People and Passion: Working with Honey Bees

When I go around looking for wisdom, I look for people who love what they do. This woman was one of them. She's basically my hero. She answers the calls of people to relocate honeybee swarms, help beekeepers to maintain their hives, and loving honeybees as I witness here. That one morning in Wilmington, Ohio was definitely one of the times I felt alive. The farm owner wasn't there. It's a hobby farm but also a wildlife sanctuary for quails that lost its habitat. Acres of acres of wildflowers feed the wildlife and also honeybees.

Liz has been doing this for about 12 years. She was a professor at UC but she got bored and took interest in beekeeping. She was curious. She kept asking questions until she could do this herself. There's no doubt that she loves this. On the outside, you could see photos like these. but being there was hard work. We checked on the bees the first time from the cold winter. I only stayed for the first out of eight hives, but it's already a lot of work there. She's using a smoker to notify the bees that we're coming. In this first hive there were healthy communities on the top layer.

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I love how close the bees were to me. I felt their buzzing so close on my lens and in my ears. What a beautiful sound! Liz were looking for two things: bees and mice. She said in the winter, mice moved in, and the bees gave them a space down below. We also found lady bugs. When I asked why won't the bees drive the mice out, Liz said, why do they have to. There's a space for everyone in the hives, including the lady bugs...and then our conversation slowly morphed into a discussion about immigration policy. Nature has its own way to create space for everyone, regardless their species. In a healthy ecosystem, everyone thrives from working with each other, these includes mice, bees, and ladybugs. 

The honey bees are just like us, Liz said. They need two things: work and space. She made sure that every hives has an empty space where the bees can expand. She also cleaned out the hives from mice, since winter has passed.

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My most favorite image was this. Liz, working, the busy hives, and her truck. She has all she needs in that truck, including a weed wacker, just in case she needs to clean up the space after she made room for the bees. 

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Written by Dyah Miller for arteologie. Please contact me at dyahkmiller at gmail dot com for reuse.