The Secret Life of Bees

Don’t put your eye up there!

I can’t tell you about it, it’s a secret.  I can tell you its very cool.  Also, call me a Beeist, but if we all cooperated a little more like bees, our world would be a much “sweeter” place.

A few weekends ago, I spent the day with a local beekeeper and my friend Rajean.  Dan showed us all the parts of a beehive and how he cares for one of his colonies.  It was fascinating.  Did you know that bees don’t hibernate, they are busy all winter eating honey and keeping the hive a balmy 90+ degrees.  Also, Drone Bees don’t have stingers, their only purpose is to mate with the queen so they don’t come with any extra equipment.

Which leads me to my story of good intention parenting gone awry.  I had this glorious day learning all about this sophisticated society and all I could think about was, if it weren’t for the imminent danger, this would be great for Fletcher.  So being the “let’s learn something” mom I am, I dutifully collected samples to take home and share with my little knowledge vessel.  Honeycomb with and without honey in it, a dead worker bee, and a live drone bee.  (Remember the drone can’t sting so I wasn’t being reckless.)  When I got home all of them were sleeping so my little bee lesson had to wait.  When Fletch and I finally got to sit down and look at the treasures, everyone was outside playing.  Just after my introduction of the drone bee and Fletch’s subsequent freeing of the poor creature, one of his brothers needed attention.  I left the treasures on the table and hustled inside with a crying baby.  Wouldn’t you know it, I left that dead bee on the table and the first thing Fletch did was pick him up and get stung right on the tip of his finger.

Best lessons learned that day:

1. Yes, a dead bee can sting you.

2. No, you shouldn’t give one to your almost 5 year old as a play thing.

The colony we visited.

We look so confident, this is before the hives were opened

Into the hive

lots of bees

lots of honey

Rajean with the bees!

me with the bees

my drone


One thought on “The Secret Life of Bees

  1. Linda Steckley says:

    Arika –

    I kept this message from so many years ago because I, too, have great respect for bees and beekeepers. Just want to be sure you have seen the recent bee research showing that bees have a high level of intelligence and are trainable. They have been taught to roll a ball to a point of reward and actually to retrieve and play catch. Who knew?

    I have loved the story of the raising of your four wonderful boys and think of you so often

    With affection, Linda

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