More valuable than gold, more coveted than a double latte from Starbucks, and trendier than a duplex on the waterfront in Williamsburg, it’s the latest craze: having your own bee-hive. No, I’m not talking about the hair-do from the sixties, but the real deal — the home to those swarming, fuzzy, stinging, honey-making bees.
Now that the city has relaxed rules on harvesting your own honey, obtaining and caring for those busy little flower suckers has become more popular than running a micro-brewery.
So, when Hurricane Irene blew through the city, flooding streets and turning big oaks into match sticks, she blew the bark off the seamy underbelly of beekeeping.
According to an item that ran in the Aug. 31 issue of the New York Times, two newbie beekeepers, Margot Dorn and Liz Dory, went to battle over a hive that had been exposed to the elements when the tree limb that housed it was sheared off by Irene’s damaging cyclonic winds. Until that point, the hive, which contained about 30- to 40-thousand honeybees, had peacefully resided undetected in Fort Greene Park.
Holy stingers Batman, but that’s one big hive.
Apparently news of the rebel feral bee headquarters spread faster than buzzing wings sending out an SOS on a lost drone. So quick the missive, that both caring apiarists, Dorn and Dory, showed up at the same time brandishing gloves, hats and chain saws to save the disenfranchised hive, thus sparking a feud to rival that of the Hatfields and McCoys.
As the storm subsided and tempers calmed, the stingers retracted and the two battling beekeepers came to amicable terms. With the wisdom of Solomon, patients of a saint and tongue firmly implanted — it was decided that the bees be evacuated to bigger digs to a trendy garden in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where they were allowed to rest after their harrowing ordeal. After a peaceful evening in the Garden of Eden, the hive was subsequently transferred to Dory’s brownstone rooftop in Prospect Lefferts Garden, where, hopefully, the hive will survive.
The big question now is will the upscale accommodations provide a nurturing environment for those displaced hiving striving stingers to live long and prosper and be able to produce a few more drones and at least another queen or two? And, if so, will a colonized queen be forced on the feral buzzers to tame the wanderlust?
If the transplanted Apis mellifera Linnaeus make it through the winter, the separation agreement calls for half to be given over to Dorn so she can have a hive of her own.
Bless its little wings.
Of course the settlement also provides for generous visitation rights. All Dorn has to do is wave a daisy or two and those honeysuckle suckers will be allowed to zero in on her location and drop by for a weekend sleepover.
Not for Nuthin™, but I hope that apiarist Dory won’t be too traumatized by empty-hive syndrome this spring, when half her brood buzzes off. I know I would be.