I’ve been obsessed with bees and did a solid year of research on bees. I looked at mythos, folklore, biology, politics, misogyny, anti-beekeeping, poetry, literature, global trade, and anything that was remotely related to bees.
And now, I’m actually interacting with the real bees. Sometimes when I think of the ravages of capitalism, the raw mythological evil of Monsanto, and the hungry ghosts across the globe I feel so small. I don’t know how to stop these machines. I can, however, work on continuously divesting from these machines in baby steps. Hopefully I’ll have my first bee nucleus by the end of May. I won’t be using a Langstroff Hive like the adorable garden hive featured my my afternoon visiting and learning. I’m probably going to use a Warré box which is bee-centered rather than beekeeper-centered.
Industrialized honey is a disaster for many reasons and the laboratory artificial insemination process of the queen bee almost gave me nightmares. Pesticides are killing bees & butterflies, our pollinators, and they’re poisoning our farm workers and their children. The water wells in agricultural lands are being declared officially unsafe for consumption where crops are grown. We’ve turned the idea of organic agriculture from a human, earth, and animal rights mandate for industry into a signifier for wealth. The fight for organic agriculture standards IS a battle for human rights. I think shaming an individual for not being able to afford organic food is wrong, demanding that organic standards be used in industrial farming for farm worker safety is imperative.
Excited to have honey and beeswax to share with my community time bank in a year’s time if I manage to keep my hive going.
Cool facts: swarming bees may look the scariest but are least likely to sting. Every sting is a fatality for a bee and a swarm cannot afford to decrease the population nor do they have a hive or babies to protect. Learning to catch a swarm is a great way to start a new hive.
Before a swarm, a queen starts a swarm cell inside the hive for the DNA of each drone she successfully mated with and those queens will duke it out for the role of the next matriarch. It’s common to see 10+ cells from her royal gangbang when she took the throne. Swarm time is determined when a queen has filled a hive to capacity with many daughters and a full honey supply. She’ll leave half of her hive behind to continue under a new matriarch and leaves with her flight to forge a new successful hive. It’s a brilliant way to keep disseminating strong genetics for each habitat.
Also: reading essays from dudebros throughout history INSISTING that there must be a king bee running the hive and not a pathetic female makes for the best hilarious feminist theory ever.