Bee Calm-the curious calming effect of beekeeping

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Tonight, I was overwhelmingly tired after working an eleven hour day – that particular kind of fibromyalgia exhaustion and pain that makes me wonder if my skin has sloughed off under my shirt.  I cried on the drive home just thinking about walking from the car to the house and the inevitable chores that would follow once inside.  Bedtime was still a few hours away and though it was 8pm, I hadn’t even eaten.

The weather had turned warm again, and I could hear the chicks waiting at the backdoor.  It is hard to be too tired to pet still fluffy chicks who want to snuggle up to your warm body.  And since I’d made it outside, I wondered what the bees had been up to.

Their feeder was empty of tea, which added another (albeit relatively pleasant) chore to the evening.  I also wanted to check the (previously) empty bar  next to the last substantial comb and see what they had gotten accomplished in two days.  This is what it looked like two days ago (flipped downside up)

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Just a couple of bees checking out the bar.

Here is what it looked like tonight when I lifted it up just a few inches (looking down into the hive — too many bees to flip it over!):

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I didn’t want to disturb them too much since it was cold, but they were clearing getting busy. The bar seemed empty of comb so far, though it was hard to tell without pulling it all the way out. I am guessing there was something started under those little bodies! This was one of the bars without a wax starter on it so maybe it takes a little longer for them to get going, I don’t know.

As I pulled the bar away from the neighboring bars, the bees (who seemed to be clumped together) pulled away from their neighbors in strings of bees clinging to one another several deep and several inches long.  This is called “festooning” and it means they are ready to build comb.  YAY!

I replaced the bars, had a brief, up close meet-and-greet with a couple curious little sisters and shut the roof for the night. As I walked back to the house with a lighter step, I realized my breathing had returned to normal (stress, allergies and pain was making me wheeze) and my pain had subsided to a duller roar. Best of all – opening a bottle of wine actually sounded like more enjoyment than work!

Bee calm, indeed.


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