Carla Marina Marchese is a beekeeper and honey connoisseur. She’s got a Weston farm, sells honey in Westport, and founded Red Bee honey and an accompanying blog.
The other day, she wrote:
Today is National Honeybee Day. But we’re not celebrating.
A thriving colony of bees in our apiary mysteriously perished without explanation. The incident is suspicious, and particularly disturbing because 2 days earlier this colony was alive and active. Since my apiary is just outside my honey house I can view the bees and their activity easily without going outside. In my 18 years of keeping honeybees, I have never had a colony of bees wiped out instantaneously.
Less than one week earlier, I was thrilled to be in my apiary with Richard Wiese. He lives in Weston, has an office in Westport, and is the host of “Weekends with Yankee.”
He was filming an episode for PBS that would feature Red Bee Apiary nationally. This was an incredible opportunity to showcase the importance of honeybees and their pollination activities, as well as the honey-making process.
We spent a glorious morning among the bees. We spotted the queens, watched as worker bees performed their ritual dances, and tasted fresh honey being made right before our eyes. Everything about honeybees is mesmerizing.
Although one got under Richard’s bee suit, it added to the true experience and the magic of honeybees.
On the Wednesday after filming, I took a walk over to the hives. I was alarmed to see a pile of dead bees cluttering the entrance board. More dead bees had poured like a waterfall onto the grass in front of the hive.
I desperately ripped off the outer cover to look inside: a massive graveyard. I felt nauseated and destroyed. How could this happen? Thousands upon thousands of honeybees, silenced all at one time.
My gut tells me they were exposed to nearby pesticide treatment. What if it was a neighbor spraying for weeds? Or the power company spraying to prevent growth along their power lines? The town very well could have been spraying for mosquitoes or ticks again.
Right now I do not have answers. I have contacted our state bee inspector to take a look, and will send samples of bees to the lab for evaluation.
Once I have answers, I will share them. There has been an overwhelming interest in the plight of honeybees and the use of pesticides in our environment. I posted pictures on Red Bee Honey’s Facebook page, and it went viral.
It is heartening to see the outpouring of concern. Now more than ever we must fight to save the bees.