Beekeeping In Athens
- by XpatAthens
- Thursday, 05 February 2015
Would you like to come and see my bees? A friend asked me. No, it wasn’t a pick-up line, my friend genuinely has bees on a small mountainside in Melissia, a suburb to the north of Athens. So one rather temperamental Sunday (weather wise), off we go. Bees’ll be a bit moody. Paul looks up at the constantly shifting and menacing clouds. Hmm, do I need to worry about this?
He must’ve seen my concern because he pats me on the back and says, Don’t worry, you’ll be suited up.
Paul and his friend have eight hives – four of them new – and have been keeping bees for about 3 years.
Have you ever had any honey?
According to Paul, “The last year or two hasn’t seen a lot of honey produced, not just with us, but a lot of beekeepers in Greece say the same. Bees are sensitive to environment, and some put it down to all the negativity around re: the financial crisis. They just stop producing.”
It’s an interesting theory. Paul and his friend also told me that bees definitely have their own personality. And I can believe it. Let’s face it, bees are what keeps us all going, with their pollination. It was Einstein who famously said: If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.
So, back to their personalities: there’s the Queen – who only mates once. She leaves the hive to mate with the Drone bees outside and comes back to lay eggs in a cell in the hive. A Queen has a lifespan of 3 years, the rest 3 months (see? Females are stronger).
Then there’s the Guard Bee – guards the hive – Maintenance Bees, who do exactly that. In fact, if you want a perfect example of Collectivism, you should study bees more carefully! We could learn a lot from them I think.
Get suited and booted before going near them, especially hive 12!
I am warned.
That’s a difficult one. So I suggest you stay back.
They’re pointing at the infamous Hive 12. By now, we’ve sat outside on the patio and had some juice and snacks, I’m suited up and we’re in the hive. First, the hive is ‘smoked’ (think of something similar to what they use in churches when they wave around their incense).
This calms them down.
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