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Groundhogs vs. Honey Bees

I don't usually turn on the tv in the morning. I like to start my day quietly, with a cup(or two) of coffee and a chat with my sister while she drives to work. But today wasn't a normal Tuesday. Today is Groundhog Day, the day when those cute, fat rodents tell us if we are going to sail right into spring or have another 6 weeks of winter. Yes, I said cute! We've got a couple of them living under our shed at the property, and although they are a little destructive I find them adorable. We will go with "live and let live" until they destroy something important, but I digress....

Predictably, Punxsatawney Phil saw his shadow and dove right back into his hole, after mugging for his admirers and the press. However there's another "famous" groundhog who has a better prediction rate than Phil. The Great Prognosticator of the South, General Beauregard Lee of Georgia, (who has a 60% national accuracy rate, take that Phil!) proclaimed another early spring this year.

There's always a little conflict in our home when it comes to an early spring. On the one hand we are very excited about the change in season, the flowers budding, and the nectar flowing. On the other hand Lucy, our elderly Saint Bernard, LIVES for winter and the respite from the heat and humidity, however fleeting. For her sake I always wish for a little extra cold. Picture inserted for the "AH" factor, because it can't always be about the bees!

I'm going to throw a couple thousand prognosticators in the mix this year, and frankly my money is on them. According to the forager bees I have seen flying today I believe spring is on our doorstep. They are busy looking for nectar and pollen sources in the area. Our temperatures are beautiful right now so Bruce has been doing hive inspections and building new boxes for the hives. Several of the hives in the backyard are already experiencing a population explosion, resulting in the need for more space in the hives! If he doesn't give them that extra space they will get overcrowded, and that's when swarms happen. Managing the bee population in the hives is a tricky balancing act. Swarms will occur, no matter how hard Bruce works to say on top of it. I'm very familiar with the panicked rush through the door and try to keep track of at least one bottle of lemongrass essential oil at all times. Lemongrass oil mimics the pheremones of the queen, so just having an open bottle near a box can draw the hive in.

So, I'll leave it to the bees to tell us for sure what the weather is going to do. I can just hope for good weather and the right amount of moisture. Timing is everything when dealing with honey and Mother Nature is fickle. In the meantime PLEASE EAT MORE HONEY! We need to empty out more storage buckets before May!!!

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