About Apian Services

                    

North Carolina

When we were young, we loved to walk down the worn path that led us into the woods. The crystalline creek tumbled among the boulder rocks in the days we rode rope swings and dug our heels into the cool sand of the stream. In the spring, redbuds and dogwoods swayed in the bracing breeze. Every fall, a blaze of red and gold filled the forest where fallen leaves crunched beneath our feet. Among the billowing clouds, migrating birds headed south to a summer land protected from winter winds.

It was one of those colorful days of late fall, that we discovered honeybees nesting high in an old hollow hickory tree. There seemed to be a sense of urgency in their activity. Although the meadows and roadsides were still abloom with asters and goldenrods, these last vestiges of the floral season were quickly disappearing. We admired the industry of these insects and mused as to what treasures they had stored. A flood of excitement entered when someone suggested we cut down the ancient tree and examine the nest more closely. Soon, the hickory felt the bite of our cross-cut saw. After cutting half-way into the tree, the old hickory splintered and ejected the bees and honeycombs onto the ground. Thousands of confused stinging insects prompted us to scramble toward home.

At dawn, on the following day, we returned to the site. the bees had cleaned themselves up and assembled upon a fallen branch. We adorned ourselves with homemade screen veils, heavy clothing, and work gloves. the heat was terrible but protection was considered advisable. The bees, surprisingly, did not attack us as we slid a gunny over them and the limb. In a nearby pasture, a sun bleached beehive was retrieved. The previous owner had abandoned the empty boxes. Therefore, we considered him relieved. Many beekeepers prefer that "gray, weathered look" to their equipment. Like the beehives they manage, beekeepers have withstood storms, summer heat, and howling winter winds to become nature-proof to whatever challenge may present itself.

We positioned the beehive in a woody clearing. The bees were shaken onto the ground, near the entrance of the hive. Like soldiers, advancing double-time to martial music, they scurried into the chamber of their new quarters.

Soon, the sunny blue skies of Indian Summer faded. Frosty mornings and clear, crisp days caused the bees to become dormant. On the few remaining warm afternoons, we enjoyed watching the bees forage as hues of sunlight glinted off their membranous wings.

That winter, my friends and I became separated. Larry was accepted to attend college. Jimmy became assistant superintendent at this father's hosiery mill, and I joined the U.S. Navy. I am not certain as to the outcome of the bee colony in the old sun-bleached beehive. I know that bees and their keepers still thrive together in harmony and nothing will ever take away the pleasure and happiness that bees and Apiarians mutually share.

Live your life in the spirit of adventure, like a ride on a rope swing, down upon a crystalline creek, which tumbles among the boulder rocks.

 
Raymond Mills - Apiarians of America