Parley-voo BeekSpeak?

BeekSpeak – Beekeeping Riddles Explained

As a modern linguist (but sadly sans proboscis), I sometimes feel that the great British public (which I shall refer to as the gBp in future, for the sake of brevity) deserves a bit of help in understanding the peculiar lexicon of beekeepers.

To bridge that gap, Apis would like to offer a beginner’s guide to BeekSpeak (which I shall refer to as BS in future – again, for the sake of brevity). So here’s a handy primer: each section has 3 categories:

What the beekeeper SAYS:
What the beekeeper MEANS:

So let’s start with this example of BS:

BS SAYS : If you have three beekeepers in a room, you will have at least 5 opinions.
BS MEANS: We really haven’t the faintest idea what we’re talking about, most of the time.
gBP UNDERSTANDS: Gosh, this beekeeping lark must be really complicated! 

Got it ? Right, off we go:

BS SAYS : I’m so lucky that my bees don’t have varroa!
BS MEANS: I haven’t checked my bees for varroa.
gBP UNDERSTANDS: With all that talk about the dreaded varroa mite, this must be a genius beekeeper!

BS SAYS : Well, I’ve had the bees a while now, but I haven’t found the Queen yet.
BS MEANS: I’m praying that there’s a Queen in the middle of that lot, somewhere!
gBP UNDERSTANDS: Hmmm, perhaps this beekeeper should buy the Daily Mail – she’s always in there!

BS SAYS : It’s all about the bees – I really don’t care about the honey.
BS MEANS: For some reason, my bees swarm every year, so there’s never any honey.
gBP UNDERSTANDS: Behold! A true eco-warrior beekeeper!

BS SAYS : Colony losses were high for everyone last year.
BS MEANS: And I think that mine were wiped out by a mutant, bee-guzzling Santa around Christmas!
gBP UNDERSTANDS: Every day we hear about the plight of the honeybee. Hang on in there!

BS SAYS : I’m thinking about taking the British Beekeepers Association basic bee-exam next year.
BS MEANS: But only if I win the Lottery and become President of the United States of America first.
gBP UNDERSTANDS: This is the second genius beekeeper I’ve met today !

BS SAYS : I’ve been quoted in the Standard saying: “Hives should not be higher than a two-storey house.”
BS MEANS: I hate rooftop beekeepers and they keep running off with all the honey prizes!
gBP UNDERSTANDS: Better not go shopping for honey in Fortnum’s then, their hives are on the 6th floor!

BS SAYS : I write a bee-blog, which you might find interesting….
BS MEANS: Because writing about bees is easier than the actual beekeeping.
gBP UNDERSTANDS: So writing about bees must be easier than actually doing the beekeeping.

But that enough BS from me. I hope that you yourself may become fluent in BeekSpeak one day. And let’s face it: BS is already more widely spoken internationally than Esperanto ever was.

6 Replies to “Parley-voo BeekSpeak?”

    1. Freddie the Cat (in the picture) will only communicate in Caterwaul: Fortunately, I have a smattering of Caterwaul from my MML Tripos module, so I asked him. This is what he said:

      FREDDIE SAYS: I am at peace sharing the earth’s bounty and boundless love with my humans, my dogs and my bees.
      FREDDIE MEANS: With these 50,000 new bee recruits, my plans for global domination are advancing well. Purrrr !
      gBp UNDERSTANDS: They say that dogs and cats have owners…but bees have staff !

  1. Ah yes, some recognisable items of BS there. In particular the ‘anti-rooftop beekeeping’ brigade – tend to enjoy wildflower meadows and have incredibly short term memories!

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