My name is Elaine, the mercury has hit 100 every day this week, and I have done everything that I can for my bees. Every afternoon I sit in the backyard, close enough to the hive to hear the soft murmur of their wings. They speak this quiet language to one another every day.
All of the books say that bees don’t do well with weather over the mid 90s. I thought about trying to move them today, but the books also recommend not doing that.
This one is the third hive I’ve attempted. The first two died away. Hives require a lot of work and often the bees can’t seem to make a go of it. They are expensive, and people grow frustrated quickly.
This hive, this third one, however, crackles like a fire. My neighbor informed me yesterday that her son had been stung three times in the past week. Her house is down the street. This means that my queen has reached adult maturity and is now commanding, through pheromones, for her drones to venture beyond the borders of my yard.
My neighbor was so angry. I still remember her harsh words, “The audacity! That you should keep that hive! That you could pretend to control so many thousand!”
And then my neighbor left me. I closed my front door. And I returned to sit near to my hive, near to my queen. She hadn’t meant wrong, my queen. On hot days bees are commanded by their queen to stop focusing on nectar and to start bringing water back to the hive. To cool it, you see. The bees probably felt threatened by my neighbor’s son. Bees become more defensive when it’s hot, and they want to protect their queen. I understand. That’s what I’d want.
Zaqary Fekete has worked as a teacher in Moldova, Romania, China, and Cambodia. They currently live and work as a writer in Minnesota. They have previously been published in Goats Milk Mag, Shady Grove Literary, SIC Journal, Warp10Fiction, Reflex Fiction, and 101 Words. They enjoy reading, podcasts, and long jogs in the countryside.