Smart daughters

Bees arriving

Linwood Davis, Jr and I introducing bees into their new home on my deck. Spraying them with sugar water so they are happy and distracted (same thing, i think).

Nature is not out to kill us. The current virus that looks like a crown is a mean sucker perfectly tuned to exploit our human fault lines. It is happy to find us with foolishly fragile global supply lines, unfunded public health infrastructure, and eating pangolins. None of these were ever good ideas, which we see now.

Each generation gives the next one a chance at life when grown-ups do the mundane things that hold us together. This is how the Center Holds (against Yeats). This is the name of a new podcast series about the greatest drama of our time–(public health). The podcast is a collaboration of Stakeholder Health (mostly hospitals), Public Health Law Network and…..theater professionals. In a crisis, leadership is more than normal chattering; we need to cast our voice way better. You’ll listen to Lauren Gunderson and Scott Burris of Temple School of Law make each other smarter, and they were both really smart already. (click here).

Meanwhile, nature gives another Carolina Springtime, marked in our family by the arrival of 36,000 daughters. They came Saturday morning from John Pledger of Triad Bee Supply, who brought 300 boxes of them up from North Georgia to local NC (3,600,000 million little ladies). Our three boxes became two hives, each of which has its own queen cleverly marked with a little florescent dot so we can find her. She buzzes in Italian, as she’s a hybrid developed to be very gentle. She traveled in her own queen cage along with 6 attendants to care for her until the other workers can chew their way through a candy plug and set her free. The picture below is of one of Linwood Davis, Jr’s queens.  We have matching hives, like good friends do.

Bee lindwood's queenThe queen was fertilized by some anonymous drone in North Georgia, which happens. My books mention “an audible pop,” followed by the happy drone falling dead on the ground. This got my attention. Once free, our queen will go to laying 2,000 eggs a day so the hive can gather nectar and pollen and make honey.

So when do you get your honey, you ask? My local bee teachers tell me not to harvest any the first year unless they have really visited every flower within 3 miles. I’m not very patient, so am hoping for a least some this year. Neighbors get first dibs as they had to endure the first day with a lot of bees in our townhouse cove. Not bad as bad me in my cycle outfit, but still quite a sight.

I did get one sting when I tripped and smushed one of the girls. I didn’t blame her.

Bee day 1

The “bee bus” is open, so now the bees can enter the hive, drawn by the queen. It wasn’t actually that easy, but by dusk they all had settled in.

I’ll open the hive in a few days to make sure the queen got out of her cage okay. And then in another week to make sure she’s gone to laying the eggs. After that, I’ll check about once a month. If you want to come visit on one of those occasions, let me know. Bees are good at keeping humans at social distance.

About the time the honey-making rolls, the COVID will peak and then recede. Millions of lives and entire industries, will have suffered enormous damage in ways we can’t quite imagine yet. The bees make it through this kind of thing by working seamlessly, making hard choices with everyone doing thousands of mundane things right, one at a time.

Bees don’t poop in the hive. My many bee books told me so; but actually learned it looking up through the sunroof of my Mini Cooper. It is parked right below the new hives, which makes a nice target. Honeybees only live a few months—not much different than us humans in the big scheme of things. They find humor  amid their work. Good tip.

Bee pickup

Here’s how you distribute 3,600,000 bees. John Pledger is the thoughtful man in yellow. Triad Bee Supply

About garygunderson

Vice President, Faith Health, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC. Author, Leading Causes of Life, Deeply Woven Roots, Boundary Leaders and Religion and the Heath of the Public. Secretary, Stakeholder Health (Health Systems Learning Group).
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1 Response to Smart daughters

  1. Gerald Winslow says:

    I’ve got to get back to being an beekeeper!

    Smart bees, and smart blog.

    And I also must get to the podcasts.

    Thanks,

    Jerry

    >

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