A swarm of honey bees appeared yesterday on our old walnut tree (the front yard tree house tree) and by dusk, a local bee keeper I had called came to box up the majority of them to take home to a new hive. There are still a few left this morning (see below) which she plans to return to fetch this morning.
A bee swarm becomes an amazing single-minded organism of thousands of individuals intent on one purpose: survival of the queen to establish a new home for her safety and security, thus ensuring survival for all. I am grateful they stopped off here at this farm for a bit of a respite, and wish them well under the nurture of a gentle apiarist who, for forty years, has loved, respected and honored bees by working for their well-being.
A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.
-An Old English Ditty
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
~William Butler Yeats, The Lake Isle of Innisfree
Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.
~Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine
When the air is wine and the wind is free
and the morning sits on the lovely lea
and sunlight ripples on every tree
Then love-in-air is the thing for me
I’m a bee,
I’m a ravishing, rollicking, young queen bee,
I wish to state that I think it’s great,
Oh, it’s simply rare in the upper air,
It’s the place to pair
With a bee.
If any old farmer can keep and hive me,
Then any old drone may catch and wife me;
I’m sorry for creatures who cannot pair
On a gorgeous day in the upper air,
I’m sorry for cows that have to boast
Of affairs they’ve had by parcel post,
I’m sorry for a man with his plots and guile,
His test-tube manner, his test-tube smile;
I’ll multiply and I’ll increase
As I always have–by mere caprice;
For I am a queen and I am a bee,
I’m devil-may-care and I’m fancy free,
Love-in-air is the thing for me,
Oh, it’s simply rare
In the beautiful air,
And I wish to state
That I’ll always mate
With whatever drone I encounter,
All hail the queen!
~E.B. White from “Song of the Queen Bee” published in the New Yorker 1945
One can no more approach people without love than one can approach bees without care. Such is the quality of bees…
The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
~Henry David Thoreau
…The world was really one bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places.
Don’t be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you.
Still, don’t be an idiot; wear long sleeves and pants.
Don’t swat. Don’t even think about swatting.
If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates while whistling melts a bee’s temper.
Act like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t.
Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved.
~Sue Monk Kidd
Such bees! Bilbo had never seen anything like them.
“If one were to sting me,” He thought “I should swell up as big as I am!
~J.R.R. Tolkien from The Hobbit
When the bee comes to your house, let her have beer; you may want to visit the bee’s house some day.