Bad Beekeeping – Now’s the Time

I’ve just got the February American Bee Journal. It’s past the usual bee adds, correspondence and other stuff right to Randy Oliver’s Sick Bees Part 6, “Infections by Multiple Viruses”.

Randy pretty much spells it out. And the picture isn’t nice. But it’s a process that involves the dance of bees, viruses and the natural processes that, through time, have made the honeybee so successful. The complexities of that dance only reinforce how important the principles of natural beekeeping are. It is vital to know when to put one’s finger into the mix and when to leave it out.

And it’s that time of year. The lengthening days illuminate the promises of spring to come. Deep inside my hives changes are taking place. The bees sense this change and will soon begin rearing their first small patch of brood.

It won’t be much bigger than a silver dollar. But it will require a tremendous investment in energy and resources. The bees will warm that small area of the broodnest to about 93 degrees by exercising their flight muscles. Humidity will be maintained at high enough levels to prevent desiccation of the eggs and larva. And the bees will feed their young using their own “fat” reserves until they can retrieve sufficient resource from other areas of the hive. And then later from foraging in the fields.

Until then this beekeeper contents himself by reading about bees. And Ron Miksha’s Bad Beekeeping book is just what I need. I ordered it from Amazon before Christmas and am just getting around to it. Hope there are more copies now. Amazon had only one left at the time.

Ron and I are about the same age. Our interests have had an surprising parallel. His book is about a time when a guy with a dream, a lot of ambition, hope, and a love of beekeeping could create his own adventure. Meet a multitude of surprising people. Travel to the far north. Find love. Experience success and failure. And in the process acquire a great perspective on life.

I’ve gone much the same way, although at different locations. My beekeeping started in Lingle, Wyoming. And I ending up doing bees and geology in Casper, Wyoming, not too far from where I started.

My far north way point was Delta Junction, Alaska. There, I met Stephen Petersen. He was a young guy just like the rest of us then. And was  starting beekeeping with two beehives overwintered in his Fairbanks living room. He’s the author of “American’s Northernmost Beekeeper’s” article in this same ABJ issue. And he travels and writes about bees from time to time.

How Ron’s book bring back the memories, the joy, the laughter, the tears. It was at Delta that I met my Jamaican bride. It was a time of great hope and energy. It was a grand time! A grand adventure!

Thank’s Ron, I couldn’t put your book down. I hope you are well and in good spirits.

Ahhh!… Remembering my own “Bad Beekeeping”.

Well, I couldn’t put it down for long. But from time to time the sun, my emotions and memories overwhelmed me. The active gave way to the passive.

I wonder, do bees dream? Do memories of flight, flower or fragrance fill their minds during the long winter? Do their eye’s get heavy when thinking of the possibilities? Do they smile while pondering the past?

How has life’s journey taken you? I’ll bet the parallels of a young commercial beekeeper discovering life’s possibilities will resonate with most. And if you enjoy the bees, you’ll enjoy Ron’s book even more.

Nothing beats a paper based book. I find it impossible to drift away in the sun while reading a computer screen, even with a small one like my Ipod’s.  Ron also has an award winning Bad Beekeeping blog and website at Check them out.

Happy Reading.


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2 responses to “Bad Beekeeping – Now’s the Time”

  1. thomas manthe says:

    Thanks Dennis, I’ll have to seek out a copy asap.. I also prefer reading books or mags, don’t own an Ipod and darn lucky I can even turn a computer on. When are you gonna write a book?


    • -bW says:

      Hi Thomas

      Book? I can just barely hit enough keys to reply to comments. 🙂 Actually I usually hit more than enough of them just in case I missed some.


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