What I’ve learned from Bees
Michigan State University has an interesting article that states, “It has often been said that bees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat.” Bees are the main insect pollinators for vegetables and crops. European honey bees are the largest managed pollinators, but their are hundreds of other species of solitary bees that are extremely important to pollinating our world.
As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, we use a Solitary Leaf Cutter Bee to help pollinate our U-pick Summer Garden and Rental Plots, but this year with the help of Cathi Clarke (who did ALL the work), we added two honey bee hives to the farm.
Cathi Clarke, Stoney Creek Farm Beekeeper
Our two honey bee hives have taught us invaluable Life Lessons that we didn’t expect to Learn! Here are some of those lessons:
- Ego is not important
Everybody in the hive knows their job and they do it to the best of their ability for the good of the hive. Yes, there is a ‘Queen Bee’, but she has a purpose, just like the rest of the hive. So don’t let jealously about position or title in an organization make you discontent or unhappy…do your job to the best of your ability by making a difference in the world around you.
- Working together is essential
A dissatisfied or weak bee colony will swarm (mutiny) from the hive or collapse (die). So it is important for all the bees to support the hive, keep out the predators, and set up the colony for future success.
- Plan for the Future (to be sustainable)
Since this is the first year of our two bee hives, Cathi is leaving the honey flow in the hives to support the bees for the coming winter. Bees need to survive the winter, so food is essential. She may have to supplement their food supply, if that amount of honey is not enough. By leaving the honey flow, we will have stronger and more vigorous hives next year…THEN we can take a good bit of honey after the hive can sustain itself!
- Defend your family against outside forces
Predators are notorious for killing honey bee hives. Mites, beetles and wax moths are only a few of the evil forces that can kill the hive. Bees are great at defending the hive against predators, but sometimes bee keepers have to help keep the hive safe as the number of predators grow. Just like bees, sometimes we have to enlist help of others to keep our family safe and protected…so don’t hesitate to get the help you need.
- ‘Bee’ the best you can, for the time you are on Earth
Depending on the role of the bee, some have lifecycles of only 3-4 weeks. During that time, the worker bees are literally working as hard as they can to gather as much pollen for the hive as possible. Their time on earth is limited and very important for the health of the hive and producing new replacement workers. Wouldn’t it be great if we all looked at our lives with that kind of urgent purpose?
So in conclusion, if we all lived our lives with the simplicity of purpose that bees use in their family (hive), we could improve our world …one day at a time.
To read more of the fascinating Michigan State article (cited above), simply click this link http://www.canr.msu.edu/nativeplants/pollination/
Olin and Leigh, Stoney Creek Farm