A young man who worked for me in Mississippi used to make an exclamatory statement to the effect “That’s the bees knees.” I was a bee keeper back then too, for about ten years at the time, and thought that was a wonderful thing to say. I had never thought about bees having knees – or should I say I never questioned the statement. But, over the last few years with the advent of so many problems the honey bees are being subject to – well, I’ve started to question such notions as honey bees having knees and bees wings, bee eyes, bee noise and the various parts of bees, their attitude and station in life.
My 1st collegic major was biology with a minor in botany, but my whole effort was botany – I love the flora of this creation and marvel at how reproduction of plants takes place sexually and asexually. The honey bee is man’s greatest non-human partner in the botanical word, and perhaps the keeper of (or a bellwether of) the quality of life in both it’s local and regional area for him.
Whether one is willing to recognize it or not, there is an underlying cause and support for our physical world: the spiritual world. In my opinion it is not imperative that one recognize or understand the natural world or not, the fact remains that at some point in time, if you live long enough, you will be confronted with the avalanche of natural systems – and events of this age that are temporarily destroying its quality. Frankly we must find the underlying causes and they must be stopped if life at all levels are to continue without interruption The destruction (temporary decline) of the Honey Bee in all areas of the world (or so I’m told) is one huge portion of the whole picture.
I am wanting to catalog a few points about the honeybee that is not readily considered by folks (beekeepers or not) I’ve met over my some 30 years of keeping them on my property(s) large and small. I believe that these observations will be of value to the individual that is studying/practicing bee keeping as a hobby or commercially and those that are curious about God’s divine order of his creation.
It is not my intent to change anyone’s mind about using any one type of equipment or race of bee, rather to elucidate insights into the bee as a creature created by God, captured by the ancients, domesticated by the moderns, managed for the benefit of all, but for some reason failing to thrive in the here and now.
When a baby bee emerges from the brood comb it crawls into a life in a continuous twilight, into a union of fellows that have security of locomotion by touch, taste, and smell. The young bee needs the barrier of the hive to maintain its communion, harmony and purpose. As it matures it passes through stages (like achieving rank in a military organization) when it eventually flies out to work – it carries that union of twilight with it – in it’s poison; yes, it’s sting. The whole beehive wants to be alone; by, and in itself. The poison the worker bee carries helps the bee retain communion within itself and maintains its twilight sense and status. Frankly, it uses the poison only when it thinks that something external might influence it or the bee hive.