Monday, September 13, 2010
When my son-in-law said he was buying bee hives I thought he had absorbed too much glow from computers and medical science was going to make an example of him. “Are you kidding me, David? Where are you going to put them,” I asked, wondering what bees do when the owners go on vacation?
“In the back yard, of course,” he answered as if bees in the back yard was as normal as a dog. So he ordered the hives and once they were set up, the bees. Can you imagine being the UPS driver for that delivery?
I’ve learned bees are fascinating creatures with a very strict codes in the hive. Each bee’s duty is specific. All worker bees are female and can live 4 to 9 months in the winter but only 6 weeks in the busy summer. They literally work themselves to death. The drones are male bees kept on standby for the sole purpose of mating with a virgin queen. Because they have no use in the winter they are actually kicked out of the hive. Hmmm, interesting similarities to some species of mammals.
Bees collect pollen within a five mile radius and are responsible for 80% of all insect pollination. No wonder there’s concern over the decreasing number of honey bees. When David was setting up the hives the neighbors were impressed he was so environmentally aware. Actually, he was interested in the hobby and Jill really likes honey.
The exciting part of beekeeping is robbing the hive of the honey. I was David’s assistant in a recent robbery. My sole assignment was to puff the smoke over the bees to make them drowsy. After I saw how may bees we were dealing with, my second responsibility was to remain calm. The more bees I saw the faster I puffed.
Standing in the yard in my protective garb watching David remove the combs loaded with honey I was in awe and humbled. If God has such an intricate design for the honey bee how, much more has he considered his plans for me?