The 'bee lady' came the other day for the first time. Lee - or Leigh? Such a nice person. She wanted to check the hive for possible disease, introduce a new Queen and remove some of the honey built up at the hive's previous location.
I know nothing about bee keeping so it was an opportunity to ask beginners' questions like "what does the smoke do?" (answer, subdues the bees) and "what do I do if I get stung?" (as I was, twice, in the head - answer, wait and see if you get an allergic reaction. I didn't, but it felt like one of those 'yeah, right' moments!). Apparently women make good bee keepers. They are gentle.
The new Queen came in a little, plastic container. I missed the removal of the old Queen and am not sure what happened to her. An ousting. Lee pointed out the bees arriving back at the hive, their little legs heavy with pollen - some yellow, some cream. I wondered if the cream pollen came from the Tree Lucerne or Tagasaste, currently in full flower and a favourite of the kereru.
There is much about the honey-making process that I don't yet understand. What intrigues me is that 40,000+ creatures can interact within such a small space, act beneficially in the environment and produce a desirable, natural product. Much we humans could learn from that! I wonder what it must be like when all 40,000 are in residence - at night or during the snow. Snug and warm no doubt.
A week or so after Lee's visit I spent the evening trying to remove a bee sting from Tabby's nose! I think it was a sting. The proximity of the bees is going to cause some problems - especially in summer when doors and windows are open and the house is added to the fly-zone!