Over a year in the making, this design by the awe-inspiring Greeley-local Armando Silva came right on time! Armando is a Mexican-born first generation immigrant raised in Greeley from the age of 5. He incorporates his Latin roots into his art and uses it as a tool to empower and motivate. Our collaborative design makes it debut for the annual observance of the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos.
The commemoration of the Day of the Dead is to remember ancestors, tell stories of them, and celebrate who they were.
This year, we suffered our worst losses yet with a record 15 hive loss. These losses were mostly out of our control. The year started with a warm, dry spring. It called the bees out with warm weather but taunted them no food. Over the summer, we suffered multiple hailstorms with golfball-sized hail that decimated the flowers around our hives. This, along with normal environmental attacks of neighboring pesticides, wax moths, mites, and colony collapse hit our hives especially hard.
This fall is bittersweet; we are heading into winter with a small crew and fear of what next year’s weather will bring. This is why this design comes at just the right time. We pause to mourn our bees we have lost this season and in seasons past. We hope for a better future that we may not see in our lifetime.
Armando’s art captures visually what we want you to understand. The position of the bee in the chest of the beekeeper is there because our bees are a part of us. We are committed to them and our existence is connected to theirs. At times, we feel that all we can do is take care of them the best we are able, but we cannot promise them a better year next year or even a decade from now. A part of the tradition of the Day of the Dead that speaks to our hearts is that as long as you celebrate and remember your ancestors you keep them alive.
For us, this art commemorates our commitment to be keepers of the bees and to tell their story. Our hope is that as long as we tell their story we help to keep them alive in the here and now.