Telling the Bees

We should bring this one back, guys.

Native Irish Black Bees

Imagine for a moment you are the heroine in a period romance. Your thick black mane of hair is escaping the purple ribbon your great aunt gave you for your birthday. You are hard at work churning butter on the stoop, in the garden you can see the burgeoning weeds that will represent your next lot of chores and you are full of anxiety about the proud newcomer you ran into in a muddy lane who turns out to be the most eligible bachelor in town.

Your most loyal confidante would be the bees buzzing around you. Women told their bees everything; comings and goings, births and deaths, the best and worst of life.

It was important to tell them about a death in the family, or the bees would die too, and as such could be formally invited to funerals.

Bees were known for their wisdom, and were believed to be messengers between this life and the next. What I’ve read online suggested that telling the bees was a way to keep the gods updated about what was happening on Earth, but considering the close familial relationship the Irish had with their bees, I personally think it might be more to do with hoping the bees would pass on these stories to family that had passed on, that were dearly missed.

The native Irish Black bee was thought to be extinct until quite recently, almost wiped out by acarine mites. Attempts to breed them with impored breeds had mixed success. Recently the encouraging evidence suggests that the native bees are on the rise again, though are still endangered.

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