Bees- they are one of our smallest creatures,
but are probably the most important
species for life on earth, as we know it!
What would we do without them ?!
Earlier this year, in June I watched a Mary Berry programme, where she met with a beekeeper to find out about the production of one very important ingredient that she uses in her baking and natural drinks – Honey! The beekeeper explained that the average female worker bee lives about 6 weeks, 3 of these are spent working. The male honeybee (drone) doesn’t really work. He only collects enough to feed himself. He sits around waiting until the Queen bee can be bothered with him, or until the Queen bee gives him permission to come into her presence.
I discovered that 1/3 teaspoon of honey is the lifetime’s supply from the work of one worker bee.
How precious is honey!
I have recently become fascinated with bees, to the point where I went on a little adventure last week. An event was arranged by the Lagan Valley Regional Park (LVRP) held at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park, entitled ‘Bumbling with Bees’. This was the first of its kind, but the first of many, I hope. Quite a large group of us walked through the gardens in search of bees, lead by Nichola and Genevieve (LVRP) and Aoibhinn (Northern Ireland Environment Agency) and after a very interesting talk by Nichola, our task was to find and identify some of the species of bumble bees native to the UK. ( See below: ‘Bumbling with Bees’ exploration: Queen bee caught by one of the event leaders, for identification and a photo and immediately released within a few minutes). Apparently there are approximately 225 species of solitary bees, 24 species of bumble bees and only 1 species of honeybee.
Bees are vital for life.
Bees just don’t take – they give. Well it’s quite well known that the honey bee makes honey, but what else do they do and what about the other 249 species? Well, they don’t just take nectar from flowers – they are our main pollinators – our main food producers. David Attenborough strikes a warning note, “Bumblebees are key factors in our wildlife. If they disappear, many of our plants will not bear fruit”. It has been suggested that, “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” (attributed to Albert Einstein). Sadly this is becoming true. There has been a huge decline in bees since 1980, due to many factors, including climate change, pesticides, and the way farming is carried out generally.
So you are probably wondering by now – why am I writing about bees? Well, they are not only vital to life, but we can learn a lot from them and lessons in how we, as human beings, live.
There is a certain order in the hive. Even though it may not look it, there is. The bees have vision much different from ours (they have 5 eyes) and they know what their purpose is instinctively and each of them have a different task.
Knowing what our vision and purpose and work is – this is so important.
We weren’t created to be entertained in life – to watch TV all day or to do everything for our pleasure, like so many of our celebrities seem to think. We were created to create and be creative. Being entertained doesn’t bring lasting happiness. Knowing what our purpose is and doing it brings a sense of fulfilment and achievement and success, and I don’t mean just the material kind. I help people to discover and realise their purpose. Some already know it, but just don’t have the confidence to go for it and I help with that too.
Honey bees or bumble bees have to learn to work together. The drones have a purpose too, but they don’t work. They feed, only 1 out of 7 mate, and then they die, necessary to life (to create), but not productive in the wider sense. The female worker bees, however, are very productive. Working as a team and in community, is the secret to their success. There are thousands of honey bees working together in one hive (hundreds in a bumblebee hive). Living at peace with others is the way to success.
Interesting too, that there are also so many species of solitary bees – so there is room in the world for us self-employed folk to interact with all of the rest of the community, doing our part.
Bees are productive and they give to others.
By pollination, they produce food for us very efficiently, saving us a fortune, billions of pounds actually. We need to work to the best of our ability. To be smart, to use our time wisely. It doesn’t mean working all the time. It’s getting the right balance in our lives. Time for others, time for work, time for rest, time for exercise, time for our faith etc (what we coaches call work/life balance) We need to take care of what we have, our health, our families, our friends and our homes. Because, what we don’t take care of, we lose.
As you’ve probably noticed, I sometimes get a bee in my bonnet about things, but hopefully we all get a bee in our bonnets about the things that matter.
And lastly I’m just thinking, maybe this interest of mine, in bees runs in the family. I can remember when my sisters and I were small watching daddy feeding the bees. Yes, this big, gentle, quiet man walking round the garden with a little teaspoon of sugared water, patiently stooping, and taking time to revive those bees, one by one! I didn’t realise the importance of it at the time, but maybe he knew his part in saving our environment all those years ago!
If you wish to know more about bees, or how you can help them, there are lots of websites you can refer to. This one is pretty good https://bumblebeeconservation.