O Little Hive in My Back Yard

Time once again for our annual Christmas carol. It has not been a very successful year on the blogging front, I helped plan the annual Eastern Apicultural Society conference in Virginia, which took up a bunch of my time. This is my fourth Christmas with this site, and traditions are important, so here we are.Last year we shared The Twelve Months of Beekeeping. For this year, we are please to present O Little Hive in My Back Yard, sung to the tune of O Little Town of Bethlehem. I hope you enjoy.

O little hive in my back yard
How still we see thee lie
Within thy deep and dreamless sleep
The buzzing bees go by
Yet in the cluster shineth
The one and only queen
The hopes and fears of springtime peers
Are met in her own genes

For bees are born of queen eggs
And grow within their cells
While larvae sleep, the nurse bees keep
The supply of royal jel
Then pollen mixed with honey
To make some nice bee bread
And larvae feed and pupae need
To emerge in the homestead

How silently, how silently
The wondrous eggs are lain!
The queen imparts for worker hearts
Some sperm so females are gained
And when eggs are unfertilized
You know that males are coming
Where hive bees will receive them still,
The drones will enter in.

O little hive this winter’s night
Such hopes we impart on you
For springtime boom and honey comb
When the warm days debut
For now, we listen closely
As the glad buzzings tell
The workers thrive, the queen’s alive
In this hive bees do dwell

O Little Town of Bethlehem

This classic Christmas song was written 1868 by the Episcopal priest Phillips Brooks. He wrote it for his church’s Christmas service, and his organist Lewis Redner added the music. They never expected the song to be known outside their church, until William Reed Huntington included it in his Sunday school hymn book The Church Porch in 1882.

I was debating between O Little Town of Bethlehem and a rendition of Silent Night for this post. Once I sorted out the first stanza, I was committed to O Little Town. One goal was to avoid talking about mites this year, and also include something about the winter cluster. The song is biologically accurate and tries to capture some of the hope beekeepers feel throughout the winter when thinking about the coming spring.

May you prosper and find honey.

4 thoughts on “O Little Hive in My Back Yard

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