The beehive is on my terrace to the south of the house. Right next to me, the bees are flying back and forth, bringing back their pretty balls of pollen without worrying about my presence. This little family of honey bees was a gift from heaven. One day, as the hive was casually stored there, it was suddenly and spontaneously colonized by a travelling swarm. What a magical, unforgettable moment! First a cloud of roaring insects dizzying in, and then a great calm. No longer rustling, they were spread all over the front of the hive, and the small herd walked quietly in through the narrow entrance. I will never forget this wonderful sight, which took place ten years ago. Ever since that day, the bees have been my closest neighbors: they simply left me no choice! I have become familiar with their daily bustle, and I know by heart all their habits, difficulties, and feasts. This colony is my friend, and I do learn a lot through observing the bees every day.
The beehive is a small tower made of four wooden boxes stacked one on top of each other and crowned by a chalet roof. If you don’t look at it too closely, it seems similar to any other hive, yet with a main difference : there are no frames in it. So how do they manage? Well, they do what they have been doing for millions of years: they build all by themselves large wax combs in a very artistic and creative way, wavy, labyrinthine combs without a single straight line. The bees’ natural constructions are wonderful wax palaces with small shortcuts, walkways, reinforcements, curved corridors ensuring a gentle air circulation without any draughts.
After writing and publishing my french book 'Ruches Refuges' in 2020, I have now embarked on the project of building and installing hives in high forest trees.
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11 Nov 2020