Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Love's Labours Not Lost

I'm stumped.  How does an "intelligent" (all those millions of brain cells are surely doing something) human being describe with any accuracy at all the work of a honey bee?  This is the most difficult blog I've written to date.  I want you to see the perfection, the art, the wisdom, the accuracy, the beauty of this monument of honeybee handiwork.  But there are no witty words or cleverly turned phrases that will stand and honor what I see. Words compared to their wax sculpture are awkward, clumsy and without elegance.

The comb was fastened to the top-bar on this lower edge.
A few partially filled chambers are waiting for more honey
 before being sealed.

The hexagon is totally efficient--no waste space and maximum strength.

You can see the precise placement of the cells on the
backside of this comb perfectly aligned for strength.

Each empty cell is reinforced with propolis at its rim to strengthen
the overall structure and to act as a microbial for the contents of the cells.

Cross section of the broken edge of the comb and
the thinner-than-paper walls. 

The cells with the smallest holes have the most
 honey--nearly ready to be capped.

This comb came from a top-bar hive that my sister and I share.  She is the tender of the hive since it lives in her back yard.  In routine maintenance the other day, this section of comb broke from its bar.  I've already put in a call to Susan, our bee support person, to find out if the bees can or will recycle this wax.* (See her blog "Honey Bee Garden"at It's the most important of The Things I get to do today.  With winter coming soon, we do not want their labor of love to be lost.

*Post Script:  Susan says the bees will be fine without this comb.  We should eat the little dribble of honey and save the wax for candles.  Come to think of it, if the focused efforts of thousands of bee hours are put into a bright flame, nothing has been lost. 

**Post, post script:  Found out today that we can stitch the comb back onto the top bar.  Will let you know how it goes.

1 comment:

  1. where was that queen, "eating bread and honey"? clearly her priorities were better than the king's who was "counting out his money"! perfection again, oh queenly one!