Thursday, 24 May 2007

Honeybees on the High Street

I collected a swarm of honeybees today in the High Street. Our Alex rang at three to say there were bees collecting on the sign of the Panda Gardens restaurant. I grabbed my gear and ten minutes later I was up a ladder scooping the bees into a cardboard box. It was dramatic. There was a crowd. Alex was grinning. It wasn’t that easy. The ladder was high, and a kind gentleman held it below, with bees raining on his head. The bees did not plop into the box, as they do when you tap them off a branch. They flew around madly, and some are still there on the sign this evening. And I dropped the box; it thudded on the pavement but the bees stayed in, loyal to their queen.

I love bees, am in love with them. I took up beekeeping 15 years ago and when I first lifted the lid off a hive was blown away by the energy that came out - pure love it seemed to me. I can smell how bees feel - and they sense how I feel. I’m pretty allergic to bees, though, and swell up when stung. Last Friday I took a dozen stings on unprotected ankles, taking honey off in stormy weather, and spent the weekend on the sofa. Tonight, at dusk, I plopped the bees from the box into a hive in the middle of the woods I caretake. Birds and bees and trees and flowers; being a beekeeper, making these movements; I am a native, living in heaven on earth.
Sussex Beekeepers Association

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