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Busy bees flying

Why is the buzzing of a fly so annoying, while that of a bee is not?

The buzzing of bees sounds intensely satisfied, that’s why

If you have ever stood with your head in a huge wisteria (like me), or near a “wall” of jasmine, then you understand. Imagine you’re a bee or a bumblebee, and you spend your whole life flying from marvellous scent to delicious aroma – that would also make you buzz happily.

They are also cuddly, if they weren’t so small, fluffy and soft. I really like bumblebees, they couldn’t even fly according to the laws of aerodynamics, did you know that? They are proportionately too big and too heavy for that, but it doesn’t bother them. They don’t give a hoot, they just fly where ever they want. Which usually goes from nice smell to the next perfume. Man, what a life.

There are thousands of different species of bees. Very occasionally I saw a large black bee with green eyes in our garden. I did not know what I saw! First: a huge fly? But luckily not….

A fly first becomes an annoyance that you can no longer ignore by buzzing right past your ears

Then perching on your screen or on the edge of your plate so that you can’t do anything with your fly swatter. If he has kept this up for a while, he suddenly disappears, while you have pushed your chair back like a madman, with your fly swatter, with the all-consuming thought that you will catch him, even if it is the last thing you do!

As a result, you leave your bread-and-honey for a while, and when you return to your spot without having accomplished anything, he has thrown up on it (because that is the fly’s way of digestion), and is about to eat it, so that reduces your appetite quite a bit. You’ve lost, and steam comes out of your ears. Then he sits down contentedly and rubs his paws on the edge of the sugar bowl.

Another human brought to the brink of madness. Mission accomplished.

A completely different character than a bee or a bumblebee. We’re not going to talk about them anymore, flies are apparently unavoidable, unfortunately, but there are not many yet – summer has not started. In July the Fly God presses the Fly Button, and then they suddenly appear in large numbers.

Some good advice: you can easily avoid flies if you maintain tropical hygiene and keep your kitchen dim and cool. Flies like warm and dirty. And fly strips work great! Maybe a sign of my bad character, but I find the buzz of a fly that can’t get off of that strip very satisfying. Ha!

Bees and bumblebees are a lot more interesting

There are many in Portugal. This is caused by quite a few beekeepers. Small enterprises, it seems, because I regularly come across these types of colonies in the woods.

Beekeepers can get help from the government through banks such as Crédito Agrícola, originally the portuguese bank for agricultors. The subsidy isn’t much, but it helps. Beekeepers usually do it as a side hustle because they are affected by the existence of bees. Bees give the impression that they voluntarily set up a democratic society and work with love to ensure the success of their enterprise, namely survival and making honey.

When you see them working like this, it seems like they are doing their utmost to get food and make the cribs so that Her Majesty can lay her eggs. It is very different from ants, which have a comparable degree of civilization but make a much more soldierly impression. Once the egg lies comfortably in the nourishing fluid, they seal it up, and a bee that the Queen has desired will hatch.

She decides what it will be: hard worker, Lady in Waiting, sperm donor, or the next Queen

If multiple Queens emerge at the same time, it becomes a fight to the death and only one remains. For the rest, they are quite gentle creatures. They won’t stab you for no reason, because that will kill them. They aren’t that interested in people anyway, although they can remember if you are nice to them and give them a treat.

We have a regular dealer for our honey, Graça. She sells honey at the Sunday market in Louriçal. Eucalyptus honey (of course, in this Eucalyptusland) but also a dark kind. Which flowers that is from is her secret.

Not a bad life, as a bee. Certainly not a bad life as a beekeeper. Surrounded by flowers, nice smells, satisfied buzzing, and always fresh honey on your bread!


We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal.

A big step, especially with two small children.

We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday houses, rooms and a campsite.

You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation

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