Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day #165 A Gentle Approach to Beekeeping

I found yet another good beekeeping book and have been entranced with the philosophical attitude of the author. Ross Conrad wrote Natural Beekeeping: organic approaches to modern apiculture to put together in one book all the information it took him years to accumulate as he was mentored by various beekeepers.

That’s one great thing about beekeepers. There’s no such thing as too many bees, and every beekeeper I’ve spoken to has been delighted to share information with me.

Here’s a gem I found in the first chapter:

“The honey bee inspires me to work into my daily life this lesson: that we should take what we need to live in the world in such a way that we give something back and improve upon things, thus making the world a better place.”
                       --Ross Conrad

He said that when he went into the bee yard with no protective clothing on, he had to adjust his attitude to one of ease and grace so as not to alarm the bees. When he did that—when he was careful not to hurt them or frighten them—they responded gently to his presence. But when he went in there suited up as if he were afraid of an attack, he was less careful, ended up hurting bees through his inattention, and consequently was stung as the bees reacted to his carelessness.

That made me glad about my bee-clothing choices. I do think I’ll be more comfortable with a veil on at first. But with my long-sleeved white shirt and long white pants (the ones I bought at Good Will several months ago), I think I’ll be just fine. I haven’t bought any gloves, because when I had a chance to remove that frame from Rob Alexander’s hive a couple of weeks ago, I needed all the dexterity available—and that would not have been possible with gloves. I would have been accidentally squashing bees right and left, releasing those attack pheromones that indicate a threat to the hive. No wonder some beekeepers get stung a lot.

BEEattitude for Day # 165:
       Blessed are those who approach the hive as if they were on our side, for we shall respond to them gently.

One thing Fran is grateful for right now:
       The half-barrel I’m going to grow my morning glories in.  

And Cowan's Book Nook in East Ellijay, GA, where I'll be signing my books today. Stop by and say hello -- and buy some books (no matter who wrote them!) 

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