The Secret Life of Bees

When I think of Mahabaleshwar - I would associate it to the words strawberries, chana, honey and misty hills. But for years I associated mahabaleshwar with only honey, for after every visit, I found myself with a large jar of this golden nectar, which for the rest of the year graced my morning pancakes. The MadhuSagar Apiary churned out jars and spectacles of an almost spell bounding variety. Honey from particular flowers, honey with different sugar ratings, honey as a cosmetic for you face, honey for newborns, honey that treated various diseases etc.
My general fascination with Bees and Bee-keeping peaked after visiting, what in my mind is one of the strangest museums I’ve ever visited, The Bee-Keeping Museum also at Madhu Sagar.



Bee facts - A single female Bee begins a new colony each spring, and if all goes well she may have over 25,000 of her daughters working in the expanded colony by the end of the summer.


Bees I’ve learned are really super adaptable creatures. Even in cities like Bombay they seem not only to survive but also thrive. Some years back I lived on the fourteenth floor of this building in Prabhadevi and we had became well aquainted with bees setting up their hive and functioning with great furore. Sometimes just outside our window. A question that always troubled me was, Where did they get their honey from ? if you know Prabhadevi you would know flowers are not something you expect to see here, but still these bees kept piling up that honey . Often what happened was that the “bee hives” grew too big and bees started troubling certain members of the “human hive” and they had to be removed. End product being every household in the building getting one jar of honey.

Bee facts - Honey bees never sleep.

When in Italy recently I got the opportunity to look at an apiary more closely and I also took some pictures.

The Collective

The bees are usually kept in a Langstroth hive, [as seen in the picture] that is wooden boxes, or supers, filled with frames that each hold a sheet of wax or plastic foundation: the bees produce wax and build honeycomb using the wax sheets as a starting point, after which they may raise brood or deposit honey and pollen in the cells of the comb.

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As you can see there a flurry of activity and they're least bothered by the lazy human in their midst. My family stayed away, it was pretty much me and the bees and they where very busy. I wanted to meet the queen but security was pretty tight at the palace.

Whats that buzz ?
Here's them taxying in home.




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4 comments:

Phal said...

horses. you forget h orses. beautiful, beautiful horses. by the way, lovely apiary shots. esp the frontal shot... nice, i must say...

By the way, are you going to meet me in Delhi? You said you would try...

Geetanjali said...

Honey from sources like Mahableshwar is THE best - the taste of that honey is something else all together na?

What you said about bees thriving anywhere? SO true - we had to get rid of one that sprouted on our living room curtain (unlike at Prabha Devi, they have plenty of flora to get their honey frm in Florida Estate!)

Anonymous said...

A few years ago I lived on the 21st floor of a building in Prabhadevi and was also well acquainted with bees. Did you live in Antariksh?

Akshay said...

I lived on the 14th floor of Lloyds Garden. I think I know where Antariksh was.