I was looking at the Illinois State Beekeepers Association Yahoo group this morning and saw a posting on an NPR article about a man who wanted to build a “live in” hive. One where he could put his head into and see what was going on. Personally, I am fine with the small cameras that go inside to keep track of the bees, or look at the videos on line that show the waggle dance, or the attendants with the queen. I enjoy watching the bees during an inspection where they string together, and especially when I see a bee emerging from the comb and joining her sisters in the hive. Putting my head into a hive I think would just invite potential trouble (but then again do the bee stings to the head increase brainpower? Something to think about.). Apparently this gentleman had some reservations about it himself and never got around to building it. He did find the next best thing though, travelling with his head in the middle of a swarm (for the article click here).
The mental picture of someone walking (and running) in a halo of bees is cool! It’s like escorting them to their new home (like the scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life” where the Baileys pack up the car with the new home owner’s family and take them to their new house, and present them with welcoming gifts). Following them along gives the beekeeper a chance to say “goodbye” to some of the bees who have helped during the year, and collect them from distant locations to expand the apiary.
I believe if I ever had the opportunity to do something like this, I would embrace it. After all how often can you travel in such fine company.