A retirement speech

Each year we submit some entries in the Harrow in Leaf show, held at Headstone Manor. One of the classes is a poem, story or other writing related to bee-keeping. This year I entered a “retirement speech”, and hid within it no less than 40 references to bee-keeping. The piece earned me a second prize in the class, which sounds pretty good until you realise there were only two entries. But anyway here is that speech for your entertainment. Click anywhere (or hover your mouse) within the speech text to reveal the hidden references.


As you mite – as in Varroa mite, a bee parasitemight know, forage – the process of looking around for food, and the food found that wayfor age reasons – I’m not in my a prime swarm – 1st swarm to leaveprime, virgin – an unmated queen beevergin’ on the aged, mead – an alcoholic drink made with honeyme days are numbered – I’ve decided to pollen – what the bees feed their larvaepull in the reins and start reWhat an angry female bee can do!sting. So have a popolis – a sticky substance made from tree sap used by the bees as glueproper listen to this.

Hive – a man-made home for a bee colonyHI’ve had a Part of a hive where bees keep their storessuper time, and to The adding, by the bees, of a wax seal or cap over a honey cellcap it all… I’ve been supported by my wife. It would be The process of pouring honey into jars for salejarring to Excluder – a grill used to stop the queen passing from one part of the hive to anotherexclude ‘er from this; she’s been my Pre-formed wax sheet used as a starter for bees building combfoundation, Used to raise a beehive off the ground and to a comfortable working heightstanding by me even when she was Eggs and larvae still in their cellsbroody. She’skep – an old style of beehive, woven from wicker or straws kept One job on the career ladder of a honey bee, keeping guard at the colony entranceguard ova – plural of ovum, or eggover me, An earlier job, where bees care for and feed the broodnursed me and made sure I Beehivebehive myself. She’s my Processed nectar stored as food for the beeshoney; no-one can hold a Beeswax candles are often made as by-product by beekeeperscandle to her.

Life wasp – the arch-enemy of bees!was pretty good, and I’ve had a larva – the pupa, or grub, form of an immature beelarv, a right laugh. It’s been egg – the first stage in the bee life-cycleegAn individual unit of storage in the honeycomb, for brood or storescellent. I could A material secreted by bees for building the comb withwax lyrical, but I won’t A male bee – can’t sting, and does no work in the hivedrone on as you don’t want me to Beekeepers may “spin out” the honey from the comb in a centrifugal extractorspin it out. I’ll stop The egg-laying individual bee in a colonyqueening it and step off the Part of a beehive – may be solid or meshfloor, out of the An individual sheet of honeycomb, supported by a wood surroundframe.

Anyway, it’swarm – when a large group of bees leave the hive and form a new colony elsewheres warm here so please join me at the Part of a beehive – can be flat or pitched, covered in metal or roofing feltroofA style of artificial hive that favours bee welfare over honey productiontop bar for a A “queen cup” is an extended cell where a larva is fed royal jelly to become a new queencup of amber The liquid from some flowers, collected and turned into honey by beesnectar; there should bee space the optimal gap between frames to allow bees to move about freely be space for our party, even if we have to shoe-hornet – even more of a threat to bees than wasps arehorn it in. It’s been supercede – the process of a new queen taking control of a colony, superceding the previous onesuper see d’you all.