Honey bees bring out a range of emotions in people. We generally accept the Cheerios mascot and the Simpsons' Bumblebee Man to be pretty good guys (okay, maybe not) but for some reason, when it comes to real bees, we sometimes tend to get a little weirded out. Perhaps we're intimidated by the bees' admirable work ethic. Maybe their reputations get sullied by their more aggressive cousins like wasps and hornets. (Who, by the way, are shunned at even a bee's family picnic.) Or, it could be the fact that, as a last resort, and for the sole purpose of protecting the hive, a bee will get all kamikaze on your exposed skin. It has all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster.
The fact of the matter is, bees are pretty cool little buggers. They pollinate crops like nobody's business, eat locally, make honey, and have been wearing black before it was trendy. They were "Brooklyn hipster" before Brooklyn was even in diapers.
The DC Parks and Recreation has a very popular class in raising and caring for honeybees in urban spaces, including rooftops and backyards. The equipment and safety gear is provided, and graduates leave with the knowledge needed to manage their own hives. Additionally, there are several hives that the DCPR maintains across the city that are maintained my alumni of the class.
TWO Favorite Things that I learned on the shoot:
1) Boy honeybees, or drones, are the ones that look like they're wearing aviator sunglasses. (Now try not to picture Tom Cruise in Top Gun as a bee.)
2) When a bunch of bees are about to get all gangster on you, one of them will often pop you in the forehead to warn you that you need to buzz off.