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  • Dr. Henry J. Svec

Bees Take Bribes

As things continually change around us, from what is happening in the U.S. to our own province of Ontario, many of you may be looking for some stability, some sense of tradition and predictability. The answer may be flying around you. This past weekend, we attended a seminar on the harvesting of honey from bees. It was a great 2 hours of stories and a demonstration with a hands on chance to uncap a frame and then taste the honey. It was offered by Bria Lee’s Bees, a start-up in Dresden, Ontario: Although they have a waiting list for their fresh natural honey, I would suggest you contact them to reserve yours today. Since only 10% of the bottle of honey you buy in a store is real honey, the rest being sugar water, some other stuff including corn syrup, you need to get a natural provider such as Bria Lee’s to stock your shelves. Here are some things we learned that bees have been doing for millions of years that easily translate to our society of times past. It’s a breath of fresh air to say the least.

  1. Females are the most important gender in a bee hive. They do all of the work, the thinking, the laying of the eggs and the planning. The males are only good for one thing, and after that, most are destroyed. Males that aren’t destroyed loaf around the hive all day and are only needed if a new queen needs to find a partner for a few minutes. In a hive, there is a difference between men and women.

  1. You have to work your way up. Worker bees start with the most boring and mundane of tasks, working their way up to guarding the hive, then the final premium job of flying out and scouting or gathering nectar and pollen. You don’t just start at the top because you are a relative of the queen. You have to earn your job. Nepotism in a hive has no value.

  1. Bees have strict rules. There are certain things you do or don’t do. Everything is predictably mapped out and planned.

  1. Bees work as a team. They do everything every day for the betterment of the colony. They take a bullet for each other. When a bee stings another insect, they do not die, but when they sting a mammal they do. If a mouse enters the hive it is quickly killed which means many bees die in the battle. The others circle the mouse with a special coating to mummify it to prevent any disease from entering the colony. It’s too big for the bees to move out so they just work around it once the casing is sealed.

  1. Bees take bribes. If a bee from another colony tries to enter the hive, the guards fight them off unless they can bribe the guards with some nectar or pollen, then the invader is let in just once to take some honey, but is never let in again. A one-time bribe rule seems to be the standard.

  1. Bees have a work ethic like no other. The work ethic helps them survive, but leads to a premature death in the spring and summer. When they work less in the winter they live longer.

  1. Bees communicate with each other: Where the flowers are, when there is danger, and so on. Communication is the necessity of life.

Bees can teach us many things, the most important may be while learning about them we don’t have time to think of the idea of fake news, fake politicians and the injustice we see each day. Start today.

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