But the last time I opened this one particular hive they were very aggressive. Nothing I could do about it. I just had to give them time, smoke them a lot, and pretty much leave them along. The hive was stressed and I could feel it. Not stressed because of me but because of other reasons. It happens for a wide variety of things.
Well, we recently opened that hive up to take a look (in the middle of winter) and it was dead. The bees curled up into a large mass in one corner of the hive and just ceased to be.
It had an effect on me - to just look at them dead and curled up in the corner. Part of this must be my fault. Was I not a good steward? Part of this is other factors. Hives get old, the queen gets old, she can't lay enough eggs. Hives die all the time. But I still felt awful.
The thing about a beehive is that it is a living thing. It is difficult to describe. It is not a single bees. It is not a collection of thousands of bees. It is a hive of bees. A thing living unto itself - a presence and a life. The collective of thousands of bees make a single thing, a single presence and it can be felt as such. The bees become a single entity.
Hmmm... After reading that I think to myself "maybe I am a bee whisperer?" But I know that if you raised bees you would feel it too. It really isn't me. I just move slowly and think positive thoughts.
So, I say goodbye to that hive and thank you for the gift of your honey.
I do have lots of stuff about bees, honey and mead on my website. Including pictures and videos: Bees, Honey and Mead