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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Interview with the Newspaper

On Tuesday afternoon, I received a call from a journalist for the St.Pete Times asking for an interview. Appearantly, she had spoken with the agricultural director and he suggested me as someone that may be up for answering some questions. I know, many have suggested not to talk with the media but, given the topic of her article has to do with how the whole issue with the Africanized honeybees had been completely overblown by labeling them "Killer" bees and such, how could I refuse? We talked for about half an hour and, before long, worked out that she and a photographer would be by Wednesday for an interview, and some pictures of the hive.

Being distracted with schoolwork and other adolecent excuses, my home apiary hasn't exactly been in "tip-top shape". I opened up the hives just to see how everything was going and, was amazed to find that, in one of them, they have drawn out and completely filled a medium super. Even in Florida, that's extremely uncommon this time of year. I will actually have to super a hive in January! I got down into the broodchamber and, it was packed....just absolutely packed with bees. It was in the mid 70s, clear sky with a light breeze and the hive was packed. The population and amount of brood is remminicent of what I was seeing in late February of last year. Small Hive Beetles must take up residence in hives when the weather turns cool. There are littlerally hundreds of SHB in the hive but, no larvae.

The nuc has been a different story. Despite these conditions that appearantly have allowed a hive to draw out and cap a super of honey in the winter, this nuc never seems to be in a "good mood". I'm thinking I will requeen them in February or March when good queens become available. Maybe I can use them to repopulate that Top Bar Hive. In any case, I will be changing out that queen if they can stay calm long enough for me to find her.

Wednesday started off cold and overcasted. By noon, it was raining and, at two I was in the door of my house. I didn't have any smoker fuel around; had burned it all off in November. But, wouldn't you know it, my father had left a wheelbarrow full of pine needles and sticks under the porch, having forgoten to dump it into the compost or garbage can. Within just a few minutes, the smoker was well lit.

The pouring rain had reduced to a light sprinkle and, gradually come to a stop. All the vines and overgrowth had been clipped from the apiary, and raked out. After half an hour, Rita (the journalist) had arived, followed shortly by the photographer. We began talking, her notepad everpresent in her hand as she looked down to scribble out quotes and key statements. FInally she asked, "Where are the bees? Are they here?"
"Sure, just around the corner"
Hopping over the knee high fence, around the corner of the house, I showed her the hives. They had been splashed with a little mud and dirt from the rain (and from the fact that by some mericle, I managed to line up the hive exactly where the water pours off the roof). THe photographer drove up and, in a hurry, suggested we jump strait over to the hive. I suggested that given they will be a little "grumpy" with the weather today, I may be able to show them the inside of a super but, we wouldn't get to any brood. Then, had to spend another ten minutes explaining what "brood" and "supers" are and, why they may be a bit "grumpy" when it's been raining. But, I do always have such fun explaining about the bees and beekeeping. As most of my friends could tell you, I can talk on the topic for, literal, hours on end.

Surprisingly, an hour and a half had passed before she ran out of questions. And, today, I just realized that we never covered the topic of what honey is, what wax is, the dances, etc. So, I e-mailed that over and, I'm expecting a call tomorrow.

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