It was a beautiful, sunny December 18th at the bee hive and the girls were excited it being the week before Christmas. A beekeeper from Hornby Island dropped by and was surprised the ladies were so active on this cool 7 degree Celsius day (44 fahrenheit). I explained that they were city bees and they had a lot of last minute Christmas shopping to do.
Penny, from the Natural Beekeeping Trust of the United Kingdom says "Traditionally, Christian beekeepers have visited their colonies at midnight on Christmas Eve to tell the bees of the nativity. They also hoped to hear the special melodious humming that the bees were said to perform at this time, portending health and prosperity throughout the coming year. It was thought that this custom was predated by an earlier pre-Christian one when the return of the sun was by no means guaranteed!"
|The girls getting ready for Christmas|
Silently on Christmas Eve,
the turn of midnight's key;
all the garden locked in ice -
a silver frieze -
except the winter cluster of the bees.
Flightless now and shivering,
around their Queen they cling;
every bee a gift of heat;
she will not freeze
within the winter cluster of the bees.
Bring me for my Christmas gift
a single golden jar;
let me taste the sweetness there,
but honey leave
to feed the winter cluster of the bees.
Come with me on Christmas Eve
to see the silent hive -
trembling stars cloistered above -
and then believe,
bless the winter cluster of the bees.
Please visit http://www.operationbee.com/actnow/banpesticides.html and sign the petition to the United Nations to ban neonicotinoid pesticides (http://strathconabeekeepers.blogspot.com/2011/10/insecticides-and-bees.html) and protect our bees. Merry Christmas!