As the temperature outside increases so does the amount of time we spend outside. Once temperatures rise above 80 degrees, I know that I am outside as much as possible. My husband and I eat every meal we can outside. The sun. The warmth. The fresh air. The beauty of nature. The bees.
OK, so there is that one downside. The bees.
How many of us have tried to enjoy a nice dinner outside? Our fork is in one hand, whilst the other hand is flailing about trying to keep the bees off of Grandma’s freshly made potato salad. Why would bees want anything to do with Grandma’s potato salad? Why can’t they leave us alone?
A few taps of the keyboard later and I was down the blackhole of bee knowledge.
I had no idea that there are over 21,000 different species of bees in the world. Most don’t live in colonies or hives, they live all by themselves in a nest in the ground or in a hole in a tree. They spend most of their lives hibernating in their nest over the winter. Once they fly, they come out, mate, and die, living only 2-6 weeks. It’s because of this short lifespan that they don't venture far from their nest, maybe a few hundred feet at best. So, if Grandma’s potato salad is there, to the bees, it’s up for grabs.
That is except for a select few species of those many thousands of species. Seven to be exact. Those are known as Honey Bees.
Honey bees live together and rely on each other for their success. They are the ultimate team players. They behave and live meeting the needs of the individual, while at the same time keeping the common good of the hive as their top priority. They have complex social systems and fluid, tight-knit relationships not only with one another, but also with their environments. These are the bees we think of in stories, and that live in hives and swarm together.
Honey Bees have a built-in sense of responsibility. Their mission is to work, produce and sustain the colony. So, they look out for each other. They are engaged with each other, constantly sharing any information that they receive. Therefore, if one honey bee is ill, is falling behind, or needs to distract a predator, the other honey bees step up and do whatever is needed. They understand that changes can occur and hard times can happen, so they work together to prepare for disasters such as food shortages and extreme changes in temperature. They work together to keep their hive in top-notch shape, only expanding it if they need to accommodate its growing population or to hide food for an upcoming shortage.
Honeybees don’t multitask, and they are not self-centered. Each honey bee has a different job, a purpose, and they do not stray from their path. They work efficiently contributing where they are most capable. Each colony has a queen. The bees depend on their queen to do what she needs to do – grow the population - but she also is a servant to her hive. She leads without micromanaging and without being a dictator.
When we think of the positive aspects of bees, we think of the honey they produce, or the role they play in pollinating over 80% of our crops, or maybe the amazing contributions they make to our agricultural industry. But that is just scratching the surface. Honey Bees accomplish this incredible feat by being adaptable and organized, by living as they say "all for one and one for all".
Try following the advice of our busy buzzy friends, and bee yourself embracing teamwork, communication, efficiency and, and your colony, and in turn, you, will have success.