March 2024 Message from the President

March – the lucky month

The “luck of the Irish” sings proud in the month of March. Bagpipes, Irish dancers, and St Patrick. Did you know that on of St Patrick’s miracles was turning water into honey, how cool is that? Being my name is Patrick, have blue eyes, and was born just a half hour before St Patrick’s day, you may think I have that lucky Irish blood.

NOPE. I don’t have a lick of leprechaun in my blood, and thank goodness because I find this guy to be pretty creepy… my mom just liked the name Patrick and my parents claimed they weren’t counting 9 months out to St Patrick’s day when they were under the covers being frisky.

So, when it comes to coming out of winter with my bees, I can’t rely on Irish luck. I checked my hives in February and gave them what they needed before everything started to turn shamrock green. The warm weather provided a good indicator that of most my hives were in good standing just from looking outside of them.

As you can see here, they were busy… the warm weather encouraged the willows to bud out and the bees fly encouraging them to bring in pollen as a source of protein to feed the larva. How exciting. The bee season has begun, even if it was in late February when I filmed this. Perhaps you saw the same thing at your hives.

So, what is luck?

Is it your bees making it through the winter? Perhaps.

Is luck getting another year out of your 3 year old queen? Perhaps.

Is luck capturing your own swarm? Perhaps.

Is luck not losing your hive tool? Perhaps.

Is luck having a bountiful harvest? Perhaps.

Or is luck just a made-up word … and that we control the fate of our honeybee’s journey. Quite honestly, I think it’s both. Silly stuff like not losing my hive tool isn’t lucky, its being mindful where I put the darn thing. Getting 3 years out of a queen … well with all the talk if of queens lasting 1-2 years, I guess this could be in the lucky category, or just good genetics. I would say capturing your own swarm is pretty darn lucky… like I did last year. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time… it was luck.

And what about a good harvest? Well, that would be a combination of luck with the weather and good beekeeping practices.

Perhaps if we all carry a 4-leaf clover, while holding a rabbit’s foot, and rubbing Lincoln’s nose, while mounting a horseshoe over our hives, and picking up that lucky penny, we’ll all be lucky going into the bee season and harvest gold in the fall.

Speaking of luck, I was driving home with my wife one misty day when the sun broke through.  I saw a rainbow form that led directly into the Meijer gas station off of Bell Road. With all its brilliance, I told my wife “this has to be a sign to stop in and buy a lotto ticket … this is heaven’s way of saying “your pot of gold awaits.”

The next morning, I pulled out my lotto ticket …  and guess what? Not a single number matched. Not one!

I guess the phrase, “the luck of a beekeeper” isn’t a phrase that has much merit… and what about the old saying that a rainbow has a pot of gold at the end … whatever! I’m sticking with good bee management and leaving luck to when it happens and certainly not counting on it in my bee yard.