Collecting sap late last night, I was surprised to find sallow moths in nearly every bucket. In some cases, the moths were on the inside wall of the bucket and could be saved, but largely they had met their watery demise in the short-lived bliss of an ill-fated sap bath.
To me, this served as a strong indicator that the sugaring season is starting to wind down. As the insects begin to come out of hibernation, we know that the warmer days are on their way and the freezing overnight temperatures so necessary for sap flow must be coming to an end.
After encountering about two dozen moths at various stages of viability, I was grateful I hadn’t asked my teenage daughter to help carry sap.
She has a totally insane fear of moths.
Her reaction to seeing one would make Janet Leigh seem downright pleased to see Anthony Hopkins open the shower curtain, by comparison.
Checking the buckets again this evening, I expected to encounter another day’s infusion of moths. But today’s find was even worse.
Nothing makes me sadder than when I find honey bees dying.
I realize their life span isn’t particularly long, but as a beekeeper who spends a lot of energy keeping my bees alive, it is heartbreaking to find them meeting an untimely end when they were just looking for something to eat.
This time of year, when warming days are balanced by the occasional cold snap, the bees have mostly used up their stores of honey. Tricked by the sunny, warm days, they venture out in search of flowers which, obviously, they won’t find. Without supplemental pollen and sugar, they will starve before the first dandelions bloom.
We provide pollen patties to help the bees through this confusing time of year, but the sap in the buckets clearly proves too powerful a draw for those who have ventured far enough from the hive.
But sometimes, it’s not too late.