Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin
Wednesday, 6 March 2013
The Busy Bees of Berlin
This photo I took last year - sitting on our balcony, watching with all my peace of mind the BBBs (busy Berlin Bees).
As I told you then in my blog 'Gardening in High Heels', a huge lot of hobby beekeepers in Berlin put the beehives on the roofs of hotels or museums, on the Berlin Dome or the house of representatives. You can buy (expensive) Berlin honey - and the bees thrive, because here in town the trees are not sprayed with insecticides, and the air in the city is warmer.
In Germany, I read, there are 94.000 beekeepers with 750.000 bee colonies.
I have a deep affection for bees, because my grandfather H.v.K. (the eccentric one) was a hobby beekeeper. As a child I followed him when he - all in white with his big hat with the net over it, and the enormous pipe in his mouth - attended to the bees. The honey he collected was wonderful - and when sometimes I trod on a bee and cried with pain he consoled me with the promise that by that I would never get rheumatism.
Today my doctor, who had tested my blood to see whether I am allergic to gnats, told me: "No, everything is fine. BUT - they found out you are highly allergic to bees." She recommended an emergency kit - and eventually desensitisation. (When I learned that for this I would have to stay 6 (!!) full night&days in the hospital Charité - and yesterday I read the article in the Guardian how to reach old age, wisely recommending "Stay away from hospitals" - I said "Thank you, but thank you no.").
Now: I am not (utterly) unreasonable: I will buy that kit. Put it into my bag.
But when today - of course it had to be today - the first bee of the year came to my balcony, I said: "Hi, friend, I'm not afraid." I know that bees - other than wasp, which I am not allergic to - only sting when irritated. (OK - one might sit on one and she will find that somewhat irritating).
Taking a spoon full of delicious honey I consider buying a blue balloon instead.
"If you have a blue balloon, they (the bees) might think you were only part of the sky (...)."
"Wouldn't they notice you underneath the balloon?" you asked.
"They might or they might not," said Winnie-the-Pooh. "You never can tell with bees."