Waiter, There’s a Bug in my Sap!

Sallow Moth in a sappy grave

Sallow Moth in a sappy grave

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.

What ALL moths look like to my daughter.

What ALL moths look like to my daughter.

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.

The final swim.

The final swim.


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.

About applewoodfarm

Restaurateur, farmer, bartender, beekeeper, friend, wife, mother, dog lover, cat tolerater, chicken hypnotizer, blogger, and sometime yogi
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5 Responses to Waiter, There’s a Bug in my Sap!

  1. avwalters says:

    Yay, you rescued the wandering bee! Are you sugaring in open buckets?

    • I rescued about 12 of them, but there were at least 12 more that were already dead. If I’m going to be honest with myself, I probably didn’t really rescue them. It occurred to me much later (too much later) that I should have carried them back to the hive where they could have been cared for by the other bees. As it was, they were probably too wet and cold and likely just ended up freezing to death instead of drowning. (sorry to be such a buzz-kill) (sorry for the pun) (I can’t help myself).

      We don’t sugar in open buckets, but the lids aren’t secure by any means. They are covered to keep leaves and branches and rain out, but the sides are pretty much exposed and there is more than enough room for bugs to wander in.

  2. Claudette says:

    I outgrew my morbid fear of moths = there is hope for your daughter!

  3. Jerry says:

    I like your blog, it is very entertaining and instructive.

    One little thing – when I click on your photos, they are so large that I have to scroll around and look at them one square foot at a time of a hundred square foot image…

    I know I have no right to complain, you are doing all the work, I just sit and watch…

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