It, One Human Beeing, didn’t begin out of love for honey,
or not even for the love of bees, but all that soon followed…
Initially, it was with a scientific bent that I became interested in honey bees. The documented plight of bees, with declining numbers globally, seemed a puzzle to be solved. Motivated by curiosity and concern, I began my quest several springs ago deciding to observe and learn about bees’ behavior first-hand.
When I expressed an interest in starting a colony with the goal of creating an optimal habitat, my beekeeping benefactors were more than enthusiastic. John and John Sr. had been “doing bees” for decades. Long before there was a bee saving movement, they had been hooked by the Zen-like experience of caring for the dutiful nectar-gatherers. By the following day’s end, father and son had hand-delivered a complete apiary kit; brood boxes, supers, bee suit, veil, hive tool, and most importantly, an over-wintered queen bee—with about ten thousand honey bees in tow.
It was equally charming and intimidating as the living hive was rested in my backyard. Overnight, I had found myself at the base of a challenging learning curve, the hope being, my new little charges would recognize intent and forgive any fumbling bee keeping errors!
An Homage to the Honey Bee
Since first witnessing honey bees thriving within their systematic complex lives, and as I came to understand their intricate world of pollination, it was—humbling; a moment when the interconnectivity of species and resulting impact of cause and effect crystallized.
After having added several more hives to my humming community, I continue to evolve in bee tending practices, striving to mitigate colony stressors in caregiving while being ever respectful of the established order of a hive. The way in which these industrious little insects communicate, their efficacy in each appointed task—all for the proliferation of the colony, is a spellbinding study. Forthcoming, a study that has not been without incident; I have been stung, but each sting has been a lesson in rhythm and awareness, countered by the many pleasing times enjoying solitude in the quiet of the day by their side.
So here I am, captivated in admiration like my mentors, unable to shake the beckoning lull of this peaceful group of pollinators. Season after season, bees, as a group, do what they know so well. After the harshest of Northern Hemisphere winters, they emerge expectantly, hungry and hopeful searching for their first meal. Beautifully, in their quest, they contribute an irreplaceable component to the planet's food system. While sustaining their own lives, they sustain ours.
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