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Posted 01 Jan 07

I did bring a few thoughts together recently about bees at Christmas which was only intended for family entertainment.  However it struck me as possibly being of interest to your Australian request.

Purely fictional (or is it - can anyone prove differently?)

Stephen Sunderland, Oban


At midnight on Christmas Eve as if by some special yet unseen signal all the bees in a hive will come out and line up in a double row at the hive entrance.  That’s around 15,000 bees but only 7,500 in a row as I said it was a double row.  Yes quite a lot but unfeasible to happen in mid summer when all the cousins have arrived and there are over 40,000 in the hive.  Yes that’s quite a lot of washing up.

When all of the bees have left the hive the queen will emerge and walk regally out of the front door (obvious really because we know that a hive doesn’t have a back door) and down the column of bees.  As she goes she takes time to thank all of the bees for their hard work during the season past.  She does this by touching each worker on their antenna with her antenna assuming almost a bowing action.  Reciprocating, the bees take on a curtsy by receiving the acknowledgement.

So to the end of the line of bees and once the queen arrives she takes off and flies high into the sky towards the moon.  This is the reason that on Christmas Eve if everyone has been good there will be a full moon and a crisp, frosty night when all is calm and all is bright.

The bees take off after the Queen but only one at a time.  No bee takes off until their neighbour is already in the air.  The Queen will continue to gain height until the last bee takes off from the hive and when this happens a message passes up the column to the Queen at which point she stops gaining height and levels out.

Eventually all of the bees will arrive at the same height as their Queen but they are also joined by other bees from hives in the area.  Then a most beautiful thing happens and it is said (for I have never heard it) that all the bees join together and make a sound which sounds like a heavenly choir of angels. 

The great Eisteddfod of Bees continues until just before dawn breaks and then the bees all return to their respective hives.


Here another remarkable thing happens because the worker bees head home ahead of the queen and again line up in two columns ready to allow the queen to march into her hive.  I understand that they then have a long lie in and rest until the afternoon when they all get ready to listen to the Queens Speech in which she reviews the highs and lows of the year gone by but looks forward in hope to good times in the year ahead.

To be continued ....

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