Peace bee with you: A sign from the hive

Meesha Benefer with the honeycomb peace sign. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Meesha Benefer with the honeycomb peace sign. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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BEEKEEPERS turned peacekeepers today after discovering bees had made a peace sign on a honeycomb.

Apiarists Peter Benefer and daughter Meesha found the international symbol for peace symbol made by a colony.

Meesha, nine, made the discovery while helping her dad at Benefer’s Bee Farm in West Park, Leeds.

She said: “Every Saturday me and my dad go to the hives to check on the bees and always hope to see honey building up in the comb.

“It means I have to pull the big heavy frames out and if we are lucky and its the right time of year, we drain it together to collect honey to sell. We also have it in our porridge for breakfast.

“Last Saturday I was pulling out one of the frames and noticed there was a weird sign on one side.

“I thought it was the Volkswagen sign because I’d seen it before on my Grandad’s car. But Dad was really amazed and said the circle with the three lines inside meant world peace.”

The father-daughter team have been running their bee-keeping business for three years, and balance it on the side of schoolwork and Mr Benefer’s job in recruitment.

Mr Benefer, 38, said: “I was totally taken aback by the symbol that one of our colonies left in the honeycomb.

“Bees are known to be highly intelligent creatures and have very sophisticated means of communicating to each other.

“Obviously this is an incredible coincidence - but I have to say a little bit of me did wonder if they were trying to leave us a message.”

The avid aphiarist who spends his free time with daughter Meesha reading up on honey bees’ behaviour, said: “I’ve read all sorts of incredible things bees have been known to do, but never anything like this.

“I’ve read lots of those stories about people seeing Jesus’ face in slices of toast and their dead relatives in naan breads and whatnot, and I’ve always thought they’re just a ploy for attention seekers.

“But when I saw this there’s no way someone could have created that.

“Bees fill each cell in a piece of comb with honey and cap it off, but sometimes a few holes or large patches will just get missed and left uncapped. I’m amazed the they’ve missed out all the cells to make any sort of picture at all, let alone one which has a deep significance.”

Meesha said: “We drained all the honey from the other side using our tangential honey spinner so that it wouldn’t run out and we could put it up on the wall.

“We wanted to put it up to keep because it’s so cool and it reminds me of spending time with my dad. I want to keep it forever.”

Mr Benefer said the two would continue to run their farm in the Headingley area of Leeds together, which produces honey for his award winning cook brother Daniel, who is Head Chef at the city’s Double Tree Hilton hotel.

Kathy Grogan founded STOP (Start Treating Others Positively) nearly 30 years ago.

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