Our beekeeper, Julia Common, of Hives for Humanity, stopped by to check on our resident honey bees. She wanted to make sure they are happy in their new home and to give Co-op members the opportunity to learn more about our busy friends.
She started off by preparing us all to get a closer look by providing veils and got the smoker ready.
The smoke had such a pleasant odor already but Julia said that she sometimes adds lavender to the mix. I’m not sure if that’s to help the bees relax, but it sure would help newbie beekeepers feel more zen as they breathe in its calming effect. We have a ton of lavender growing in the garden next to the hive so we’ll have plenty on hand just in case.
Beekeeping: Safety First
Julia provided a few veils for the littlest of beekeepers to keep them safe and build confidence.
And although Julia took precautions to dress appropriately herself, she was gloveless, which inspired some whose curiosity got the best of them to get up close and personal with our resident honey bees.
The Bees Don’t Mind, But…
Whenever we tend to the bees we must keep safety at the forefront of our minds. This means wearing the appropriate clothing and footwear, (stepping on a dead bee can still result in a sting) and attending with a calm attitude and intention. As I mentioned in my previous article, bees can sense intention. It’s best not to mess with the bees.
Having said that, our honey bees didn’t seem to mind that we were there. They were busy doing what bees do. The Queens, (we have two hives, thus two Queens) have already laid thousands of eggs since they came to us nearly two weeks ago. Her drones and worker bees have been calmly going about their business tending to her, foraging and building the hive. The fact that there were so many humans peering into their colonies didn’t affect them at all. But, as we are learning, it’s best not to take that for granted.
It was truly an amazing experience to help Julia take apart the hive as she looked for the elusive Queens. I wasn’t surprised by my willingness to get up close, but there were a few kids, of which I have no photos because of course I was busy with the bees, who were really brave and willing to get their ungloved hands in there too.
Bee Body Heat
Those that were standing close by the beehives were offered the opportunity to feel the warmth emanating from the entrance hole to experience the heat that 25,000 bee bodies generate. I have to admit that being so close in this way and to feel their body heat was exhilarating. As I placed my hand practically on top of their little bodies, I couldn’t help but feel small myself. That might seem an odd thing to say, but when you see how sophisticated this bee operation is, you can’t help but develop a profound respect for these intelligent creatures that are so critical to our own well being on this earth.
These Bees are a Zen Lot
This bunch of New Zealander honeybees really is a zen lot. This affords us a privileged opportunity to observe them close up and to marvel at the wonderous work our bees are doing and how much their presence has already impacted the neighbourhood. We have raspberry bushes on both our rooftop gardens that produced a pitiful amount of berries the past two years. But yesterday, I spied early fruit all over each of those same bushes. It seems the bees are happy they are there too. Raspberries for everyone!
Bees Have Feelings Too
At the conclusion of Julia’s visit she said that she couldn’t be happier at how our bees are faring in their new home. The fact that they have been so busy in the short time they’ve been with us building the hives, with the Queens reproducing steadily and the calmness with which the bees go about their work speaks volumes as to how the bees are feeling.
I am happy to announce that our bees love their village life. And who wouldn’t really? Life in the Olympic Village truly is the bees knees. Right from the bees’ mouths.
Thank you for reading.
Did you enjoy reading about our bees? I write about other cool stuff too. Stay tuned by signing up to receive freshly published content about twice a week. If you already are a subscriber, thanks for coming back. You’re awesome!
I”ve been nominated as a Vancouver Mom Top 30 Mom Blogger! Go on over to the site and vote for me, starting May 27th, 2013. I would be so chuffed if you did!