nothing! The only rat we’ve seen was dead already – could Effie have killed that?
Again, the key for me is to remain open to learning and to allow new information to shift my thinking.
Kevin & Miranda?