Early Morning Rituals

I’m leaving town this afternoon, and though I’ve arranged to have my roommate refill the feeders as needed I still went out to check on the bees before leaving. They seem to be working through the feed a bit slower than the first batch, which is just fine– all the pollen sacs I saw marching around the comb yesterday let me know the foragers are out doing their jobs, and the sugar-water’s moving to a supplementary role.

I absolutely treasure the fact that I’m keeping them in my backyard. I love being able to wander out around the beeyard at all hours, just to look. I don’t bother with the bee-suit when I go for these little checks, I just wander right up to and around the gate and they pay me no mind. The other night, during the first storm since getting them here, I went out well after dark to see how the rain sounded on the roofs of the hives. I thought that there might be a discernible patter, given the metal sheeting of the telescoping covers, but there wasn’t. It didn’t disappoint me, though– it is always nice to be out there, even for a few minutes.

I was awake early this morning, and well before sunrise I walked out to visit. It was rainy and cool, with little activity outside the hives. They wouldn’t normally be out and about at this hour, and I liked to imagine them all inside, keeping cozy throughout their early morning bee rituals.

Opening the hives yesterday was a lesson in all sorts of ways, but one of the things I really enjoyed was seeing how thoroughly the bees filled bee space, pressed together and traveling almost in clumps over and around the frames. Slide the frames away from one another, rather than lifting them straight out, and the bees cling to one another in strands across the space, still holding on to where they had so recently been pressed, even just one leg to another across the distance.

So I’m thinking about that on this unseasonably cold May morning, happy in the thought of their warmth, and admittedly a little jealous that their day gets to start later, warmer, and drier than my own.

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