An article by Chris Woods in the latest Weeder’s Digest on the traits of the compulsive gardener provoked some thoughts on ‘compulsive beekeeping.’ Personally it’s hard to say exactly when beekeeping moved from being
a healthy pastime to an all-consuming passion; one day I’m inspecting a few frames in my only hive and the next thing I know I’m frantically making splits to populate an entire apiary.
does one know if one has crossed the line into this treacherous, precarious territory?
For example, a sane beekeeper won’t leave town in the first week of the nectar flow; an obsessed beekeeper won’t
leave town in the second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth week of the flow.
Do you have a charge account with a beekeeping provider, and does your spouse use if for all of your Christmas, anniversary and birthday
Do you use one fine hive tool, or do you have spares in the garage, the honey house (ie kitchen) and the car in case of emergencies?
Do you value all living things or did you
cheer when the bluebird that was catching a few of your bees got pounced on by a hawk?
Do you watch the bees going and coming every day, or do you take and record the internal temperature of each hive?
Are you surprised by how much hive equipment you ordered this winter, or do you feel that it isn’t enough?
Can you recite the Latin names for the various genuses of bees, and do you use them
in conversation with the girls in the hive?
Would you like to plant more bee friendly plants? Gardening? Who has time to plant a garden?
Are you proud of your newly hatched bees,
and do you replace the pictures of your children in your wallet with photos of each new bee?
Can you crush a small hive beetle with your hive tool and love the sound it makes as you do so?
you have propolis under your finger nails? What finger nails?
Do all of your friends, all of your neighbors and your extended family know that you don’t use chemicals in your apiary?
only have you had the wax from the comb in your hives tested, you studied for the test.
In anticipation of feeding the girls with sugar syrup, did you plant your own sugar cane and beets?
you want to preach to your children about the virtues of beekeeping, do you suddenly remember that you never had time to have children?
And when you spouse accuses you of loving your bees more than anything, is your
immediate response “What’s wrong with that?”
If the above doesn’t clarify your status, let me remind you of the medical research group that recently advertised for participants in a study
of obsessive-compulsive disorder, focusing on therapy clients who had been diagnosed with OCD. The response was gratifying; they got 3,879 responses. And they all came from one person – me.
Talking of which, excuse me
why I go and check on the girls … I haven’t looked at them for at least an hour.