hschinske at aol.com
Thu Apr 23 12:04:10 EDT 2009
_The Keeper of the Bees_ (Gene Stratton Porter book that just came up) says
the Italian bees are less temperamental than the Black German ones. Not that
I am going to trust a notoriously prejudiced writer, even over the question
----- Original Message -----
From: "Minnow" <minnow at belfry.org.uk>
To: "Diana Wynne Jones discussion" <dwj at suberic.net>
Sent: Thursday, April 23, 2009 3:59 AM
Subject: Re: [DWJ] Chalice
> >Minnow wrote:
>>> Mark Allums wrote:
>>>> "There are worse things than bees."
>>>> I wish you hadn't said that. Perhaps you should qualify that with
>>>> tame bees of Italian heritage". I live in an area (East Texas) where
>>>> some quite aggressive bees are moving in from points further south.
>>> Oh. I thought the Italian bees were the aggressive but industrious
>>> and the English ones were placid but lazy, and the trouble came when
>>> interbred them trying to get placid industrious, and ended up with
>>> aggressive lazy.
>>Oh, Most all European bees are nice. English, Italian, whatever. The
>>South American experiment was to breed European bees with African bees.
>> This did not work well. Some swarms got away, and the rest is
>>history, including several very bad movies. Apparently, very little of
>>the European genetic heritage survives in the "Killer Bees", and none of
>>the, European temperament at all.
> Thank you, Mark. I'd clearly got the wrong name; it's been several years
> since the news story crossed my ears briefly.
> The other fictional bees that made quite an impression on me when I was a
> young reader are the wild bees of India, which Mowgli uses to dispose of
> the Red Dog when they invade his pack's territory. That is a very
> and beautifully-written account of deliberately stirring up several nests
> of bees by dropping rocks into them, and then running like fury and
> into a river to get away.
> (And I still use "there is hair between every toe!" as an insult, under my
> breath: when I met the hobbits I worried about their hairy feet just in
> case they had hair between their toes.)
>>>> But I did enjoy quite a lot witnessing my uncle's bee hive begin to
>>>> swarm, at my grandmother's house. I can now quite easily visualize
>>>> being inside a roiling, thick cloud of honeybees. Because I have been.
>>> Show-off! :-)
>>:-) It's really not a difficult feat. Just hang around beehives in the
>>summer. A really large, thriving hive will almost certainly swarm,
>>nearly every year. Get very close (but not too close) when you detect
>>unusual activity, and stand still. It can be quite a fun experience for
>>a ten-year-old. Kind of like a fog composed of yellow-brown particles,
>>which buzz. It was a bit dream-like. I'm sure I would experience it
>>differently today, but I still recall the joy I had of being there, in
>>the right place, at the right time.
> I also have a vague memory of being told that when they are swarming bees
> won't sting, presumably because they are too busy worrying about what they
> are doing to bother with irrelevant humans.
> I will freely admit that I have no particular wish to test the theory!
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