The Silence of the Hive

A full hive with bees working
A full hive with bees working

What you quickly learn as a beekeeper is that the sound of the hive matters.  When you first get into a hive, if the hive is in good health and has all of its needs met, the hive is generally pretty quiet (I talk about the hive as a single organism, because that’s really what bees are: a single super organism.)  Sometimes, a hive is louder when you arrive–the bees are fanning the hive with their wings to keep it cool, or they are beating their wings to generate heat in the winter to keep it warm (you don’t open the hive under 50 degrees). But in the absence of extreme hot or cold, a happy and healthy hive emits only a very soft sound, discernible only up close when you open it. Beehives always have some buzzing in them–the bees move around, beat their wings, and go about tending their young and storing away pollen and honey. You can sense the happiness and contentment of the bees in a quiet hive a going about their work. As you begin doing whatever it is you need to do and disrupt the bees, like pulling out frames or moving around hive boxes, they escalate to a louder buzzing sound, where the hive is on alert. The louder the buzzing, generally, the less happy of a hive you have on your hands. They get extremely loud and start flying at you and trying to sting when they think their hive is in danger–this is usually after you do something stupid, like kill bees, bang on the hive box, drop something, etc.. I used to think that this loud buzzing was the worst sound you could hear. Now, I realize there is a much worse sound you can hear–and that is the sound of silence.

This past weekend was supposed to be an exciting time for me as a beekeeper–my two hives each had 30 or so pounds of excess honey in the honey supers from the last big nectar flow of the season, and it was time to go harvest. The honey this time of year is the stuff of legends, the nectar of the gods, the honey that can drive away seasonal allergies and warm the soul for the many long months of winter. Its made of plants that heal–goldenrod and aster.  Its dark and rich, extremely flavorful, and highly medicinal. I had been looking forward to this weekend for many months, excited that we had such a good harvest in the second year of beekeeping. It was especially gratifying after getting through the regulatory red tape of moving my hives from Michigan to Pennsylvania this summer and finding a new home for the hives.

This is what you expect to see....
This is what you expect to see….

My father joined me to help harvest the honey, and we laughed and smiled as we put on our suits, prepared our tools, and got ready to do the harvest. When we opened the first hive, I noted that the bees weren’t on the honey super–this isn’t necessarily abnormal; the colony is quickly shrinking in size as the weather cools and you don’t always find a lot of bees up in the honey super. But something felt just wrong. We were able to pull off the frames one by one, not even needing the escape board I had planned on using.  Then it struck me–there was no buzzing; the hive was silent. As I leaned into the hive and looked down through all the frames and into the brood box where the bees should still be, I could see straight to the bottom. No bees. I realized that the absence of sound was one of the worst kinds of sounds a beekeeper can hear–the silence of a dead or abandoned hive.

Six months ago on this blog, I wrote about the sound of silence and the music of the world–how one researcher found that as species died off and dwindled, as less and less habitats remained, a silence was coming over the world in ways not previously recorded or experienced. This, of course, is decades after Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, who documented the effects of pesticide use on bird populations–and who created a national conversation on conservation. And, as I stood there looking at my empty, dead hive, pulling frame after frame, the full weight of the silence was upon me.

There are lots of ways that hives can die these days, but the name for what I found in my hive this past weekend is one you’ll probably recognize: colony collapse disorder (CCD). This is when the workers in a healthy hive up and abandon it leaving their young, their queen, and all of their food behind. Its not that the whole hive moves on, but rather, just the workforce of the hive disappears. Its kind of like if every healthy adult who keeps your town functioning were to walk out of town permanently and head who knows where without any food, water, even a change of clothes, leaving their children, elders, and pets behind, and just disappear, never to be seen again. The worker bees have no chance of survival without the honey (especially as it gets colder and colder), the safety of their hive, and the queen for reproduction–especially this late in a season. Even if they somehow made it to spring, without a queen, the bees cannot reproduce and the colony would die. In a careful inspection of the dead hive, I found bees that had just hatched, half out their cells, dead. Many others never had a chance to hatch and died before they were even born. We’ve had some very cold nights, and I’m guessing they froze to death. Without any adult worker bees tending them or keeping them warm, they had no chance. It was awful.

Its not just the loss of the hive, a dear friend and companion on my journey, that is so painful. Its the representation of what this loss means. Its seeing the headlines about bee declines and deaths and thinking that you can somehow do better, that your organic beekeeping and the love you pour into your hives will make your bees immune to what’s going on. That CCD will never happen to your hives. That your practices, and faith, and love, can create a protective bubble to keep the harsh reality of what we are doing to this planet out.  I am again reminded of what declines in bee, bird, and other wildlife populations mean for the health of our lands. I’ve been speaking so much of regeneration on this blog in recent months, and the loss of my hive really has weighed on me the importance of this ongoing conversation.

In the last 10 years, there’s been a lot of press coverage about Colony Collapse Disorder–what it is, why it happens, what causes it. The truth is, scientists are still figuring it out, but it seems to focus on three areas: pesticides, disease/mites, and the loss of of foraging areas. But it doesn’t take a scientist to recognize the massive changes happening in our lands: all ones needs to do is open his or her eyes and see through the bee’s perspective. Bees need the same things the rest of us do: healthy living spaces free of poison, health and disease free living, no toxins, and adequate food supplies. Those are increasingly under threat, and unfortunately, the situation is not improving at present time.

Less than 1/2 mile from the hives, I noted someone in the yard with his small pack sprayer of chemicals, hitting the dandelions and other plants he didn’t want growing there.  After leaving the hives very saddened, I noted on the same road a “lawn care professional” whom I might more aptly name a “poisoner” spraying an entire lawn down with his toxic brew. Some countries in Europe have outright banned the offending pesticides to help bee populations recover, but in the great US of A, the opposite seems to happen. Instead, we get the “Best Recommendations for the Public” from the USDA in the form of the following:

“The best action the public can take to improve honey bee survival is not to use pesticides indiscriminately. In particular, the public should avoid applying pesticides during mid-day hours, when honey bees are most likely to be out foraging for nectar and pollen on flowering plants.”

Indiscriminate use of pesticides? Being mindful of pesticides? Are you serious? The first step to addressing a problem is recognizing that we have one, and clearly, as a culture we still aren’t at that point. We have extensive amounts of greenwashing on the part of actual chemical companies and a government entity that panders to them. I think, personally, its time we really start getting louder about these chemicals and frame them for what they are and do: the systematic poisoning of our lands. Seeing that guy spraying the lawn as I was leaving my dead hive was just too much for me.

Lawn: be gone!
Lawn: be gone!

Of course, the other big issue with CCD is that the lawn itself is a food desert to bees and many other beneficial insects and wildlife, food desert. We have many, many kinds of food deserts in the USA today: places where people can’t get access to fresh food, and places where wildlife or insects also lack access. Part of the decline in bee populations is due to the lack of food availability for the bees: those chemically-ridden, manicured lawns provide no food or forage for wildlife, and they poison all who are near them. Less food means less abundance and a harder life for the bees and for everything else–the loss of food and habitat, of course, is driving the growing silence in the world. I’m not sure if this was an issue for my hive as they definitely seemed well fed this summer, but its a contributing factor in bee health more generally.

When I got into beekeeping, I did so because I wanted to help understand the bees, help tend them and bring them to the landscape; I wanted to help the land heal. And this weekend, I learned a very important lesson about beekeeping–it doesn’t matter how organic and clean your practices are in the hive.  If the people around you are spraying, even out to two miles, it will make it into your hive. And it will make it into your body, and into your children, and your pets, and your trees, your organic vegetable garden, and everything else. I’m not the first person I know to lose a colony of bees to this stuff, and I certainly won’t be the last. The bees are like our canary in the coalmine–the land isn’t safe and the bees die. My question is: how long are we going to turn our heads and close our doors when our neighbors, governments, friends, family, or farmers are literally poisoning the land we hold sacred? When the canary is clearly suffering or already dead?  That’s the question I think that we all have before us.

Regenerative and sustainable living isn’t all whimsical and happy. We don’t homestead, harvest herbs, and tend the land just because it allows us to sit with fluffy bunnies, milk happy goats chewing on burdock, and drink oodles of lemon balm tea sweetened with raw organic honey. Maybe there’s that image out there–that of idyllic farm life, perfect and content. That if we can simply build enough of an oasis for ourselves and our families, for our gardens and our animals, that everything that is out there won’t get in. The reality is far from it. We do this because the alternative, for us, and for the life on this planet is, death. Its silence. The emptiness of a beehive, the quiet of the birds that once lived and are no more, the shrinking patches of forest–this is why we do this work. We do this because we have to do something, and doing something, however small, is better than sitting around with our faces in our phones pretending nothing is happening. There are days when, as joyful as this path may be, the reality of the challenges we face in the world come right in our faces in a way that we can’t ignore.  This past Saturday, for me, was one of those days.

Dana O'Driscoll

Dana O’Driscoll has been an animist druid for almost 20 years, and currently serves as Grand Archdruid in the Ancient Order of Druids in America. She is a druid-grade member of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids and is the OBOD’s 2018 Mount Haemus Scholar. She is the author of Sacred Actions: Living the Wheel of the Year through Earth-Centered Spiritual Practice (REDFeather, 2021), the Sacred Actions Journal (REDFeather, 2022), and Land Healing: Physical, Metaphysical, and Ritual Approaches for Healing the Earth (REDFeather, 2024). She is also the author/illustrator of the Tarot of Trees, Plant Spirit Oracle, and Treelore Oracle. Dana is an herbalist, certified permaculture designer, and permaculture teacher who teaches about reconnection, regeneration, and land healing through herbalism, wild food foraging, and sustainable living. Dana lives at a 5-acre homestead in rural western Pennsylvania with her partner and a host of feathered and furred friends. She writes at the Druids Garden blog and is on Instagram as @druidsgardenart. She also regularly writes for Plant Healer Quarterly and Spirituality and Health magazine.

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  1. Francesca Richardson

    I am so sorry to hear about your bees. Yes, I live in farm country in Maryland, and I have noticed changes here as well.

    1. Francesca, what have you noticed specifically?

  2. Reblogged this on How 2 Be Green and commented:
    Fabulous article on bees!

    1. Thank you for the reblog and the kind comments :).

      1. You are very welcome! 🙂

  3. Thank you for your wonderful article on bees!

    1. Thank you! Sad it couldn’t be more positive this time around 🙁

      1. You are welcome. Ah, but the more people know the sad state of affairs with bees, the better! The positive side is: the more people are educated the more support there is in saving the bees.

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. I thought this would never happen to you. I still see wild honeybees, and several other kinds, in my neighborhood.

    1. Yeah, I thought it wouldn’t happen to me either! The bees were on this incredible 70 acre land with tons of wild fields and forage plants. But they still ventured out further of course. There are conventional farms nearby (like everywhere), and lots of conventional neighbors. Its just really reinforced the the idea that we are part of our surroundings, and really working in our communities, rather than isolated from them, does matter.

      1. Nancy A. R. Honeychuck

        Sorry to hear about your Bees. I have noticed fewer and fewer native, small solitary Bees, and also a terrible dwindling of Bumble Bees in this highly pesticided, mono cropped upper Midwest area I live in…Glad to hear you speak out so eloquently. I witness as unthreateningly, but I hope clearly, and evidence-based as I can to all and sundry about these poisons and their consequences. The big chemical companies have bought and co-opted the county extensions, and we are given to believe pesticides are as harmless as lemonade, and that nothing could possibly grow without them… We must not ever give up defending our Mother, our only Mother, or all is lost for We are part of Her!

        1. Hi Nancy,
          Thank you so much for your comment. Two summers ago when I was vacationing with my family, we met a native bee researcher. We were on Kelly’s Island, which is in lake Erie just off the coast of Ohio. She was there collecting samples of bees for her dissertation, and as a beekeeper, I spent a great deal of time discussing bees. She was shocked by what she was finding–she was finding massive declines in wild bee populations, which aren’t monitored nearly as closely as honeybees. So I am sure that what you are also seeing is happening everywhere. The bumbles were really taking a hit :(.

          RE: County extension offices. I was, for a time, tempted to do a Master Gardener program, but after looking at their curriculum, decided that I had no desire to learn about the best way to apply pesticides and insecticides. The other place that has really been bought out by big ag/chemical companies are native plant conferences and groups, unfortunately. :(.

          1. Thank you for confirming my (unfortunate) suspicions about Master Gardener programs. People keep telling me I “need” to become one, but our extensions are run by Purdue, a known Monsanto shill university. I’ve resisted the training for a variety of reasons, including that I’m more of a do-er than a sit in a classroom under fluorescent lights kind of student, but I also suspected they’d push ideas I wouldn’t ever use. I tried to get some local people together to vocalize for a temporary ban on the new Agent Orange 2D4, or whatever it’s called. Talk about silence………

          2. Purdue is my alma mater, so yeah, I know about their agricultural policies and “test fields.” That’s why I went the Permaculture Design route. A PDC sounds like it might be really good for you…mine was so empowering 🙂

          3. Yes, I’m taking my PDC this fall. It’s an online version, but they contacted me and said I could use my yard as the final project. I’ll still need to do all the analysis and work, but they will give me real input on this as a real project. If I hadn’t taken over the house next door, I’d already be done the coursework. That just added several layers to an already stacked deck this late summer and fall!

          4. YAY! You will be so empowered! How exciting 🙂

  5. Oh I am just so sorry for your loss! Thank you for sharing this with us. Sending you love. We love you bees!!

    1. Thank you, Kerry!

  6. I normally just read your most excellent blog and keep to myself, but having had two hives lost to the predations of skunks and one to (I believe) CCD, the sound of silence you mention is one that definitely stirs heartache. Keep fighting the good fight.

    1. Thank you, Druid MacLeod for reading and your kind comments. I’m sorry to hear you are also experiencing these losses. I have a question for you–did you report the CCD anywhere? I have been looking for a place to report it, contacted my state, etc, and nobody has gotten back to me. Seems like someone should be keeping statistics on this stuff.

      1. I did not report it as I still had twice as many unlicensed hives, but I understand the agency does keep records. Probably a state level thing, but whether it’s all being consolidated somewhere I would direct to the scientists to answer.

        1. Good to know. And don’t even get me started on the regulatory bullshit we have here to keep bees. Oh my goodness…

  7. I’ve shared this to my private group on Facebook “Sweet Dirt Homestead and Apiary”. We recently lost a hive and another is struggling along. The silent one was fine one day and literally gone the next. We have lost hives before but we noticed a struggle in those cases. This was very different. The problems originated in the actual package. Others who bought from the same supplier lost bees nearly immediately and noticed that some bees were being born without stomachs. We thought we had lucked out but as it turned out, something was not right from the start-but it manifested differently for us. I’m very sorry about your hive-I know that sinking feeling all too well.

    1. Bees being born without stomachs, that’s so sad. Thank you for sharing this information. I wonder if anyone is doing this in terms of government bodies, researchers, etc.

      1. We had a Dept. of Ag person come and look at our bees. He was interested in the situation on a personal level but his visit was official as the State Of Wisconsin has enacted some really weak measures to help us out. For example, “if anybody is spraying close by” they need to notify us 24 hours before so we can take measures to protect the hives (with wet sheets). The fact is that they know that something is wrong and that if they don’t take action we are going to be in big trouble but they won’t take on the big ag people. We also were offered a program by USDA which was to help us plant forage BUT when they accepted us for the grant they told me to spray round up first. I told them no so they said they’d send a forestry person out. Never did but instead sent a rejection notice. So once again it was like talking to a wall-a concerned wall but a wall none the less. I don’t think that our society has taken the jump from “livestock loss” to the truth. Its all about money re-imbursement and “everything will be alright, no big deal”.

        1. Those measures are a joke. Wet sheets. Wow. Not all beekeepers live close enough to their hives to immediately go out and cover them (and what if you get a notification in the middle of the day when the bees are already out foraging?)

          That sounds exactly like what the USDA would do. Sigh…..

          1. Yes, its very frustrating and its a non solution.But they really think that they are doing everybody a “favor” by doing so. Of course, we must send a letter out to the offending parties every year and they tend to “forget” to notify us anyway. The real plan is to tire people like us out while making enemies among the community because we are asking for these little concessions. In the end-it feels like they just want us to shut up.

          2. The question is, what will it take to make positive change on a larger scale? We know the USA could do it–we brought the Bald Eagle back from the brink of extinction. What will it take for bees? What worries me is the disconnection people have from their food, from their land….they don’t value it. How will they change if they don’t value it?

          3. Sadly I can’t answer any of those things. I believe that people are disconnected from themselves to begin with. My observations with having bees has been how people rationalize. I live in an ag area where the gmo farmers wives have wished for round up ready garden seeds because their backs hurt from pulling weeds! I can’t explain it. I don’t think anybody can.

          4. I think a lot of this is even a conventional way of thinking about gardening. This is one of the things I really like about Permaculture–the concept of the food forest, in whatever stage of ecological succession you want to keep it at, is much less about “weeds” than beneficial relationships between plants. “weeds” have an ecological role–its not just a piece of dirt to plant your annuals in, but becomes a complex living system. But that kind of thinking requires so many shifts, and conventional (and even conventional organic) approaches are nowhere there yet!

          5. Where have you been all my life:) I am a permaculture newbie but have been trying to learn as much as I can and also implement it on our land as we go. I started a food forest but had to abandon it for awhile-which is fine-it’ll do its thing. While I’m very excited about it, our friends and neighbors think I’ve lost my mind. lol. I think quite a few people see that they need to change but its not that easy for some to overcome bad information and have not adapted to the fact that we need new paradigms now. I’m guessing but thats what I see around me and I do actually talk to people about it locally.

          6. :). If you look back across my posts from the last few months in particular, you’ll see a lot of permaculture-focused posts. I’ve been practicing it for years, but only this summer got my PDC (I’ll do a review of the PDC I did sometime soon). Would love to talk more with you about it! Visiting a few sites practicing permaculture design is a wonderful thing, if nothing else~ 🙂

          7. I will look over your older posts and would likewise enjoy the conversation. I have thought to do my own PDC but I have some issues with my body that won’t allow the on sight work-especailly not on another persons land. I barely can manage my own right now! lol.

    2. Has anyone wondered if Fukushima’s playing a role in this? I mean … having no stomachs is quite a birth defect. I know we have loads and loads of reasons for genetic impairment and CCD, but no one ever seems to mention the radiation blanketing the northern hemisphere. I can’t remember if it’s Paul Stamets or someone else who was speaking about medicinal mushrooms as beneficial for CCD. Given fungi’s ability to remediate radiation, I wonder if this could be tried by more beekeepers to see if there’s any success? I’ve been contemplating beekeeping once I get the yard next door up and running, but given the spraying within town, not to mention the Monsanto corn and soy fields in every direction around town, I don’t know if it’s just futile. I have seen very few honeybees this year, although loads of bumblebees, and quite a lot of wasps and solitaries. Of course, I “called” the wasps and solitaries here. I also wonder if doing protection magick on beehives would work … or perhaps Willowcrow did, in which case the death of that hive is even more unnerving and sad.

      1. I don’t know, but its seriously a possibility. After all, bees are so tiny, so sensitive, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were being affected. I’m seriously ready to give the mushrooms to bolster the immune system of my bees a try. I figure it couldn’t hurt….and I have lots of good locally foraged medicinal mushrooms. I just have to figure out how to deliver the medicine of Reishi. I might contact Stamets or someone else who is doing the work and see if I can do some trials (I am a trained researcher, after all…just not a bee researcher!) :P.

        1. If you can find out what kind of mushrooms Stamets is testing, we might be able to help you collect. Dave gets into collecting mushrooms for people. In the video it looks like reishi.

          1. It looks like REishi, yes. I think there are a few others…I attended a talk by Trav Cotter, and he’s doing work with medicinal mushrooms as well. He’s working with reishi, miatake, cordyopsis, and a few others.

      2. I beleive the die offs started prior to Fukishima but I am also sure that you are pointing out something nobody is thinking about at all-radiation. For us, as much as we plant forage, our neighbors don’t and if they do, they spray now and then or a lot-we have gmo people around us. We are close to some woods and notice our swarms have headed there so I assume our bees also head there. I beleive I’d like to keep bees in a city-I believe they have a much better chance at survival even with the air polution there-its not concentrated like pesticides are here-at least that is my thinking on it right now.

        1. That’s such an interesting idea about keeping bees in the cities, lindamartha! You’re probably right. A guy in South Bend was doing a lot with restoring wild bee populations and was supposed to start spreading hives in volunteer yards all over Elkhart and Joseph Counties in Indiana. It was kind of an ad hoc experiment to see where they did best. He’d maintain the hives and just give the land hosts a jar or two of honey in payment. I’ve not heard anymore of the project yet, but I agree with the principle — we need to get creative and experimental to see what works where. Sometimes, the success stories may be counter-intuitive, like your city idea.

          1. Laura, that is a great example. I have read that some people are renting hives in Madison for a hundred a year and giving a gallon of honey as well. If you want, have a look at the Chicago Honeybee Co-op. I knew one of their bee keepers and the bees there were doing really good when I lived there. Theres a lot going on in cities.I think those of us in agricultural areas need to move our hives out altogether. Wisconsin lost 60 percent of its bee population last year as did other states. Something has to give here.

          2. This is really good to hear! I will mention with urban beekeeping that the propolis isn’t safe–bees make it out of asphalt in urban environments (rather than plant resin). So you might want to keep that in mind. But, lots more attention to bees is a great thing!

          3. Ooh! I didn’t know! Thank you!

  8. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature

    Oh, Willowcrow, I am so sorry! What a tragic loss! Fortunately around here I am not aware of pesticides, but even so, the wild bee population is declining, bumblebees included. Fighting the big companies seems so hopeless. I do sign petitions on line and write to my senators from time to time, but they are all bought off. I so feel for you and that sinking feeling of hearing nothing. It’s just so sad. It’s hard to know what to do except keep our land healthy – “if I can’t change the world, I’ll change the world within my reach.” We all need to educate and hopefully wake some more people up.
    Thank you for sharing about your bees. Your other hives are ok?
    Blessings to you and your bees.

    1. Mary, I only have two hives, and yes, the other one is very strong and healthy. I’m hoping they make it through winter-will be going back there to insulate the hive quite soon. :). I think the declines are due to more than just pesticides–food, forage, water, and more all contribute to the declines. And the illnesses and diseases, of course. Thanks for your comment!

  9. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature

    Yeah, I do too. Like they are leaving the planet for other reasons. Seems like many species are. Bees are master teachers. Hopefully their leaving will wake people up…or we will slip through the veil with them, which is fine. It’s all perfect in the great cosmic scheme of things….just really sad for people who feel things deeply. Can’t give up the fight, though. Maybe fight isn’t the right word…work for change.

    1. Yes, this is so true. The bees are master alchemists and teachers–I’m sad they are up and disappearing. I feel like I was only beginning to learn from this hive, just beginning our journey together after two years. Its sad for all at this time, but we have to keep on…going? Yes, maybe that’s it. Work for change, as you said.

  10. So, so sorry to hear of the loss of your bees. My neighbors have had similar troubles with their hives, though we finally seem to becoming something of a haven for wild bee varieties–lots of clovers and semi-wild spaces.

    One plant I noticed that all manner of pollinator flocking to was motherwort. Have you seen anything similar? I’m trying to keep a couple in the community garden both as attractors and herbals.

    1. Motherwort is a really good herb for pollenators. I wonder about bee seeking medicine, though–and maybe the medicine of motherwort to help stave off illnesses in hives. One of my colleagues linked to this article about mushrooms as a potential medicine for bees:

      I want to start thinking like a bee herbalist. I think there are ways to bolster and strengthen our hives… 🙂

  11. I am so sorry to hear of your loss, and the loss for your area. My uncle suffered CCD a few years ago and he couldn’t recoup the loss, both financially or emotionally, so he stopped bee keeping. It was truly sad because we need bees so badly, but it’s just getting harder and harder to keep them alive. I think people need to realize that we truly do live in symbiosis with bees. When they start dying, eventually, so will we. All things die, but it is sad that we have been so instrumental in our own demise.

    1. Its seriously emotionally devastating. Cause we aren’t talking about ONE life, but 50,000 or more lives. That’s the hard part for me. Thanks for the comment and condolences!

  12. Thank you for your beautiful, powerful and true response to something so terrible and ugly.

    1. Thank you so much, Bryan. Thanks for reading.

  13. Reblogged this on Laura Bruno's Blog and commented:
    So sorry to hear about your hive! Thank you for this passionate wake up call to everyone, and thank you, as always, for all that you do towards habitat regeneration. Joanna Macy always helps in these cases with her reminder that we don’t know that we’ll succeed in this Great Turning. We don’t do it to win. We do it, because it’s the right thing to do, and, as David’s Dutch saying goes, “Above all else, do that which you cannot not do.” Blessed Bees, may you rest in peace, and may this world regenerate faster than we collectively destroy it.

    1. Joanna Macy’s words ring true. Here’s to regeneration!

  14. Dana… I don’t know which is more devastating… The loss of your and other hives due to the issues you have researched and posted so clearly – or the “solutions” by the govt/others. I am so, so sorry to hear about this.

    1. Its ok. I’m just saddened for the bees. Its another problem we face, but raising awareness about it is a critical first step!

  15. May I have your permission to send a copy of your post to my New Hampshire Representatives and Senators? Jan Dugan, N. Woodstock, NH

    1. Sure, send away :).

  16. P.S. BTW, I have not seen ONE Monarch butterfly up here all summer long. Usually we see them. I have asked about five people who work in gardens if they have seen any and when they thought about it, they realized that they have NOT seen any. Very scary. Jan, N. Woodstock, NH

    1. I have only seen about 4 monarchs in the last 3 years. I did see two this year, near Seven Springs PA when I was at the Mother Earth News Fair. I had seen only 1 per year the last year I was in Michigan. I had planted tons of habitat for them as well. It IS very scary!

      1. check out….you can get support to help the monarchs. Now is the time to plant the milkweed seeds! Without milkweed, the butterflies have caterpillars that do not become un-tasty to birds. So this ‘weed’ is plowed down, mowed down and left uncultivated. It is the monarch’s desired food supply and lots are needed. Plant some now as the seeds need overwintering to grow and the plant, with taproot cannot be transplanted. You can get seeds from monarch watch and get updates on the migration. Be as involved as you like, there are lots of options. If you have a ‘bee’ garden, you generally have a natural monarch garden…except for the milkweeds. 🙂

        1. Hi Ellas! I actually had my homestead in Michigan registered a as a certified monarch waystation:). Its a great program!

  17. This is interesting as are the comments. My husband has been a beekeeper for more than 25 years. We have noticed changes in the hives here as well. I do believe that Laura Bruno is right in thinking radiation, but we also suspect the coal ash and fancy cocktail being sprayed under the headlines of ‘weather modifiction’. We notice this affects the birds too. The other huge thing that I have intuited and studied is geomancy and how the damage/fluctuations of the Curry and Hartman grids are a key factor in bee health. Our current hives are running along a grid line…which we had not done before, and when I began to dowse and correct the earth’s energy lines where we are, with basalt and plants, the bees not only got stronger, but we had swarms that were attracted to our area in the spring. We have not had CCD and have lost only one hive to cold. We just donated 5 of them to the local organic veggie farm as they suffered losses and were not getting enough pollination for the fields. We move next week and begin the process again on land that has natural forestation, but has a lot of regulations against keeping bees! So we will begin to heal this area, as is our mission in life, but we will definatly be locating the two hives we are taking on a geopathic grid line. For more information on that, I believe you can find good intro at as a start, and then hold on to your hat, for the hidden scientific and spiritual study and practices that go back to well…’ll love it!. Good luck with your bees!

    1. Ellas – This is SUCH an important point. I hadn’t considered what was being sprayed in the sky. Or for that matter, what’s being emitted here on the ground and the pollution from coal plants.

      I’m interested in talking with you more about your intuition about the gemomantic grids and dowsing. Thanks for the link. I’ve been studying this as well, in relationship to fracking and its impact on the telluric currents (our term for them in druidry). It makes sense a lot of sense that there may be a connection with the bees and their health. They are using something for orientation flights and finding their way back to the hives and so on :).

      1. We too are registered with monarchwatch. There is a concern with the grids and fracking too…along with the impact not only of coal in the air, but the disruption caused by the mining. Some of the more fascinating history is in Ireland with the basalt towers, and then wow….! You can email me at if you want. Might be worth sharing more detail. Once you read about the impact to human health, or the studies with farm animals….well, how far a jump is it to bees? Or any creature? We all, animal, vegetable and mineral are really only as healthy as our Earth mother. My husband says my ideas on grid and ley lines are novel…Is telluric the term for the grid system or ley lines or both?

  18. humblelittlehomestead

    Just visiting your blog for the first time. Sorry about your bees, that’s got to be so disappointing and frustrating. This is a very interesting article, we’d like to eventually get some bees some day. I bet we’d probably have the same type of problems though because we’re surrounded by fields that are sprayed. Ugh!

    1. Thanks for visiting–and best of luck with your (upcoming) bees!

  19. Hi, I’m sorry for your loss, reading this has about made me start crying. But I’m glad there are people like you out there to tell others about their personal experiences about awakening to the realities of how we test our planet. I’ve known about this and read articles but I think I understand more of what is being done, and what needs to change, about subjects I don’t have personal experience with. It can be scary to realize how not in harmony you may be with your environment, especially if you didn’t even realize why or how, but all it takes is really listening to those affected, and we can all start to notice the problem, which is a major step in changing. Polls and statistics are informative but seeing through the eyes of a real life person as they experience the heart breaking effects of our planet in pain can’t be ignored as easily as charts and graphs.

    1. Thanks so much, crazedweasel! I think your points about listening are so important. Also, I love the part about abandoning our hives. Nice!

  20. Just read some of the comments on how we need to be more interactive with our communities because we all affect each other. Very true, the bees have shown us what happens when we abandon our hive, and if we keep thinking we aren’t all an integral part of each other’s survival, the planets “hives” of life will continue to suffer and be silenced one after another.

  21. I have been following news on the decline of bees for quite awhile now, it’s terribly sad&I’m so sorry for your loss&sorry for our planet. 🙁 <3

    1. Thank you so much, Breakdownchick!

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