Frankly, I don't see much point in doing something in your own time if there is not going to be an element of fun. This project is combining many skills: science & observation, craft making, environmental awareness, learning, technology & computing, writing, publishing, media and video-making, team-work... and FUN.
The bees themselves are ever so slightly crazy and a true delight to observe - they bring a great sense of joy in their own right and can't help but bring out a bit of the inner child. Remember these are not honeybees with their German-esque precision and rigourously engineered hive-style. These are bumble bees and the name is well deserved. They are the slightly disorganised, slightly ungainly, bumbling cousins - sort of the Boris Johnsons of the bee world. Although, of course, the bees are adorable.
So, in this general spirit of carefree playfulness, today I painted a runway on the lawn up to the hive.
Of course, now that the hive population has grown considerably, the air traffic around the box has increased also, creating more congestion on the flight paths. The Health and Safety inspectorate demands that we move from "cottage industry" to a proper solution for controlling airspace. We'll be getting the radar next week.
Aside from that, we are just having a bit of fun and hopefully educational value. It's possible we'll have some youngsters round to observe the bees and we can use our markings not only to explain the paths our bees are taking to the fields, but also emphasise the do's and don'ts of standing in front of the hive!
Will it affect the bees?
There is the possiblity this will affect the bees, though not in an adverse way. They are known to use visual cues to identify their nest and their location and use landmarks to aid their navigation.
It's also been shown that honey bees can count in a rudimentary way. So, it may well be true that these lines aid the bumblebees with easily locating their nest. For those that have already learnt its location, it's not a problem that these lines have appeared, as they are tolerant to changes and variations - as indeed they need to be in a natural environment where the surroundings are constantly changing.
Have you lost the plot?
Nope. Just expressing creativity. On the other hand, if I find a spaceship in the garden tomorrow morning, I'll panic.
A few people have already commented on how "crazy" this is - but perhaps they just haven't heard their inner child in recent times...