The Bees Knees August 20, 2020

When I was a kid, my Dad use this phrase to discribe something little and cute. When I think of honey bees or bumble bees I have another opinion.

I like many people lump bees with other stinging insects and avoid them. Recently, I was visiting an old friend who was a bee keeper. He has a large garden and orchard for the bees to pollinate. He took us to view the hive boxes and the activity around them. We were about 15 feet away. I heard the low buzzing. I was given a description of the complex dance of communication that occurred outside each hive.

He showed us a hive box that was on the top of a step ladder. he noted that on his last inspection of the hives, a second Queen left with half of the bees to form a swarm. He located the swarm in an old box elder tree. It was high up in the top branches. My friend had to cut the tree down and started to retrieve the Queen and her swarn. “So why is the box on the ladder?” He said that not all the bees were in the box. The stragglers would come to the swarm and enter the hive box. Then he can take the box back to the hive area.

Though the bees were flying around me, they were too busy to pay attention to us .

I learned that bees are needed for a third of our food sources. Vegetables, fruit and nuts need the busy insects to help with pollination.

A honey bee unlike wasps can sting only once. The bee dies after stinging. They will sting only to protect the hive. Wasps will sting multiple times.

After the bee encounter, I am willing to share my outdoor space with such a helpful and needed insect.

Golden rods glow in the field.

beckon to the honey bees.

Filled with nectar for winter’s food.

abundant, life-giving, bee feeders

nature provides so bees can survive.

and so can we.

appeared in the fall weekly Avocet 2019

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