Thursday, August 2nd, 2018
While this photo may give a lot of you the heebee jeebies, I can honestly say “not me!”.
I love bees. If you’ve followed my blog since last summer, you know my advocate stance on our pollinators.
After standing elbow deep over a hive, my face inches from thousands of bees, I have no fear.
I should also note that I don’t have an allergy to bees, so for those of you out there who do, I understand the hesitation and the aversion.
But for those of you who were simply taught to fear bees, consider changing your perspective.
You go to the grocery store all the time right? You pick up what your family needs, even if that means making multiple stops at different locations. You haul bags of items and food in and out of your car, up and down stairs, putting it all away into your pantry or refrigerator for future use. A relatively simple, average, everyday act, right? Only if your life was threatened would that interrupt your errands, make you act out in self defense.
Bees are no different from us.
Check out this guy. This sunflower is his grocery store. He’ll bop from this flower, to the clover in your yard, to the annuals on your front porch – all in an effort to gather food (or at least materials to make food). He’ll fill the special pollen sacs on his legs at each stop, then fly back home to unload it, giving it to other members of the hive to create and store food. He then heads back out to do it all again, because that is his role in his family.
So let’s say he’s gathering pollen from the clover in your yard. At the same moment, your kids run through the yard barefoot, step on said bee, and bee stings. An innocent move on your kids part, absolutely, but you can’t blame the bee for defending himself either.
Let’s say you’re sitting out in your yard, and a bee buzzes around your head. Yes, while very intimidating, take it as a compliment! You smell good to him, and he’s attempting to figure out if you’re a flower he can gather from. Let him buzz, and he’ll move on. He’s not there to come and sting you, he’s just out living life.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “[…] pollinators such as bees, birds and bats affect 35 percent of the world’s crop production, increasing outputs of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide, as well as many plant-derived medicines. […] Pollination is critical for food production and human livelihoods, and directly links wild ecosystems with agricultural production systems.”
While pollinator decline is attributed to naturally occurring parasites as well as the lack of habitat, you can help! Plant flowers in your garden and landscaping that aide in pollinator habitat and don’t spray your dandelions. I don’t enjoy seeing those yellow flowers in my yard either, but that is a factor in pollinator decline, specifically with bees. (Here is a short and sweet little article from the UMN on bees and insecticides, if you’re interested.)
They really are fascinating, hardworking animals, and I hope that the next time you see a bee, you think of this awesome little guy full of pollen, high on life, and that it makes you smile instead of cringe. And hopefully, with time, this lends a new perspective on bees for you.