Bees reach out for help, and sometimes we must just listen.
Four years ago in the spring I finished taking bee school from our local Buncombe County Bee Chapter. Andrew and I bought boxes, put them together, painted them with some biogeometric friendly designs, made a bee area (I found where the bees would be most healthy by dowsing), encircled it with electric fence (to keep the bears honest), and ordered our bees. I and other bee-keeping friends traveled to Georgia to pick up our bees a week later. Upon arrival home, Andrew put the new boxes into their bee space, while my friend Krys took pictures of the whole event. The pictures that night showed a huge benevolent force (our first recognition of orbs) hovering behind Andrew as he welcomed our new insect friends onto our urban permaculture site.
Auspicious beginnings. Each evening as the bees would settle in for the night, I would go out and sing them a little song of welcome—bee bonding I guess.
Over the years since, we have had a swarm take off—MAGICAL—and we have split a hive that was going to swarm making three hives out of two. We have extracted some of the honey, and made some choices about feeding, and not medicating, etc., based on our feeling of wanting to keep them (who's keeping whom?) as natural as possible—as we steward our property organically and biodynamically. Our hope was to invigorate our acre with more beneficial life, bringing more pollinators onto our soil to work for us on our fruit orchard and gardens. We have truly enjoyed the golden presence and magic of these bees.
Now the story:
A month or more ago in mid-summer, it seemed the bees were uneasy. They seemed more aggressive than usual and would buzz us with an occasional sting. We thought that maybe a new queen was a little different and was raising a hybrid bee strain that had this streak. One day I was taking a little siesta on the grass down by the studio, and a bee came down there unprovoked and stung me right between the nostrils. Yeow! It got my attention! Within 24 hours, Andrew was out mowing, away from the hive, and another bee stung him right between his nostrils. For those into Chinese medicine, the point where we were both were stung was Governing Vessel 26—a point for restoring consciousness. It awoke us to the possibility that they were trying to communicate to us.
We decided to go into the hives. We suited up, and went into the West Hive. We spotted a queen, and everything looked good. The Middle Kingdom Hive looked good as well. The Eastern Hive, on the other hand, had a disturbed buzz about it. We could not find a queen, and there was no evidence of eggs or new brood, or any queen cells for making a new queen. This hive was in dire straits, and at this stage in the process could not make a new queen, THE HIVE WOULD DIE.
They needed our help. Andrew selected some frames of brood and young egg cells from our other hives, and placed them into the Eastern Hive. Immediately the sound changed to a more peaceful hum. We replaced the roof, and stepped away. In sixteen days we would know.
In about three weeks we could see bees with pollen on their legs entering the Eastern Hive—a sign that the beeswere feeding the young'ens.
It means that a queen had been raised, had mated, and had started laying. The hives are calm again. We have gathered some honey and left enough for the bees' winter, and the bees are now collecting Aster and Goldenrod nectar to supplement their own winter stores. All is well.
Source: personal email
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