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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    lee county, fl, usa

    Default Book The Beekeeper's Apprentice: A Novel

    Anyone else ever read it?

    I like how this book is written. Setting is early 1900’s England wartime. Story about Mary Russell becoming friends with retired to the country Sherlock Holmes. You can read the intro and first chapter at

    Does this really happen?

    The Beekeeper’s Apprentice: A Novel (Mary Russell) by Laurie R. King
    Kindle ebook, location 817
    “…as we neared the small fenced orchard that housed his hives Holmes stopped dead and stood with his head tipped to one side. After a moment he gave a little grunt and strode rapidly across the turf to the orchard gate. I followed, and once among the trees I could hear the noise that his experienced ears had caught at the greater distance: a high, passionate sound, a tiny, endless cry of unmistakable rage coming from the hive in front of us. Holmes stood staring down at the otherwise peaceful white box, and clicked his tongue in exasperation.
    “What is it?” I asked. “What’s that noise they’re making?”
    “That is the sound of an angry queen. This hive has already swarmed twice, but it seems determined to swarm itself into exhaustion. The new queen had her nuptial flight last week, and she is now anxious to murder her rivals in their beds. Normally the workers would encourage her, but either they know she is going to lead another swarm, or they are somehow driving her to do so. In either case, they are keeping her from doing away with the unborn queens. They cover the royal cells with thick layers of wax, you see, so she cannot reach the princesses and they can’t chew their way out to answer her challenge. The noise is the queens, born and imprisoned, raging at each other through the prison walls.”
    “What would happen if one of the unhatched queens escaped from her cell?”
    “The first queen has the advantage, and it would almost certainly kill it.”
    “Even though she is going to abandon the hive anyway?”
    “The lust for murder is not a rational thing. In queens, it is an instinct response.”
    Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prvb 16:24
    March 2010; +/- 50 hives, TF

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Rowan County NC

    Default Re: Book The Beekeeper's Apprentice: A Novel

    That is intruiging to say the least. I could not imagine if it is true or not. But it sure does sound like it would be fun to believe.
    "You have to put down the ducky if you wanna play the Saxophone!" Mr .Hoot

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Pitt County, NC

    Default Re: Book The Beekeeper's Apprentice: A Novel

    It is at least partially true according ot Langstroth's Hive and the Honey Bee, page 121 of my copy... when talking about a hive planning to send out multiple swarms:
    "A strong guard is kept over their cells and as often as she approaches them with murderous intent, she is btten or given to understand by other most uncortier like demonstrations that evene a queen cannot, in all things, do just as she pleases.
    Like some human beings who cannot have their own way, she is highly offended when thus repuls, and utters, in a quick succession of notes, a shrill, angy sound, not unlik the rapid utterance of the words, " peep, peep." .... To this angry note, one or more of the unhatched queens will respond, in a somewhat hoarser key, just as a cock, by crowing, bids defiance to its rivals. These sounds, so entirely unlike the usual steady hum of the bees, or the fluttering noises of unhatched quens, are almost infallible indications that a second swarm will soon issue. The are occasionally so loud as to be head at some distance from the hive. "

    I don't know about the layering of wax over the other queen cells based on this description, but they do guard the cells it appears.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA

    Default Re: Book The Beekeeper's Apprentice: A Novel

    The details are all jumbled up. The old queen leaves with the first swarm. All the rest are led by virgins, not newly mated queens. The bees do keep the queen from killing her rivals when they are in a swarming and afterswarming situation, but they do so by surrounding the queen and guarding the cells, not by putting more wax on them. Queens that are trapped (the ones in the cells that are ready to emerge but are being held prisoner) do pipe at each other. A "quack quack quack" sound that is answered by the one that is on the loose with a "zoot zoot zoot". I don't know if anger is an appropriate description, but it's not entirely wrong.
    Michael Bush "Everything works if you let it." 42y 40h 39yTF


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