I’m new to this game. I got my first hive this year. I’ve known I wanted honeybees since I first read about the hive in Kirsten Saves the Day! (an American Girl book, if you managed to miss that lively edition) and everything worked together for me to obtain my honeybees this year. So far all seems well, they’re producing, they’re multiplying, I can watch the bees leave and come back with their little pollen sacs full. There is honey, and they do sting.
All is well, right?
I’ve probably checked into my hive about five times total. I’ve had them since May. I know that I’m probably inviting innumerable risks by “neglecting” them so, but I have my reasons. For one thing, honeybees have survived in the wild (up until the pesticide issue) for thousands of years without a “keeper”. They know exactly what they’re doing. They know how best to go about it. I’m still completely thrilled that they are willing to build a home in this box I have provided, I don’t want to make them sorry.
And I am seriously concerned about the damage it might do to open my hive too often. I know, I know. It barely disrupts them. That “24 hours of repair” thing is all hooey. It has to weaken them though, right? Maybe I’m just putting too much human emotion off on a honeybee, but if something enormous decided to take the roof off of my home, slowly pick up each bed and inspect it, if my only defense was stinging that enormous something (which would then kill me), you can be darn certain that it would take my family weeks to recover from that trauma. While recovering, hives are weak. Weak hives allow things such as wax moths inside. Or mice. Weak hives are more susceptible to mites.
I’m really just here to try to allow my honeybees the opportunity to be the healthiest they possibly can. I don’t intend to harvest gallons of honey from one hive, not this year, possibly not ever. I just want a strong, healthy colony.
So I do not inspect my hive on a regular or even a semi-regular basis. I might come to regret it. I might not. We’ll see.
It’s a learning process. It’s one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever witnessed. It’s amazing how willing these creatures are to build a home in a box.