I ran through the protesters to my shed. If they could carry placards, they’d read:
Return what’s ours!
Our hives, our honey!
Beekeepers are criminals!
The buzzing is like a low rev of an engine. It’s October, it’s not even warm, where did all these bees come from? The meagre bit honey in the boxes in my shed isn’t even from their hives. I had taken a late, and not very successful, crop of ivy honey from a remote hive and after extracting it, I stacked the wet boxes in my shed. Ivy honey has a strong smell, even us humans can easily detect it from outside a hive. It’s also has great properties akin to Manuka. “Although results are preliminary, Overall initial indications show are that Irish Ivy honey has the potential value as a wound healing agent”
These are local bees zapping around annoyingly. “It’s not your honey.” I counter protest. They don’t care. They want it. None are trying to sting me, they are too busy flying in circles orientating before going home to tell their sisters where the goodies are.
I open the door and run in. There are as many bees inside as outside. Opportunists! I’d shake my fists at them but I too busy racing around trying to light my smoker. The matches are damp! I go back out through the group of protesters for a dry box of matches.
For once, my smoker quickly lights and billows beautiful smoke. “Cough, cough” I splutter as I puff. Bees buzz around me. Puff, Puff, PUFF! PUFF! Some left the party, more came in. I waft a bit of corry-board to distribute the smoke and strongly encourage them out the door with some success. When I stop waving my bit of board about, in they fly again dodging me with the expertise of an air display team.
I give in and take the wet boxes outside to let them clean them out. In a few minutes the few hundred bees became a thousand (not that I counted). Word travels fast. They’ll make short work of cleaning any residue of honey from the combs. Later the wasps will take over and finish off the remnants. The wax will be as dry as paper when they are all finished. I watch the feeding frenzy for a while and decide that I will melt the wax from these boxes to make a few nice beeswax candles.
Cover image by Andrew P Clarke (D2180s) – Transferred from en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7359632