Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I have a beehive! Well not really 'mine' as such. I suppose I am renting it. The man who sells honey at the Opawa Farmers' Market will put a hive on your property for an annual fee. He and his partner service the hive and extract the honey (guaranteed 10 kilos) which comes to the 'renter'. I have always been interested in bees and honey; always loved to buy different sorts of local honey when travelling around New Zealand. I saw getting a hive as a way to learn more about the process and to benefit the local gardens - as well as to harvest the honey. The bee keepers will supply protective gear if their customers want to be involved in the honey extraction - I definitely do.

My hive arrived on the Friday evening preceding the weekend of the first big snow. I couldn't understand why the bee man would bring the hive in the dark to an unknown and steeply-sloping property. Lesson #1 - bees are better resettled in the dark. Then it snowed - and snowed. On the Monday morning there were all these little dead bee-bodies lying in the snow! I felt responsible and negligent. Lesson #2. There are 40,000 bees, give or take, in this hive and they have short lifespans. This is the way of the bee world. In the absence of snow I wouldn't get to see the dead bees.

Since then the bees seem to have settled in well. They are most active when the sun is on the hive - then there are dozens of bees exiting, entering and circling. I'm enjoying their busy presence. I'm not so sure how summer guests will find this. I had imagined the hive located well down the garden, out of harm's way (harm to visitors that is). But the bee man wanted it to be accessible - and so it is in the turning bay, very close to the front deck with its outdoor table and chairs. We'll see.

At my request, family and close friends gave me a contribution towards the beehive in lieu of a birthday gift. I guess they are like 'shareholders' in the hive and I will look forward to sharing the honey with them in late summer.


  1. awww dead buzzies. If you see fatty big bees hanging around the front, they're the drones. You can pick them up and give them a kiss if you like. They won't sting. :)

  2. Oh----I am so jealous---love the idea of the bees---such a virtuous thing to do for the earth---and two very interesting lessons. Keep us posted---especially when you begin servicing the hive yourself! I'm curious about the reason for the colors of the drawers, if they are drawers.

    And LOL to Niki---only she would think of kissing the drones:-) How about a photo of that, Niki?

  3. Hahaha - spot on Deb, only Niki would think of that!! I don't know about the colours - did think it would be nice if they were brighter but hives here all seem to be those sorts of colours...

    A friend who read the post emailed the following...

    'XXXX [her partner's] reaction when I mentioned that the hives were near your deck was to muse on whether putting a beehive next to an allergic neighbour's boundary would be a perfect crime.'

  4. hehe I may live to regret my comment! :)

    The pastel colouring might be so the hive blends in with its surroundings. And the different colours could represent what each box is used for. Like the bottom colours could be the brood boxes, then the bees' food box. The top boxes might have new frames waiting for the bees to build on and fill with honey for you :) Sometimes if there are lots of hives they will be painted different colours or patterns so the bees know which are theirs.

  5. It never occurred to me that the bees might recognise colour - but of course they must do. Flowers put on their brightest colours to attract bees. I have a lot to learn. Thanks Niki :-)

  6. Fascinating---all of it---you have clever friends--