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text and photos by Tara O'Brady
If you look into a hive there’s a mysterious order there, the combs alive with intentional activity.
When I think of honey bees, the first image conjured is that of childhood storybook illustration; of fat and fuzzy, buzzing bees, the sort I once described elsewhere as striped kumquats on wing.
Those in my mind are bees that would be at home about the words of A.A. Milne, keeping a plump bear merry company as he filled his “rumbling tumbly “ with honey from the hive.
The trouble is, that image of bees of my imagination, with them as foolish as Pooh Bear himself, is not one that the grants the honey bee the full credit it is due.
In reality, honey bees are much more enigmatic. In looks, they are slender, lanky almost, with an elongated abdomen and lacking the all-over furred appearance of the bumblebee. It’s as though they were streamlined with work in mind.
Honey bees, like stingless bees and bumblebees, are intensely organized, social creatures.If you look into a hive there’s a mysterious order there, the combs alive with intentional activity.
Then of course, there’s the honey.