Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day #48 The Family History of Bees?

Bees don't need genealogy. When 80,000 bees in the hive are all sisters and have the same mother and won't be having children themselves, it seems a little silly to chart them.

I suppose serious bee breeders like to know where their queens come from. I'll be buying a particularly gentle breed of bees next Spring, and I suppose I'm glad the H&L Bee Farm people know what they're doing, but the bees themselves couldn't care less.

They know when a queen is failing -- not laying enough eggs -- and they get rid of her and create a new queen. Then the new one flies off and mates with whatever drones she finds in the drone-gathering place. Those drones have congregated from miles around -- no telling what their genetics are.

So, after a while, my H&L gentle bees will probably evolve into their own little family with traits that I might not have counted on when I got the original batch. That's life, folks. And it's a logical consequence of "natural beekeeping," letting the bees what they do naturally. Come to think of it, the new queen might mate with drones that are even gentler. Wouldn't that be great?

I've read in several bee books that if an undesirable trait (such as bloodthirstiness?) crops up, it's my job as a bee-keeper to isolate the queen and - - - gulp! - - - squoosh her. I don't know if I'd be able to do that. Hopefully I've never have to find out.

If I do -- you'll read about it here, and you'll just have to imagine the tearsdrops spotting the page.

For now, though, all is well on Frannie's back deck. Of course, there aren't any bees there yet.

BEEattitude for Day # 48:
       Blessed are those who let well enough alone, for they have have a much simpler life. 

One thing Fran is grateful for right now:
       My granddaughter who called me on Thanksgiving Day. Remembering our conversation lightens my heart. 

[All photos are from the public domain unless noted otherwise.]

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