When I wrote about the Flow Hive I got a strong reaction to this sentence:
"Honey is a blessing. It has turned into a curse for the bees."
This was brought home to me again last weekend when I was asked by my friend Emma to rescue some bees from an old farmhouse in a beautiful valley.
When we got there, I found the builders had taken 90% of the comb and the bees were in terrible distress, on two small combs between the floor boards surrounded by dead bees. At Emma's request the builders returned the honey, about 15 kg slumped in a clear plastic rubble bag. A mixture of crushed comb, honey and dead bees - a pitiful sight.
We took the bees to a new home, but something did not feel right and I left with a heavy heart. The next day Emma called to tell me she had found the queen along with many other bees in the rubble sack, drowned in their own honey.
The remaining bees are as calm as they can be without their queen, clustered with some of their returned honey ... but at this time of year their options are very limited. The beautiful colony is lost. I can't tell you how sad I felt. The queen is so special; often in a starving hive she is the last to die.
Afterwards the builder felt remorse and the team who knew nothing about honey bees are more aware and will down tools at any sign of another colony.
The curse for the bees is that without knowledge, people don't see bees they see honey.