On bees dying

Yesterday, our neighbours smoked out a bee hive that had come up on one of their window shades. They had some pest control people hired for the purpose. Kerosene was sprayed on the bees and then smoke of some sort used to drive the more persistent insects from the hive.

Within a few seconds of the operation, our balcony, which is located right below the hive, was covered with writhing bees. When they die, bees do a strange thing – they spit out honey. While thrashing about, they also manage to get stuck in their own sticky spit. Watching them do this fills me with a sort of horrified fascination – purging honey in their dying moments seems like a final renunciation of everything they have lived for. Almost as if they were saying: this honey is what defined me all this while. But I don’t need it where I am going.

Stranger still was what I found this morning. Bees that had managed to escape the kerosene were hovering around, flying from dead bee to dead bee. I wondered if this was an apian homage of some sort, but suddenly I saw what they were doing. They were collecting honey. Did this qualify as stealing from the departed? I think not – bees are unlikely to be weighed down by the same false morals we burden ourselves with. They were probably making the best of a bad thing. No more.

Here are some pictures.

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2 responses to “On bees dying

  1. Interesting observation. One learns new things everyday!

  2. I dont know why, but I found your entire post unbearably moving… pretty much like when a pigeon flew into our greenhouse a couple of years back (while we were at work) and couldnt find its way out, and our enthusiastic puppy “played” with it. By the time we got back home, the pigeon was too injured to move… and by the time the RSPCA phoned us back after our frantic call about what to do, the pigeon had died. But – considering what noisy beasts they are, normally, gutter-gooing all the while – the pigeon didnt make a single sound. It must have been in pain, probably traumatised, but – not a peep from it. It just about broke my heart…

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