I have ordered two new packages of bees, and I have mixed feelings for doing so. My bees died abruptly last September, in part because of Varroa mites. It was really a heart-breaking experience. A few weeks ago I took the hive apart and thoroughly cleaned it, stored it, and have now begun building a new hive for one of the two new packages that I have ordered.
Why do I have mixed feelings? The answer is simple: I was unable to keep my previous hive alive even before winter set in; I am acutely aware of the responsibility that I am taking on. However, I believe it is important not to give up, and to do what I can to help the bee population (killing them aside) by learning about the animals and continuing to try to help them in the best way I know how.
This conclusion led me to understand that Truth is more important than fiction. The truth is: bees are going through hard times, and need our gentle help. The illusion would be to turn our backs on the problems that we are made aware of (I was made aware of last year). The truth is: human beings are at least in part responsible for the problems that bees are having. The illusion would be to pretend that we are innocent with regard to the problems that we have caused.
With all of this in mind, I am cautiously optimistic about the bees that I will receive. I will do my best (but what if my best is not good enough). I will use the knowledge that I learned from my first hive (but what if I cannot know enough). The only answers that I have are that I will continue to try to do better, and I will continue to try to know more. This is the best I have, and all that I can do. I hope the bees that I get somehow understand, and I hope they have the patience to put up with my mistakes.
Even in their death, my bees continue to teach me things that only experience can teach. This is yet another reason that I continue to be so thankful for my box of bugs. I will have two boxes of bugs in April, and will no doubt learn even more from them. I only hope that my student-ways are enough to keep them healthy, happy, or at the very least alive so that they can teach me even more.