Listen to the Bees

tumblr_n5fuqjRuHo1sh7uxvo1_1280The poet, Nazimi (c. 1200) wrote:

“A hornet seized a bee, intending to devour it. The bee begged for its life and said, “My hive contains so much honey, I myself am of so little worth, why do you not go to the hive and leave me in peace?” The hornet replied, “The hive is sweet because of the honey in it, but you must be sweeter as you are the source and spring of the honey.”

These words are so powerful to me. Honey is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to these astounding creatures.

When I started beekeeping I had no idea what I was doing. As a little girl I was fascinated by insects and their tiny, yet tremendous lives, and I knew honey bees were the most interesting “bug” I’d read about. I was traveling when my dad called to say he started a few beehives in our yard. I flew home and upon first sight I fell madly in love with the thousands of humming beauties. I worked with bees during the rest of my travels and learned a lot from the different beekeepers I met in many places. Everyone I encountered knew so much yet so little all at once.

photo (1)

Honey bees have been here for millions of years yet they have not changed much- a perfect species all along. They are unparalleled in the animal kingdom. Each bee in the colony has individual traits yet as a whole the colony has a social partnership. They have a language all their own that far surpasses the most intricate human language. They are the most studied insect on earth.


We should all learn from the bees. Not only do they contribute wax, pollen, propolis, royal jelly and of course the illustrious honey, they are also the most fundamental pollinator of our crops. The life sustaining nourishment we depend on.

photo (3)Eight years after we started and with 130 colonies, I am still learning so much about these beautiful, buzzing creatures. They have taught me more about life and love and what really matters in this world than I ever could have imagined. So listen to the bees. Do some more research, read books, watch documentaries, go to local meetings, talk to people, but just know… once you become a part of the bees there is no turning back. You’ll be forever captivated.

Lynn works at MOM’s in Herndon.

See more of Lynn’s pictures on her bee tumblr, and see her video of the roof bees at MOM’s of Alexandria.  Happy Honey Bee Day!

This entry was posted in Ecology, Farmers, Local and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Listen to the Bees

  1. Several years ago, I saw lots of reports about the mysteriously disappearing bees. Is this still threatening our food production or has the problem been adequately handled?

  2. alyssabdh says:

    To IWfM: While I believe “colony collapse disorder” is on the decline overall, it is still happening. Additionally, the more visible issues of disappearing food and dwellings, and the targeted pesticide use is still negatively affecting bee populations. I think reporting that the once-terrifying rate of colony collapse disorder is declining has actually made people think bees are ok now.

    While that issue is slowly declining, bees are still in big trouble due to these other factors. This appears to be true for other major pollinators as well, like Monarch butterflies for one example. In order to preserve a healthy food system (or any food system), we need to protect and promote pollinators.

    Here is a great (and current) overview of colony collapse disorder from the USDA:

  3. Trisha says:

    I strongly agree that we should constantly agree the bees. They contribute a lot on our crops. If not because of them, there will be no delicious honey.. oh .. most especially the organic honey in the market. Those were my choice. I wish to try what you have learned, too. I know that more research about the colonies and life of a bee can captivate my heart, too.

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