Sunday, May 17

Bee Electricity

17th May
Until recently I’d dismissed our Maire (mayor) as a dreary sort of chap; hunched over, grey and lugubrious, he is renowned for his lack of interest in village issues. In the past when I have visited the Maire with the simplest request he has looked around anxiously for an exit and suggested that I return when his secretary is in.

Near our house there is a giant sequoia, it has been split by lightning and a large colony of honey bees live in it. Early in May masses of bees swarmed out of the sequoia and settled on a tree branch right outside our house. The Maire is a beekeeper, we would like a beehive in our garden, needing some advice I decided to give the man a go...

It turns out that bees are the electricity this man needs to function - when I told him about our swarm he was transformed, told me what the bees are up to, the conditions that they need to make a move* and offered to help me get a beehive set up in our garden. He didn’t want to use the swarm settled outside our house but he came over a few days later with a hive containing another wild colony that he had collected.

All we have to do now is work out a way to film them, drilling holes in the side of the hive to allow access to our lenses is on our job list (but we think that might upset them). The Director has insisted that we must film the bees this week. The holes must be drilled tonight…

*My shortened and very inexpert interpretation is that when the bee's nest gets too full, a queen (the queen thing is way to complicated for me to explain here) takes half the nest to look for a new home. They settle somewhere like the branch of a tree, all in a solid mass, while scouts go off looking at new housing possibilities reporting back to the swarm with information that they convey by means of a waggely dance. This can go on for days until a consensus is reached. In the middle of the day and when the weather is settled, they make their move to new premises.


  1. So now you've discovered the mayor's passion you've switched yourself into the local political pipeline?

  2. I am now branché as they say round here.

  3. Sometimes my home of just the four of us just seems too crowded and I dream about splitting in halves. Can a six year old and three year old go it alone?

    Plus, my kiddies are really good waggely dancers.

  4. Best of luck drilling the holes without disturbing the nest! Very interesting, bees are great...

  5. Borescope/endoscope camera?

  6. The bees are always big attraction for these political types, what with the honey and the royal jelly. How about filming them swarming all over the mayor?

  7. These days I find myself worried for the bees. I would do anything I could do to make them happy and safe. Maybe the spare room? Some appetizers! A comfy pillow?

  8. But when you got the mayor excited about getting bees did he know you just wanted to film them? He might consider that gross, and do everything in his power to stop your voyeurism.

  9. Wow
    Can a six year old and three year old go it alone?

    Sure they can - today's kids are overprotected, they'll thrive

    Eric - glad that you're a bee

    xl - Borescopes, endoscopes, horoscopes we've got the lot

    Mr Bananas
    How about filming them swarming all over the mayor?

    I do think he'd go for that

    Ms Wenham - What bees need to be happy and safe is less pesticide, apparently there's a report out showing that city bees are thriving better than their country cousins

    Gadj - The mayor is very aware of our intentions, he came to our autumn film show - actually I did think he disapproved until this episode.

  10. Lulu, you are the queen bee of my life. Part-time, anyway.

  11. Flipping bees always end up thinking my chimney could be a cosy home.

  12. I love the idea of bees communicating by waggling!

    There was an episode of The Apprentice where the candidates had to collect honey. It was very amusing :)

  13. Inky - I can cope with part-time queen bee-ness

    Scarlet - bees in your chimney sounds very uncomfortable, have you tried burning some of your essences up the flue?

    Ms Cake - Waggling is a common communication method - as you well know.

  14. Whoops Eric - I see that I forgot to type in the word 'Enthusiast' there

  15. ...Obviously - you are not a bee


Related Posts with Thumbnails