Tattered Wings


As I sat in front of my beehive taking photos this afternoon, I had a kafka-esque moment wishing I could enter the queen’s domain, compelling me to shrink myself into a tiny, winged molecule of this superorganism.  The activity around me was surreal.  Bees buzzed over my head and around my face.  The hum was hypnotizing…and I felt the mesmerizing intrigue of being one with the colony.


My intent was to watch for the bee with tattered wings. Image

                                                  April 28, 2012

I photographed her on several occasions over the first three weeks I had the hive.  She was darker than the others (honey bees lose their furry hairs as they age and their body color appears to darken when in fact, they’ve always been that color underneath).  This bee with tattered wings made me curious.  How many visits in and out of the hive had she flown, carrying nectar to sustain her fellow workers?  Her wings were indeed ragged.  The wind off the bay has been cool.  We’ve had all these wet, spring days….did it hasten the end of life for this dedicated little worker? 


                                         April 28, 2012


I didn’t see her today.  Honey bees typically only live for 5-6 weeks during the nectar season.  Weary from her foraging trips, she may not have had the strength to return to the colony one evening before dark.  Her contributions were not insignificant though.  Silently, as I sat, I thanked her for all her hard work. 


                              2nd from left at top ~ April 30, 2012


                                                    May 2, 2012



About "BUGGING" YOU FROM San Juan Island

I love beetles and keep bees! In my free time, I enjoy photography (mostly bugs) and documenting insect species found on San Juan Island. I have limited availability for local, onsite beekeeping consultation and hive inspection, honey bee removal/swarm collection as well as phone/skype consultation. Contact me at cynthiabrast@icloud.com Member Washington State Beekeepers Association
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