Wednesday, August 3, 2011

the bee's knees

i hope everyone had a lovely long weekend. mine was spent in the countryside, enjoying all that grey county has to offer. on monday i was lucky enough to catch jamie and his bees in all their glory. for someone who has never been stung by a bee, this was as close as i could stand to the bees without freaking out. the smoke may make them docile, but there are still hundreds of them flying around like drunk little soldiers. as you can see, first he smokes the hive, which i found out puts them into "fire mode" which initiates a feeding response in anticipation of possible hive abandonment due to fire. the smoke also masks alarm pheromones released by guard bees or when bees are squashed in an inspection. basically this confuses the bee's allowing jamie to work without triggering a defensive reaction. after the bees have been smoked, he removes the honey and it's placed into a metal tub which spins all of the honey out of the honeycomb. then he opens the hatch, strains and voila, you've got honey. he even let me take a jar home, and trust me, nothing tastes better than fresh honey spread on toast after a long day baking in the sun.

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