The Night Before Christmas

Bug Squad     By Kathy Keatley Garvey   December 24, 2014

Professor Clement Clarke Moore (July 15, 1779 – July 10, 1863) wrote "A Visit from St. Nicholas" for his family in 1822. It later became known as "The Night Before Christmas."  Fast forward, 92 years later. With apologies to the good professor, we took pen in hand and thought about what "The Night Before Christmas" might be like in a honey bee colony.

The Night Before a Bee Colony

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the bee yard
Not a creature was stirring, not even a guard
The honey was packed in the hive with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The larvae were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of royal jelly danced in their heads
The workers, drones and queen were all a'fling
To await what trouble next spring will bring.

It's a dangerous world out there, the queen said
Life on the wing can leave you dead
Spiders, dragonflies, yellowjackets and birds
Assassin bugs, mantids and wasps, it's absurd.

Then there are pesticides, parasites and pests
And viruses, diseases, malnutrition and stress
It's a dangerous world everywhere, the queen said
A little of that can leave us all dead.

For years, we put out the "unwelcome mat"
For there are bears, skunks and raccoons about
And ‘possums, badgers, ‘jackets, and mice
'Scuse me! Why can't everyone just be nice?

Santa, you didn't listen to us bees
When we sat down upon your knees
You called us by name, that is true
But you left us all feeling quite blue.

Hi, honey! Hi, sweetie! Hi, sugar! Hi, dear!
You said we had nothing to fear.
Hi, darling! Hi, precious! Hi, baby! Hi, love!
And with that, you gave us a shove.

You didn't ask what kills us, St. Nick
You didn't ask what makes us sick
You didn't ask us about our clan
Do you care that we're in a jam?

There's just one thing we want, that's it
Something that will make us fit
Just two little words, please answer our call
We want to “bee healthy,” for once and for all!

(c) Kathy Keatley Keatley December 24, 2014