Oh, woe. This year’s follies have, alas, been effectively cancelled. Alackaday. You may also imagine us muttering other phrases, favorites featuring fricatives, in irritated disappointment.

For new readers, this is the annual post where we look for entertainment at the search terms that bring people to our blog, a blog that focuses almost entirely on beekeeping with very few off-topic posts. Likewise, the overwhelming number of queries are plainly looking for information about bees and beekeeping. But some very few are clearly looking for information on completely unrelated topics indeed and have been comically misled by their search engine. Other very few search terms readily lend themselves to deliberate misinterpretation in a mildly humorous way. If not comedy gold then, at least, a little holiday tinsel and glitter.

But a few years ago, Google began, in the name of privacy, to hide such terms from the target website with the result that almost all searches to our site would be logged as “Unknown Search Terms”. For our little, low-traffic blog that leaves this year a mere one hundred and fifty-six searches to mine for the rare ore from which we can smelt a few shiny flecks of amusement. This year we found not even pyrite.

Ah, well. Let us at least take a look for trends among the search terms which we can see, remaining cognizant of the problems with small sample sizes. In other words, conclusions drawn from these results are worthless but here we go anyway.

Mites with legs bitten off.

In first place (5.8%) were searches for the “ankle biter” bees developed by Greg Hunt of Purdue. None of our searchers seemed aware that the official name has been changed to the humorless “mite biter”.

Second place (5.1%) went to searches for plans for a long Langstroth hive. But for the use of top bars rather than frames our Tanzanian hives are dimensioned to qualify. And we once again feel that twinge of guilt over never having posted any hive-construction articles.

Third place (3.8%) went to a favorite of every autumn, searches about yellowjackets and the eradication thereof.

Bee foraging poison ivy

Fourth place (2.6%) was taken by searches for bees and poison ivy. Our post on this topic remains a popular one although it is second in Google results to the more widely-read Honeybee Suite. Still we are pleased at the number of people we have reassured that they need not fear poison ivy honey since the toxic urushiol is not present in the nectar.

Finally, in fifth place(1.9%) were searches for Dr. Meghan Milbrath of The Sandhill. Her business will not be providing nucs this year but will focus on raising queens as the most efficient way of supplying beekeepers with good quality, locally adapted genes for their colonies. Her bees are Michigan survivor stock with contributions from the afore-mentioned Indiana ankle-biters.

In addition, the education part of the business will continue with classes on various aspects of beekeeping, both basic and advanced. She is an engaging and informative speaker, well worth hearing whenever one can.

The remainder of the searches were one-offs of no particular interest. Sigh. If we want humor, we may have to resort to knock-knock jokes.

Knock, Knock.
Who’s there?
Wherefore means.
Wherefore means who?

No, “wherefore” means “why!” How many times do we have to go over this?