The Bees Have Gone Away

There’s a tradition of telling a hive when someone in the family dies, so I guess I’m telling you: a hive has died.
I got too busy with work and the garden, I didn’t take the time out to open the hive regularly and check on the girls. My desk used to face the hive, which is on the deck of our apartment near downtown Oakland. I used to monitor their comings and goings, then go back to typing, monitor, type, monitor…These days I’ve been bogged down with school and didn’t watch them as well as I should. Finally I went out and inspected the hive–there was just a little ball of bees and no honey or brood. My guess is the queen died, and hence, the hive was doomed. That little cluster would eventually die. Lucky for me it’s swarm season, and I hope to catch another. I think I’m going to relocate the hive, too, to a warmer, less windy spot.
Another piece of good news: we have two other hives–one at a farm in Pescadero, another in the backyard of some friends in Berkeley.
The photo is the hive in better days, an akebia quintata growing nearby.

5 responses to “The Bees Have Gone Away


    Looks like the bees are gone in a lot of places.

    I hope that you find a new swarm soon!

  2. I read your article on Salon about the bees leaving. Great article – it made me really sad. I loved the bit about the queen! (And I swear, I heard a buzzing behind me when I was reading it.) I have always thought about trying beekeeping, but it’s going to have to wait a bit longer (at least till the kids have grown some). Oh, and I just started doing the blogging thing, too. Welcome to the club!

    Best –

    Liz Vance

  3. Enjoyed your article in Salon. Good luck with getting a new hive going! I’m afraid the fear of stings would prevent me from ever trying it, though.

  4. Hello!
    I just finished reading your book, Farm City, and loved it so much I wanted to go back and read your blog. (I remember you discussing the loss of your hive in the book…so it is weird to be reading about it in “real time” now).

    I actually read the book because I am a faculty member at Appalachian State University and your book was selected for our summer reading program. Before I even started the book, I volunteered to lead one of the many book groups that are going to be hosted the weekend our freshmen students move into their dorms. Now that I have finished the book, I am excited to hear what 18 year-old, eager (scared, over-compensating) new students have to say…about the topic, the humor, your take on it all, and how they can relate it their lives….and am still trying to figure out what I am going to say to them!

    I shared the book with my father (who finished reading it in record time) and he wants to sit down and discuss it with me…a mini book club, if you will. I am looking forward to this chat with my dad and love that he wants to have it (also super proud that he liked a book I recommended to him so much..I am 1 of 4 siblings so being singled out will always be a big deal, no matter how old I get!).

    So, in short, thank you for the book and for all the wonderful, personal, super informative, and funny stories you shared. And thank you for being such a captivating author that you span generations and sparked a book-club for me and my dad.

    Very Sincerely,

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