by Art Rodriguez
(Humboldt Co., Calif., USA)
I've raised honey bees for a few years and had a wonderful time w/ them. The area we were in produced a clear, unique flavored honey that was a combination of many types of wild flowers. It was along a river that flowed year round in the wilds of N. Calif.
We moved to a new location further into the hills and took the bee hives w/ us. At the new location, within a year, the bees became very aggressive.
Their wildflowers were gone. The beauty of the river was gone. We bought 60 acres in the mountains and the bees rebelled. They made their honey from the tan oak trees, and madrone tree blossoms. The honey was black as molasses and tasted bad. The hives were about 500 ft. from the house and they would attack anyone who ventured outdoors.
We had to leave home for the day and that night, I packed them up and gave them away. I still see honeybees there but they are native and don't know any better. They are normal.
Anyway, I will always remember them and right now I don't have any because of the location. Miss that sweet flavor.
Kind of a sad story, Art!
Beekeeping is definitely more challenging in places where Africanized bees have invaded. If you ever decide to try beekeeping again, you might try regularly requeening your hives with queens purchased from reputable bee suppliers.
That's a fair amount of trouble and expense, but it's a way to keep reasonably gentle hives in an area of Africanized bees.
By the way, Africanized bees are only aggressive around their hive. Away from the colony they're no more prone to sting than any other type of honey bee.
Sorry your 'bee story' had a sad ending, but thanks for sharing!
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