An Italian honeybee (Apis mellifera ligustica) landed on the grey wool turtleneck I had shed to better enjoy reading the Sunday paper in the midday sun. Italian honeybees are not native. The ones around my property are ones I introduced. But both my hives died sometime between Martin Luther King Day and Valentine’s Day.
Last summer, in a testament to my marginal beekeeping skills, my hives swarmed repeatedly from the first dandelion flowering until the peonies finished blooming. Maybe at least one of those many escaped colonies set up a hive somewhere near by and survived the winter — absolute proof that the bees know better than I do how to care for them.
Was that A. mellifera on my turtleneck looking for me to say “stay clear of us, we don’t need you”?
I took a walk around the meadow looking for evidence of a hive somewhere. Maybe more than one. I did not see other honeybees. But the prospect that they are around cheered me at least as much as being able to remove my turtleneck to take a mini sunbath.