Today I am venturing away from science into the world of wonderment. Sorry, but sometimes I get to thinking too much and then I start wondering about things I can’t answer . . . like why some people name their hives. Mind you, this is not a criticism. It’s just a question. Why do some people name their hives?
Before we get too far into that, let me say that I have other issues with names as well. My neighbor names her beef cattle. Each in turn, she fondles them about the ears, feeds them sweet pea pods from her apron, and whispers their names tenderly. Then, when the day comes that Bessie or Betsy or Matilda is on her plate, she proclaims in a thundering voice, “Matilda with mashed potatoes and green beans.”
Yikes. This behavior astounds me. I don’t eat meat anyway, but if I did, a comment like that would put me off my feed. I don’t actually like this neighbor very much, so the whole name game makes me wish cows ate people . . . Mrs. Jones with perennial ryegrass and yellow clover. Sounds yummy.
Anyway, back to beehives. Let’s say you have two hives, one named Camelot and one named Paradise. Late in the spring the populations become uneven. You decide to equalize them by switching the top two brood boxes with each other. Now you have Camedise and Paralot. Then, low and behold, Paralot starts to thrive. In order to prevent a swarm you do a split. Now you have Camedise and Para and Lot. But a month later, Camedise isn’t doing too well, so you fortify it with some brood from Lot. Now you have Camediselot and Para and Lot. Or not.
It’s embarrassing, but I’ve become completely confused by beekeepers who write about things called Stonehenge, Grassymount, and Green Valley. I thought they were campgrounds or cemeteries or retirement villages. I had no idea they were writing about beehives. No, I’m not kidding, I really didn’t get it. (Okay, you can stop smirking now.)
Then there are the people who name beehives by color: the red hive, the blue hive, the green hive. After a few hive manipulations you’re going to have the blue/blue/green and the red/green/blue and green/red/red hives. How long will that last before they become just multicolored hives number one, two, and three? You’re either going to do a lot of re-naming or an egregious amount of re-painting if you’re going to make that system work.
Beekeeping is hard enough without adding a lot of linguistic hoop-jumping. On the other hand, without the compulsive namers of the world, however would I amuse myself on a rainy Friday afternoon in the middle of winter with no bees in sight?