It's fascinating how once you start thinking about something, you notice other things around you that you never saw before. Ever bought a car and suddenly that car is everywhere you go? Well, for me, bees are like that right now. A few days ago, I ran across a statistic that claimed 30% of all the bees in the world have disappeared in the last two years. Yep, the last two years. Poof. Now, I don't know that statistic to be true, but I do know there was a rash of news articles in 2007 all claiming that the bees were in decline, mysteriously so. Some authors feared that cellular phones are to blame (they aren't) or the rise of genetically altered crops, nicotine based pesticides (gee, tobacco could even be bad for bugs) or just a weakness in the genes of honeybees. Nobody knows for sure just why they are disappearing, abandoning their hives and their Queens, but everyone who has a stake in bees is concerned about it.
Ok, so I was reading about bees, then I happened to watch Bee Movie (with Jerry Seinfeld and Renee Zellweiger), which again stressed how important bees are for pollinating our lives. I've been painting some old furniture, trying to give it a new lease on life, and the pattern that I finally decided on for stenciling on a table top turns out to be a honey bee quilt block. My planned garden at the new house will be featuring sunflowers and lavender - two bee favorites, it turns out.
So, what does all this mean? Well, besides the obvious fact that I am easily obsessed with things, I think it means that bees have had an impact on humans for a long time. We eat their honey, we rely on them to pollinate crops, we take their likeness and incorporate it into our culture. In short, we dig Bees. Maybe not one-on-one, maybe not getting stung, but as a group, we think they are pretty nifty.
And so we should. Any critter that communicates through dancing can't be all bad. Maybe a little Bee-In, a little Bee appreciation would convince these important insects to hang around. We could throw them a garden party, flowers served on our best china, with a seat reserved for their Queen.
Bee links for the curious:
Adopt a Hive in Maryland.
Bee friendly plants for your garden.
Handmade gifts and housewares celebrating Bees.
Recipes featuring Honey.