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PerryBee
Mar 21st 2012, 07:16 PM
I have heard about the old ritual that when a keep dies, another keep should go to his hives and tell them that their master is gone.
Does anyone know more on this subject? Where and when did it start? I find it intriguing!

rast
Mar 21st 2012, 08:20 PM
I was always told it was the keeps wife was supposed to do it.

jmblakeney
Mar 21st 2012, 08:27 PM
There is an old old poem about it.

Kinda hard to understand. You can read the poem at http://www.bloomfieldbeeshoney.com/beepoem.shtml
An exerpt: It is said that when a beekeeper dies, one must go to his hives and whisper to his bees that their master has departed. This honors both bees and beekeepers, and we hope you enjoyed reading this poem.


Hope this helps.

James

Hog Wild
Mar 21st 2012, 08:30 PM
I was always told it was the keeps wife was supposed to do it.

If that is the case would the closest keep please contact me? Accepting resumes! :grin:

ibeelearning
Mar 21st 2012, 08:33 PM
In Southern Appalachia, those who can "talk to the bees" can foretell death, the bees tell them (so I guess the bees would already know the master is dead?). Novelist Sharyn McCrumb has a recurring character named Nora Bonecutter who "has the sight" and "talks to the bees."

There is much folk culture linking bees and death. Some of it has to do with honey as a burial offering, some with beeswax as candles, some with the hexagonal shape of the cells, some with the inscrutable mystery of a species that is millions of years old and close to eternity.

Another beek coming to do a "pastoral visit" with a dead keeper's bees is probably more comforting to the keepers than the bees... but I still like it.

jmblakeney
Mar 21st 2012, 08:34 PM
When a beekeeper dies, the bees must be informed. I learned this tradition a few years ago, while visiting Slovenia’s Apicultural Museum. (http://www.bf.uni-lj.si/jbozic/muzej/muzej.html) One of the exhibits was a short film. My mother and I watched as a grandfather trained a lederhosen-wearing boy to be a beekeeper. Shot entirely in golden late afternoon light, it was a bittersweet story, and near the end of the film the grandpa died. A final scene showed the boy hunkered near the hive, his lips moving in a whisper. I knew the boy would have felt the heat of the hive, generated by so many thousands of bees, and that it would have smelled like wax and propolis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propolis) — a rich ambrosial aroma. The bees whining through the box would have sounded like a wail. How consoling that act would be in the face of death.

Taken from http://www.salon.com/2007/03/13/bees_3/

beewitched
Mar 21st 2012, 08:39 PM
I believe the idea of informing bees of things that go one within the keepers house probably goes back much farther. The Celtic people believe that bees were messengers between realms. But I found this: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/osc/osc69.htm

jmblakeney
Mar 21st 2012, 08:40 PM
Telling the BeesPosted on December 12, 2010 (http://nbba.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/telling-the-bees/) by LaLA Honey (http://nbba.wordpress.com/author/lalahoney/)
Telling the bees is a tradition dating back to Medieval times, where a designated “beespeaker” visited the apiaries to tell the bees about significant events in the lives of the community. It is still thought by some apiarists that when a beekeeper dies someone must inform the hives of his of http://nbba.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/bees-sebastian-munster-medieval.jpg?w=300&h=271 (http://nbba.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/bees-sebastian-munster-medieval.jpg)her death and introduce them to their new keeper. It has been observed that failure to report the beekeeper’s death will cause the bees to swarm.
From: http://nbba.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/telling-the-bees/

Iddee
Mar 21st 2012, 08:57 PM
What about the shoes. I have always been told that a family member should put the deceased ones shoes or boots on one of the hives and tell the bees of his death.

ibeelearning
Mar 21st 2012, 09:11 PM
Correction. Nora Bonesteel. c.f., http://books.google.com/books?id=-pyYFXY7uewC&pg=PA103&lpg=PA103&dq=sharyn+mccrumb+nora+bonesteel+bees&source=bl&ots=7T8zrhiIqr&sig=GAS_j7WPHM06-rfiT_E_UhbdN18&hl=en&sa=X&ei=MYlqT8qsHsPLtgelpaW7Bg&sqi=2&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=sharyn%20mccrumb%20nora%20bonesteel%20bees&f=false

efmesch
Mar 22nd 2012, 01:50 AM
I have never heard of this before.
My first reaction was, "Aw c'mon now, beeks never die."
Than came reality, and I felt like saying, "How sad".
Finally came acceptance and I thought, "How nice and respectfully thoughtful."
But all through, it made me feel a bit sad.
A redeeming thought was that it's nice if the informing beek is a child of the deceased and comes to replace the loss of the "master" with a continuing generation.:sad:

G3farms
Mar 22nd 2012, 04:14 AM
A redeeming thought was that it's nice if the informing beek is a child of the deceased and comes to replace the loss of the "master" with a continuing generation.:sad:

I think I like that the best :thumbsup:

tecumseh
Mar 22nd 2012, 05:14 AM
I read something along the line of this in an old bee keeping magazine. There was also an interesting side story that reported that during the funeral for a very old beekeeper, when the hearse drove past his apiary a swarm issued from one of his hives which then followed the procession to the graveyard and settled in one of the trees at the grave site. When the funeral had ended the swarm then moved on...

indypartridge
Mar 22nd 2012, 05:26 AM
Seems like there was an article in Bee Culture within the last 2-3 years about that tradition, but I can't find it at the moment.

Did find this link - scroll a bit past halfway down:
http://www.andrewgough.co.uk/bee3_2.html

Intheswamp
Mar 22nd 2012, 07:14 AM
From what I've read, to "tell the bees" is to inform the bees of their keeper's death so that they can understand what has happened to him/her and so that they will continue to produce honey.

Barbarian
Mar 22nd 2012, 11:55 AM
I follow this custom.

I "tell" my bees. If a beekeeper I know dies or if there is a special event in the family I "tell" my bees.

It can be an emotional event.. Give it a try.

Tia
Mar 22nd 2012, 12:28 PM
Intheswamp's got it. All I remember about the tradition is that there is a poem to be read to the bees that starts, "Little Brownies, Little Brownies, your master is dead." Shows you how old the tradition is since we gave up brown German bees long ago!

There's also one about newlyweds giving the bees a piece of their wedding cake.

bwwertz
Mar 22nd 2012, 01:15 PM
A redeeming thought was that it's nice if the informing beek is a child of the deceased and comes to replace the loss of the "master" with a continuing generation.:sad:

My father kept bees when I was about 7 years old - he had them about 2 years (?) and then we moved and he no longer had bees again (couldn't for various reasons). 20+ years later, I could finally get bees of my own and have a place for my Dad to "keep" with me. =) Now, my 5 year old son has fallen in love with the bees as well. Just the other day he said quite lovingly......"Mommy, when you die, I will take care of your bees for you." =)

Bsweet
Mar 22nd 2012, 03:18 PM
Very sweet BW train him well and enjoy your time with him. Jim

efmesch
Mar 22nd 2012, 03:26 PM
Now, my 5 year old son has fallen in love with the bees as well. Just the other day he said quite lovingly......"Mommy, when you die, I will take care of your bees for you." =)
You might want to give him some reassurance and tell him that YOUR bees will take care of HIM.

jim314
Mar 22nd 2012, 06:33 PM
I suspect my hives would be relieved :)

PerryBee
Mar 22nd 2012, 07:13 PM
I suspect my hives would be relieved :)

:lol: :rolling: :rotfl:

riverrat
Mar 23rd 2012, 06:07 AM
Another tradition that goes along with this is. When a desceased keep is removed from the house. Tradition was to turn all hives that was visible to and facing the house to facing away from the house while the keeps body is removed from the home. You must remember back in that day the body usually laid i n state and the funeral was performed at the house in most cases. I believe this tradition started over in europe several hundred years ago.

PerryBee
Mar 23rd 2012, 06:18 AM
I watched the movie "The Secret Lives of Bees" a couple months ago. It was a really good movie. At one point when May (one of the sisters) dies, August (the beekeeping sister) draped all the hives with a black cloth. My memory being bad, I can't remember why she said she did it.

AcmeBees
Mar 23rd 2012, 10:59 AM
Great, another interesting topic about bees to read about.

Marbees
Mar 25th 2012, 11:35 AM
After I die, my son is going to spread my ashes through my apiaries, so they will know. It's all arranged.:smile:
I started talking to my bees last August, when my father died, it helped me to collect myself.
Since then every time I visit apiaries I greet them with Hello beauties:grin: and often I would tell them what is the next thing I'll be doing. Crazy beekeeper, eh

kemptville
Mar 26th 2012, 12:22 PM
I watched the movie "The Secret Lives of Bees" a couple months ago. It was a really good movie. At one point when May (one of the sisters) dies, August (the beekeeping sister) draped all the hives with a black cloth. My memory being bad, I can't remember why she said she did it.

Do you think putting black cloths over the hives will help May get to heaven? "Goodness no", said August. “Putting black cloths on the hives is for us. I do it to remind us that life
gives way into death, and then death turns around and gives way into life.”

Awesome movie!

PerryBee
Mar 26th 2012, 12:30 PM
Kemptville, you da man! :thumbsup:

I thought it was an awesome movie as well, even my wife loved it and we don't usually have the same taste in movies. :lol: I even went and read the book to see if it was any different. Not at all what I expected, thought it was more about bees, but nevertheless was impressed. Something different from all the regurgitated pablum out these days.

kemptville
Mar 26th 2012, 12:59 PM
Here's the short film jmblakeney spoke about

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPJJQSQ4QIE


When a beekeeper dies, the bees must be informed. I learned this tradition a few years ago, while visiting Slovenia’s Apicultural Museum. (http://www.bf.uni-lj.si/jbozic/muzej/muzej.html) One of the exhibits was a short film. My mother and I watched as a grandfather trained a lederhosen-wearing boy to be a beekeeper. Shot entirely in golden late afternoon light, it was a bittersweet story, and near the end of the film the grandpa died. A final scene showed the boy hunkered near the hive, his lips moving in a whisper. I knew the boy would have felt the heat of the hive, generated by so many thousands of bees, and that it would have smelled like wax and propolis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propolis) — a rich ambrosial aroma. The bees whining through the box would have sounded like a wail. How consoling that act would be in the face of death.

Taken from http://www.salon.com/2007/03/13/bees_3/