In the last 7 years, if I have learned NOTHING else from working with our honeybees...I have learned a healthy respect and admiration for them!
Their fierce sense of loyalty and dedication to the hive, their strong sense of community and commitment to the hive family; and a superior work ethic that leads them to be perpetually busy. Hence the adage, “As busy as a Bee”. Admired throughout history; and it is said the ancient Egyptians and Greeks even revered them for it!
Today, there is very little that compares with the unbelievable efficiency and productivity of the honeybee. Each bee within the beehive has its own specific job and the entire process runs like clockwork, but only because, each one knows what they are supposed to do and does it to the very best of their ability!
Honeybees are an incredibly fascinating, remarkably organized society. They live in colonies which generally consist of a queen, hundreds of male drones and anywhere from 20,000 to 80,000 female worker bees (female workers...what else is new! :-).
However, the truly amazing thing about them lies in their natural instinctive behavior! A bee colony or hive operates like a sort of super-organism in which no single bee can survive on its own. As an organism, they have a clear goal and singleness of purpose; and each member is aware of and dedicated in their work towards achieving that purpose. The queen can lay up to 2,000 eggs a day; and in their short life-time (4-5 weeks), worker bees will visit millions of flowers and fly over an estimated 48,000 miles to gather nectar and pollen. The duties of a worker bee also include - cleaning, feeding, caring for the queen, comb building, ventilating the hive, packing pollen, water, nectar or honey into the combs, protecting the hive and executions (yup...including eliminating useless male drones. Okay, and the odd unwanted queen).
Yet with all that, there is a clear division of labor and every bee must carry out their own duties and co-operate with one another for their own survival, as well as, that of the whole colony. Philosophies of Individualism, Self-indulgence and Minimalism have no place in their society! Everything is about the “whole” - the organism, and collaborating for the benefit of all. They are willing to work as hard as possible to ensure that the goal is not only achieved, but even superseded. Seems to me we humans could learn a lot from them!
As individuals, all of us need to consider this example from nature. Somehow we have to learn to work together as a team/community and become more organized and productive if we are all to survive and thrive! This is not only true of us as individuals, its true of our families, our churches, our businesses, our communities, our governments and our nations.
In today’s world none of us can flourish on our own, we need others in our lives for friendship, assistance and support. We must build and maintain relationships and as such we need to behave with and treat with respect, those with whom we live and work and who support us along life’s journey! But, as with all things moderation...like the bees, remember to stop every now and again and smell the flowers!