The Bees Tell Us

Photo: Kym MacKinnon/Unsplash

Bees have a special place in my heart. I have apprenticed myself to their wonder and magic for over 10 years. It’s time to hear a word from the bees who I have been sitting shiva with for many years as they have been dying in great numbers.

Around the world, bee species are in decline at the rate of 40%. This should sound the alarm for us as humans, since bees contribute to 1 in 3 bites of our favorite foods and pollinate 85% of all flowers, fruits, nuts and seeds in our eco systems. They have been called keystone species because their survival is linked to the survival of all species— including humans. 

Some have called me a bee whisperer. But, I am quite sure that it is the bees that whisper their secrets to me. So what do the bees tell me these days??

The bees tell me that they have already suffered their COVID 19 pandemic. In 2006 the honeybees mysteriously began to die. It was dubbed “colony collapse,” due to the agricultural importing of the Varroa mite. This menace clings onto the bee’s fat body, deforming and sucking out its life juices. Mites eventually destroy the hive’s immune system over time. But the bees have learned how to adapt and evolve new ways of bee-ing in a world with Varroa mites. They teach us that we need to strengthen Mother Earth’s immune system, and preserve boundaries between human and nature, if we are to survive the viruses yet to come. We must quell our need to exploit every living system. Leave the wild alone and enhance healthy zones of nature in our cities and towns and they tell me more…..

Anita Amstutz. Photo supplied.

The bees tell me that it was 1000 little cuts not just one big disaster that led to their ongoing demise.  A few of those cuts are climate change, pesticide use both in backyards and by big agriculture, and rampant urban development of wild spaces and farmlands. If bees and humans are to have food security, we must address all of these colliding catastrophes.

 The bees tell me that we can be an ally to them as they struggle to adapt, mitigate and become resilient to human made disturbances. One way is to provide food for them. Ornamental plants have absolutely zero nutritional values for bees in our landscapes. They have been bled of their pollen and nectar for human allergy purposes. Instead, like us, the bees want to tell us they love a smorgasbord of native plants, fruit trees and flowering vegetables. They are attracted to many and diverse flowers to stay healthy.  

Photo: Andrew Coop/Unsplash

The bees tell me that they can no longer stomach pesticides, insecticides, GMO’s, industrial abuse or poisoning of their food system. Stop buying seeds that are coated with RoundUp ready poison or neonicotinoids. Now is the time to “right size” and “fly right”, purchasing food from our local foodsheds and economies that match our watershed’s carrying capacity and are committed to poison free, habitat enhancing community agriculture.

The bees tell me that 99% of hives are worker bees, all female, not royalty. Only one is the queen. Even so, all must be cared for in the hive for all to survive, thrive, and not suffer. Food security must be for everyone.

The bees tell me that the whole hive is important, not just one individual or a few. Every being in the hive deserves food grown with clean water, soil, and air. Bees remind me of the commonwealth and the gift economy. Our fortunes are interlinked with theirs and we must evolve together. We depend on every other living being for our survival. 

The bees tell me that everything from their hive is a gift—whether honey, pollen, propolis, or royal jelly. And they remind me that we can all share and barter our gifts with each other and we can offer them gifts of flowers. 

You may continue hearing from the bees at Think Like a Bee. Praise bee.                                                                                 by Anita Amstutz

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