She Spends Her Days With Bees, But Can’t Hear Them Buzz

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Scent is another important mode of correspondence for the bees. They emit a pheromone with a banana-like aroma to signal alarm, and another that smells like lemongrass, which acts as a homing beacon. Paying attention to such subtle nuances requires a kind of patience that wouldn’t be possible if Kaye were operating within a larger factory model, where efficiency and success are measured against honey production volume rather than hive resiliency.

Perhaps above all else, what makes Kaye an exceptional beekeeper is almost philosophical. Excelling at her job has everything to do with adaptation, managing the countless variables that arise on any given day. Is there too much rain? Too little? When will the flowers bloom? Will they produce enough nectar? She responds accordingly, making sure not to disrupt the bees’ rhythm and balance. Accepting these uncertainties is essential. “There is a spiritual side to beekeeping,” she said. “You can’t fully control them, like with anything in nature, really. Some years you get a great honey season. Some years are horrible and you lose 50 percent of your hive. There’s a lot of heartbreak but a lot of joy in it, too, just working outside with these creatures—a living superorganism.”


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Author:Landon Speers, as told to Bon Appétit | Website:www.bonappetit.com

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