Zen & The Art Of Apis Mellifera Maintenance

Despite the hirsute and rough-hewn appearance of many motor-bikers, they have a legendary  attachment to the motorcycles which they ride. So it is with beekeepers (the “hirsute and rough-hewn” description only applies to the males of the species, obviously) and the deep affection which they have for their bees.

So when, for example, I was revving up the throttle of my lawnmower in front of my Suffolk beehives last weekend, I fell into an Easy Rider/beekeeper crossover meditation.

Mindful that the combination of low-ish temperatures (8C) and high winds can cause early Spring forager bees to struggle, often dipping into the grass just short of the hives, their abdomens heaving to replenish oxygen supplies, as they gather their strength for a final hop to the hive entrance, I was entering the Zen-like contemplation phase of mowing.

And suddenly. Here was one. Right in front of me, laden with yellow pollen saddle-bags on her rear legs, which flopped onto the grass in front of the whirring blades. I knew instinctively what I had to do.

I cut the engine. Controlled the mower skid. Dropped the handlebars and took out my IPhone. Put my head down into the grass. And a few, deep breaths later, she was homeward bound. Glorious.

See for yourself.

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