Sunshine and Bees

The sun has come out for the first time in what seems like months and the bees are bringing out their dead.  It’s been too cold for them to fly before now and I was beginning to wonder if they’d survived the winter. But the signs are good. A few bees from each colony off foraging and others lounging about in the sun. Clearing out the bees that have died off during the winter and fallen to the hive floor is one of the first jobs the colony tackles. It’s all a bit chaotic. You can see them struggling at the entrance, clambering over each other, pushing and shoving. What seems to happen is that a bee will come across a corpse and something will tell it the eject this useless bit of detritus from the hive. What this something doesn’t tell it is how to go about it. They seem to lack a gaffer bee who can say, Right, girls, listen up – let’s start with the ones at the front. It’s like trying to clear a warehouse full of fridges by picking one up from the back and trying to shove all the others out of the way in order to extract it.  This sort of benign chaos in the hive is immensely reassuring. I liked them much better when I discovered they don’t spend all their time working away for the good of the colony.   The truth is bees are pretty damn idle for much of the time. After working away at some vital task for about ten minutes they’ll just wander off.  They have a very short attention span. They spend a lot of time with their heads in empty cells just waving their legs about. This is almost exactly what I do. Which may be why we get on.

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One Response to Sunshine and Bees

  1. Pingback: First trip to the river in 2012 | Bees, Bread and Boats

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