Bee – Leave Me, I’m Not Pollen Your Leg
After it was disturbed, swarms of angry bees exited the hive and began buzzing my head. Some of the guard bees landed on me and started stinging. Was I terrified? Would I need an EpiPen? Bees do make me a little nervous, so I admit that I was a feeling little uneasy. Luckily, I had just donned a white bee keeper’s suit while I was helping my friend Dave tend to his three honey bee hives. I felt a bit like Iron Man out there with his suit of armor, though fortunately I wasn’t able to fly.
I’m sure many of you have heard of the honeybee colony collapse disorder that is taking place across the globe. This is actually a serious situation that could affect our food supply down the road, as bees are largely responsible for pollinating plants and trees. Bees have been declining for years at an alarming rate. What is more disturbing is that scientists haven’t really been able to figure out why, though research seems to indicate that pesticide use is probably a contributing factor. Dave and other bee hobbyists are making an effort in their local areas to reverse the trend. Rather than collecting honey, they are more interested in increasing the neighborhood bee populations.
A couple of weeks ago Dave needed to do some maintenance work on his hives and invited me to tag along and help out. After entering, zipping and velcroing up our bee suits, we headed over to the bee colonies. We discovered that many of the bees were building their honeycombs in the wrong part of hives, which required some delicate relocation and reconstruction. Typically bees get a little stirred up when their homes are upset, and I have included a video confirmation of that! Fortunately bees will get used to a human after a relatively short period of time (short that is, if you’re wearing a bee suit!), then settle back down. With Dave’s guidance, we were able to reposition the honeycomb in relatively short order and the hive was as good as new.
We can all learn a bit from the honey bee. Bees are hard workers, they plan ahead and save resources for lean times, they all work together for a common cause, and they are masters of communication. They also build some pretty cool homes complete with HVAC systems.
This article was written by Tom Fletcher.