Pour Some Sugar on Me

Oh, did you think I was going to talk about something other than bees?  Sorry to disappoint.

Last Saturday I spent two of the most beautiful hours of my life at the United Indian Health Services Potawot Farm bee yard. It was a warm sunny day, and the bees were out and about doing their work.  They were everywhere. My classmates and I were in their way, so as the forager bees journeyed back to their hives to drop off the pollen from their heavily laden sacs, they often ran into us, landing on our heads, shoulders, arms….for awhile I had one on my nose, but she didn’t find me very interesting and went about her business. It was an incredible feeling, to just be…with the bees.

Isn't this little girl cute with her big orange balls of pollen.  She could barely waddle back to the hive.

Isn’t this little girl cute with her big orange balls of pollen? She could barely waddle back to the hive.

Have I mentioned that my beekeeping teacher is hot?  He’s got this Humboldt hipneck thing going on, plus he’s really smart.  It’s a good package.  On this field trip he showed us how to use powdered sugar to look for Varroa mites.  The mites can be deadly for a bee colony, so you have to keep an eye on them and make sure they’re not getting out of hand.  Hot beekeeping teacher opened the hive and then sprinkled powdered sugar over each box.  As the sugar coated the bees and fell to the bottom, it would take the mites with it.  Then he could look at the bottom board to see how many were there and act accordingly.

One woman asked him if the powdered sugar ever bothered the bees.

“Oh, it confuses them a little bit.  It’s like if someone poured a bottle of chocolate syrup all over me, I might wonder what was going on, but then once people started to lick it off, I’d be okay.”

Sweet little bee coated in powdered sugar.  She won't mind once the other bees start licking.

Sweet little bee coated in powdered sugar. She won’t mind once the other bees start licking.

Mmmmm. Hmmmmmm.

 

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