My Bee Hive

For the past couple of months an interesting activity had been taking place in my little balcony garden. Sharing a few shots of it here.

Early November, 2011, one fine morning, as I sat reading a book near my balcony I saw huge swarm of bees heading towards my balcony. I rushed indoors quickly and through the glass pane witnessed the drama taking place on the edge of the roof of my balcony. Hundreds of them settled there, they seemed to be inspecting the place. Within minutes the buzz subsided and just few were flying around the spot. I guessed they didn’t like the place to build their hive.

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I was wrong! Half an hour later there were thousands, it was like a huge dark cloud. I was spell bound, never having witnessed such a scene before I was on a clicking spree from behind the safety of my glass pane. By evening they settled to form a huge lump and the next few days there was continuous activity. I somehow managed to water the plants and move away the smaller pots. For two months their activity went on. Their most active hours were between 10 to 11 in morning and then 3 to 4 in the afternoon. Watering and cleaning up the place was done during their rest hours. The beehive size grew bigger and bigger and formed a ‘L’ shape on the edge.

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My balcony got a new scent, not of flowers but of honey. It got sweeter each day. Each time looking at it I would wonder how much honey it will have! I had no mind to break it, in fact my daughters were more keen in their activities. One day three men came knocking on my door saying they will get rid of the bee hive from my balcony for Rs. 2000. I made it clear to them I was not interested in getting rid of the bees. By now I had started to like the bees, the smell in my balcony and the photo opportunities I was getting once in a while. The men were like: has the woman gone crazy!

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After lot of arguments like: this was the way they made their living, and they would give me honey for free and that they extracted it the cleanest way, I agreed. Soon they walked in with a bunch of some kind of leaves and dry hay in between those leaves. They set the bunch on fire and smoke rising from it disturbed the bees. What surprised me was that the bees seemed to have become docile. The men were removing the bees from the hive with bare hands and none of them were stung. A couple of them sat on my hands which were holding my dear camera; now I could neither react with a jolt lest I damage my camera, nor scream out of fright! One of them gently took away the bees. Whew!

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The hive was a thick one, which they cut with a knife and honey was oozing out of it. On an impulse I put my finger in the honey and licked it. It was sweet! It was not so thick like the one we get in markets, the Dabur variety, it was thinner and light golden in color. They extracted around 30litres of honey from that hive, I kept 5litres for myself and rest of it they sold. They even took a portion of the honey comb saying the queen bee was inside it.

The edge is now bare and I miss their activity which I used to watch often. How disciplined the bees were! Neither did I disturb them nor did they harm me. For some days the bees came searching for their home which I had destroyed, I do feel guilty… not sure whether I should actually feel so.

They must have made a new home somewhere else hopefully!

Faces of India - 45
A Half Bloomed Orange Rose from Lal Bagh, Bangalore

68 Responses to “My Bee Hive

  • Wow.. this is some wonderful photojournalism, Indrani and right outside your door. What an amazing process. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  • Such an interesting post, Indrani. I'm pretty sure I would have been afraid to have them out on MY balcony but it sounds like the aroma was lovely and the bees meant you no harm.

  • 30 litres! That's a lot!! Very nicely captured…

  • What a fascinating post indeed, Indrani!! And how wonderful to have all that great honey!! It does indeed sound as if the aroma was wonderful! Love your captures! Have a great week and enjoy the honey!!


  • What an interesting post. I would have enjoyed the smell from the hive and glad you got so much good honey.

  • Loads of great stuff! Sweet story of the bees' activities.

  • wow, how interesting!

    visiting from

  • I am amazed at this beehive story. You were so brave to keep them there so long. I would have totally freaked out! Amazing shot.

  • wow what an amazing experience!!

    liked what you have done with the pics too.. how did you do that?

  • I doubt I could have lived with so many bees on my balcony – but then, you did get some sweet, sweet honey out of it! This was truly fascinating to see through your photos!

  • Thanks for sharing this episode with us. I'm not sure I would have let the bees build such a large hive on my balcony, but you certainly got some wonderful pictures and a great story. I'll bet the honey is delicious as well.

  • I wonder how they got there and got attracted to your balcony garden. This is a very interesting experience. I love this post and the story behind it.

    You have a home, sweet home.

  • Yes, an incredible history and marvelous, and very well documented with photos. I suppose you would much pain when they removed the honeycomb.

  • Great post and photo,you were very brave I run when I see one …

  • Your post left me contemplating on the inevitable conflict between man and the various other members of nature that he is displacing everyday. Poor bees must have slogged day in-day out to painstakingly collect all that honey, for the sake of its brood.. and sadly all of that goes into the pockets of profit hungry humans.

    Alas, can't blame the humans.. they need to survive too.

  • whoa! I think i would be freaking out if that were me! ^0^
    not a fan of bees though i love honey.
    i'm scared of them esp. the part where i can hear the stinging buzzing sound.
    but i had a gr8 time reading your post. scary but fun.

  • What fun you have been having!! And fresh honey too…yummy!!!

  • Interesting experience.

  • You have got a nice, interesting blog here, Indrani! Thanks for coming over to my blog!

    I had a couple of these Hives in my coconut tree, sometimes back. I didn't take pictures because of the height! Your pictures have come out nicely!

    I followed the growth of red-vented bulbuls' growing up in a small nest in our garden and did a post on it, sometime back. It was interesting to watch them.

    Nice knowing you, Indrani! Let me put this interesting post in FB!

  • A wonderful story. Fascinating.
    The only thing is the men should have paid you instead of you paying them. They got the hive, the queen and most of the honey.

  • WoW!! what can I say!!? I think this is the one of the most interesting posts I ever have read!! And seen!!!!

    I would be scared of the bees if I were there.. but at same time I would feel sad for them having their house destroyed.. Yes, bees are intelligent, I'm sure! And we need them! I know, even if I'm scared of them..

    I have never ever seen such a huge honey cabin!! Like a castle! Sure the queen lived there! 😉

    And I think they didn't harm you, because they knew you are friendly to them.. 🙂 I'm so sure!

    Hug from Viola! 🙂

  • if I WAS there.. :))

    and let's hope they will get a new house.. and what happened with the queen??

  • These are some amazing photos!

  • nice experience…

    photos are excellent…

    thanks for sharing

  • Wow – what an amazing story. I do hope the entire hive got moved somewhere nice along with the Queen Bee.

    I'm terrified of bees, but really enjoyed this.

  • That's so kind of you and honeybees! To give us sweet essence they lose many of there hives and their quick activities to built another wonders!

  • Indrani this is indeed a fascinating story. You were brave to be out there while they were bringing down the hive-sleepy bees or not!

  • I enjoyed reading about this fascinating experience you had Indrani, thank you. The pictures are wonderful.

  • Wow, interesting…

  • Fascinating .. I am not sure I'd have waited as long as you .. nevertheless a fabulous post .. over from Hilary's to say well done

  • Wow I was amazed but to tell you frankly just looking at the bee hives gives me goosebumps hahah because I have been stung by a bees before when I was watering my plants it is pretty nasty. But lucky for you it didn't bother you at all and now you have lots of pure honey.
    Thank you for stopping by my blog.

    Everyday Fish
    The Vintage Recipe Blog

  • Very interesting Indrani! You are so incredibly brave to endure these bees, but then again you knew they were ordinary bees and not some dangerous species, like killer bees.The honey must have been wonderful. Have a great week or what's left of it.
    Wil, ABC Wednesday team.

  • oh, i know you must feel bad! i hope they will find a new home and queen.

    congrats on your POTW!

  • That's an interesting story. I've never seen a bee hive like this myself. Very illustrative pictures.

  • What a nice experience, the photos were terrific. I have harvested from tamer bees, and used to chew the comb like gum when I was a kid.

  • Unbelievable ! It sounds like a fairy tale !! Bees are so important to nature and are protected here !

  • This is so interesting, Indrani. Thanks for sharing this unique experience with beautiful images!

  • That is amazing!! You're so good to let them stay there and to watch that all unfold! I would've been scared. Great captures!
    Thanks for stopping by my WW 🙂

  • Wow, what an amazing experience,
    beautiful shots.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Indrani, what an amazing story. I do not think I have ever seen such a large hive. It is great they found you because someone else might have just destroyed the hive and the bees. Fantastic photos and post. Thanks for sharing.

  • Wow, I didn't know they can build a hive on a balcony that is already in someone's use! I'd be very scared if they settled so close to me though 🙂 I hope they found a new home.

  • Absolutely fascinating.
    The life of bees is so interesting. I'm glad you were able to get some honey.
    I wonder if they will return at another time.
    That hive was so huge.

  • I too have experienced this in my building. And that pure honey tastes very sweet and real good!
    Nice post.

  • Wow!

    and what a coincidence! It was while looking through a recipe that called for pure honey I remembered the bee hives that were kept in the middle of the garden during my growing up years… though I could not see the hives like you have shown.. I still remember the way the honey was extracted and the sweetness of the honey still remains.. did u try chewing a bit of the wax with the honey in it?
    You are lucky to have got pure honey when now one is not sure which brand will ever give us honey as pure as nature meant it to be.

  • Great pictures, but the narration was greater

  • You must have enjoyed the photosessionbs with the beehive. Extremely beautiful captures. You need not be sorry for getting it removed. However, I would have provided them with an alternate accommodation (available with some agencies).

  • Painstaking efforts to present an incredible story & amazing pics. Unbelievable that the guys could extract 30 litres of honey! Great post.

  • An amazing story, Indrani, with fabulous photos to illustrate it! A thoroughly enjoyable read!

  • Hope no one gets hurt or stung by those bees. the look of the beehive giving me a creep. but it interesting.

  • Beautifully captured! I remember my childhood with your post, my father used to get the beehive from coconut tree or some trees.

    Love is in the air with Champ and Ruby, come and see.

  • What a wonderful experience! It would be so interesting to see the process of the bees building their nest. I am amazed at the amount of honey they extracted from the hive. Thanks for sharing this amazing event.

  • What a great story ! So glad you shared it with us. I have always been interested in bees.

  • Very interesting post, fascinating story.
    You and the bees have done a great and sweet deal 🙂

    Regards and best wishes

  • what a fabulous post and story – but I think I would have felt uneasy with a hive so close

  • Excellent photojournalism blog, Indrani!!!!

  • Wow great read! Enjoyed the move mouse over photo thing!And lovely pictures you took too.

  • Such beautiful captures. But I have heard that if bees make a home and their home is removed, they do come back. That's what happened to our neighbor's balcony. After they removed the hive, a few months later the bees came back to rebuild their home.

  • wow .. that was great read.. btw seriously 30 lit just wondering 😀

  • Amazing.. I would love to get some bees to use my balcony if I can get some fresh honey… 🙂

  • That's something, Indrani…
    We do feel sad for having broken their home. I did feel guilty after a bird's next got disturbed due to my Chimney…
    Imagine 30 litres of pure fresh honey without additives!

  • Informative post and wonderfully curated. Thank you for sharing this Indrani 🙂

  • Great experience to witness the whole process starting from building the hive to extracting the honey…thanks for sharing the wonderful photographs..

  • The bees are strange creatures, they keep on giving… unlike us people. My brother had bee cultivation and I'm familiar with them. They don't harm us even when we take their honey, provided we know how to do it.

  • Thoroughly enjoyed reading the post. The pictures say so much as well. a great read indeed!

  • Wonderful expirience Indrani. You have narrated it very nicely with photos.

  • Fascinating post. I am sure the honey would taste good.

  • OMG scary too 😛

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