As we’re nearing the end of the month, I didn’t want June to pass without acknowledging and celebrating National Pollinators Month. And while butterflies, hummingbirds, bats, and other pollinators all deserve praise and appreciation, I confess bees have my greatest love. It’s only fair after all, since I’m named after them.
Our pollinators, and particularly our bees, are in serious danger, with multiple interacting issues at play. Clear to almost everyone is the critical issue of pesticide exposure, but we must also take into consideration the effect of extensive GMO farming practices; habitat loss; pathogens; and generalized stress. While we know much of what needs to be done and what changes need to be made, it’s probably safe to say there will be no government support forthcoming to rectify things. So more and more it’s up to us to do what we can. Which means, among other things, planting and supporting pollinator-friendly gardens; demanding and supporting organic food production; being very vocal and active opposing GMOs; and of course committing to the support of as many environmental actions as we can. Clearly we need to be as busy as the bees are.
My love of bees has led me over the years to intriguing obscure facts, symbolic meanings, and folklore. For instance, the Pythia, oracle priestess, was known as the Delphic Bee. The ancient Egyptian book of Am-Tuat compares the voices of souls to the hum of bees. And Pythagoreans revered bees as sacred creatures of Aphrodite who knew how to create perfect hexagons in their honeycombs. Incidentally these very units of the honeycomb, the hexagonal cells, have walls that are only 2/1000 of an inch thick, and yet are able to support 25 times their own weight.
If we peeked inside a hive, I wonder if we would see something as delightful as this piece of art by Natsuo Ikegami. I can’t help but laugh.
Also delightful, and somewhat sobering, is this Brainpickings article A Brief History of How Bees Sexed Up Earth and Gave Flowers Their Colors. I hope you take the time to read it, but if not, do head over just for a peek at the bee costume. Seriously, where were these wonders in my childhood?!
As I celebrate my bee friends, I can’t help but think of Mary Oliver’s poem Hum, which is about bees amid the roses. This is my favorite bit:
“The bees have gone simple, sipping,
that’s all. What did you expect? Sophistication?
They’re small creatures and they are
filling their bodies with sweetness, how could they not
moan in happiness?”
How I wish there was always happiness for our bees, and that we’ll always be able to hear their humming. I, for one, will do my best to say thank you whenever I see one. And whenever I see a flower, I’ll be sure to say thank you to the bees as well. Isn’t that a perfect way to spend the summer – in gratitude and enjoyment?
Hey Deborah Bee,
That is indeed a wonderful costume!! Thank you for loving the bees and for advocating for them. I love them too, so much. Not as many this year as usual. Each year, it seems there are less. Yes! You are right! It is up to us, as there will bee no support from our government.
Also, something to watch out for is when creating a garden for bees, it is paramount to remember that we must buy heritage seeds, as many store bought seeds have within them good ol’ Monsanto GMO pesticides within their DNA. Yuck!!
Yes, gratitude for the bees!!! May they live on.
Have a wonderful bee filled weekend!
Excellent point about the heritage seeds Mary!
I was quite depressed to hear about the flooding of the seed bank in Iceland due to the melting of the permafrost . And while there was no damage to the seeds at this point, it’s still a very distressing situation.
Hi Deborah – we are so short of pollinators now – humans have a capacity to endanger life itself … nature is wonderful in that it does what it can to keep itself and us going … long live the bees – they are special. Thanks for the reminder … cheers Hilary
We are indeed a catastrophic danger to life and the Earth herself Hilary. If only we would turn our efforts in a positive direction! Love live the bees indeed – they are magical and powerful creatures we owe so much to.
The Princess Bee! What a lovely picture! Thank you for the reminder of Pollinator’s Month Deborah. We don’t have such a one here in SA but believe me, when I see a bee/s I get quite excited! Also so interesting about the Pythagorean appreciation of their honeycombs and their strength. The bees hum sounding like the voices of souls – pure poetry ..
And yes, we each have to do what we can – NOT using GMO anything, pesticides, anything that upsets the balance of nature ..
I find that every time I see a bee, I think about our environment, and so I’ve come to think of them as beautiful little ambassadors. If only more of us would listen!
This is fantastic! I have been promoting SAVE THE HONEYBEE for a couple years now. And I am doing a craft project with the children at our local library to help spread the word, as well as planting flowers. The local honeybee man is coming to do a presentation, too! It’s all good! Thanks Deborah! And since you mentioned bats, I do hope that the decline of the brown bat population gets reversed…we did just hang a new bathouse in hopes that it would work. Aloha Friend!
Oh Vicki – yay for libraries and craft projects and honeybee men – what a fabulous gathering of summer wonder! And I hope your bat house is well-populated. Love may our pollinators thrive!