From bee bling to apitourism, have you joined the bee-list?
Unless you are a quiz pro or one of the growing number of backyard apiarists, it would be hard to find a common denominator between actress Scarlett Johansson, poet Sylvia Plath and mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary. Johansson was given a hive as a wedding present by Samuel L Jackson on her marriage to Ryan Reynolds. For a similar idea Brookfield Farm in Co Tipperary offers hiveshare gifts ranging from “bee friends” to “bee champions” (from ¤85 – ¤320). Plath’s father, Otto, was a noted expert on bumble bees, hence her poem The Beekeeper’s Daughter. I recommend reading The County Dublin Beekeeper’s Association website for more interesting details on Plath’s interest and inspiration from bees. Hillary, who was a commercial honey farmer for over 30 years, credits beekeeping for conditioning him mentally and physically for mountain climbs.
Interest in beekeeping has risen dramatically in the last few years, though it’s nothing new. In his fascinating book Buzz Thor Hanson points out that people kept bees long before they tamed horses or other farmyard animals. It is often said that bees provide every third bite of food in the human diet; we owe a huge debt to their pollination activities. Reason enough not to swat them out of the way or call the local exterminator.