Beemused part 2

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Beemused part 2

I make no apologies for not being much of a biologist and I confess to opening the BBKA Magazine and looking at the detailed pictures of a bees anatomy and letting out a sigh of disappointment knowing that the next few pages will mean little or nothing to me. The closest I come to knowing any details of a bee is when I try to put myself in their position in an effort to decide why they have done what they have managed to do despite my best efforts.

As a non academic leaving school with what was then an ‘o’ level in woodwork, this seemed a good way for me to try and fathom out basic beekeeping.

Let me give you an example of one of my first views as a bee.

‘Hey girls what goes on?’ some idiot has just taken the roof off our cosy dark hive and let the light flood in, then without giving us time to take a breath they started to pump clouds of smoke down and before I could say boo to a goose they started to break our home apart by lifting frames out. I didn’t even get time to have a quick chomp of our honey to take my mind off his cack handedness. The next thing I knew I was being dragged up and rolled over all my mates and we were falling off all over the place. It went from bad to worse and none of us were happy. When they had finally put our home together again we drew lots to see who was going to get revenge and I drew the short matchstick (We found the matchsticks one winter causing an awful draft propping our roof up.)

A short while later I left the hive just in time to see a person in white leaving our apiary. I gave them a few quick buzzes round the head trying hard to keep just behind them. It worked quite well until they started clapping their hands together in a vain attempt to squash me. I withdrew and waited until they had gone a few yards, watching from a distance. They undid their veil and slid it off. HA HA! In I went again and this time they ran for it waving their hands crazily round their heads. They made it through the back door of the house. I retired to a nearby gutter for a quick drink of water.

As time went by various people left the house, the dog went for a wander, the children played with a ball and the dog. Someone hung some lovely white sheets on the washing line which I took great delight in marking with some nice brown spots. And then, just as I was about to give up I saw a head appear from behind the door. I recognised them instantly. They took one, two, three steps out and I went for the kill, straight up the left nostril. Was it worth dying for? You bet! Maybe next time they will let the light into our home a little less quickly, warn us with a little puff of smoke so that we can stick our heads in some food and start eating before they gently lift us out for a look and gently put us back. By the time we have stopped eating it will all be over. Too full to be angry.

And then I get the queen’s thoughts pop into my head.

I have laid another thousand eggs today and you know what? I’m going on strike. I am not going to lay a single egg for a few weeks to see how that makes them feel. We are running low on stores anyway so it seems like a good time for a rest.

A few days passed and all my eggs are now larvae. And then what happens? Some busybody puts a frame of eggs and young larvae right into the middle of my home. The girls look at me! (Shall we build queen cells?) you better not I mutter. Before you know it a wire cage is pushed into one of my frames with a strange queen in it. Didn’t they get the hint with those eggs? If I was feeling that old I would have let them usurp me but I was just having a rest. No! Don’t touch her, let her be for the moment. I will have her when she comes out. And so I did. Oh well! Back to work. Another thousand eggs a day and I hope they spent a fortune on the usurper.

And here I am, sat at home in front of my computer. A man expressing his view of how a female bee may think. Who knows how close to the truth I am? Does it matter? So often in this crazy world we live in, my bees bring a smile to my face and this is how my mind interprets life in a hive without knowing a thorax from a compound eye! If it works for me…..