I have fallen in love with bees. I must admit that I didn’t really think much about bees until the collapse and disappearance of bee colonies began in 2006. That was the beginning of my journey into the secret life of the hive.
In typical fashion for an artist I began reading about bees and creating art about bees, while toying with the idea of becoming a beekeeper. Finally in 2012 I took the plunge, built a topbar hive, got a swarm, and began the adventure of living with bees.
Though my two years of beekeeping have not been successful I plan to continue. The first year my hive got infected with wax moth worms which slowly destroyed the hive despite my best efforts to get rid of them without using chemicals. But even though the colony did not make it, while they were living and working they pollinated the veggies I had planted in my small backyard garden, giving me the best yield I’d ever had.
My bees from last summer were much stronger than the first hive but did not make it through the winter. I was so sad in February when I realized that the guard bees were gone and the bees flying in and out of the hive were robber bees from elsewhere. Checking the hive, I discovered that all the bees were dead.
It seems a bit odd to feel affection for these tiny little flying insects that sting but I have gotten attached to having them close by. I just love watching them fly around the hive in late afternoon when the sun glistens on their fluttering wings. They look like golden flying jewels. I love the sound of their buzzing and the smell of the hive. I love watching them stumble around the flowers likes drunken sailors, their little legs laden with heavy loads of yellow pollen. I love opening the hive and seeing their amazing organization and cooperation as they create and work their honey combs. And of course I love the sweet honey that they make, which hopefully one day I will be able to harvest.
You can read more about bees and our long relationship with bees and Bee Goddesses on my recent post on the Feminism and Religion blog site.