Friday, February 11, 2011

Messages From The Bees......

"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."  Albert Einstein, (1879-1955) Theoretical Physicist
Original artwork by The Girl Who Paints
A young friend of mine sent me a painting she had made of a bee. I thought the bee had a thoughtful look on her face, and that made me want to tell the story of why the bees are concerned, and why we should be too.

The honey bee is one of the earth's most important creatures. Beside making honey, they pollinate over 80% of the world's crops. They live in complex societies. A single hive may contain as many as 80,000 bees, which together build the hive, gather food and feed the next generation. They find flowers to gather nectar by merging many sources of information including the position of the sun and the subtle nuance of a flower's scent. When they come back to their hive, they waggle out a dance to tell the other honeybees where to find the flowers.

Sadly it seems that the bees are disappearing. Over the past 30 years, various diseases and predators affecting bees have spread all over the world. Their environments are being manipulated by humans, resulting in the breakdown of their societal order. Stressed to their breaking point, the bees are leaving. 

In many cases commercial bees are so domesticated, they can no longer live without human support. They are stored in air tight containers where diseases like viruses and funguses and pests like mites grow, destroying the hives from the inside out. They are artificially fed sugar-water and trucked about in big rigs, traveling thousands of miles in short periods of time, in order to pollinate crops for commercial farmers. Aside from the continual exposure to a hundreds of insecticides and pesticides, constant relocation creates enormous stress on the hive activity. And wild bees are disappearing too.

Bees are showing many symptoms that reveal a fragile state of health. Some bees cannot find their way back to their hive after leaving it. Others are rejected when they return because they are not recognized by the rest of the group.

Newer insecticides introduced in the 1980s are neurotoxins, which are applied when crops are sown (sunflower, soy, etc.) and serve to protect the crops against various predators. Studies are showing that these toxic chemicals remain on plants throughout the growing cycle, right through the flowering period. The nectar eaten by bees also contains chemical residues that are deeply harmful to them. Because of this, honey production has dropped by a third generally, and by up to 90% in some areas.

Bees have to fly farther and farther distances to gather pollen because their supportive environment is disappearing. Cities and suburban areas are growing. This has a disastrous effect on bees in particular because, while most pollinators pick up the fertilizing spores by accident while trolling flowers for nectar, bees collect pollen for their young.

But, the strangest part of the missing bee mystery is the most interesting. There are no dead bees to be found. There are a few dead soldiers scattered on the ground, but millions and millions of bees are gone. They are not in the hive, at the hive, or close by. Many abandoned hives are full of honey. So where did they go? Perhaps the honeybees had enough of our interference. Perhaps they know what man has done to them and they just prefer to fly away. 
(Some information for this blog post was shared from "Organic Principal Web Magazine" )


  1. This is very interesting, and I'd read some of what you wrote before, but I didn't know the bees are not to be found once they've died. It got me to thinking, perhaps they become desiccated quickly and simply blow away. It's sad, but I've also read that it might be something cyclical. We can hope that their population will rebound. Florida has a big bee industry, so we often get information about them in the papers.

    Thanks for the informative post. Very cute picture. Have a nice Valentine's Weekend. patsye

  2. *Ahem* What? No reference to the Mother of The Girl Who Paints, whose name means Bee? :)
    Informative essay, thanks, I learned a lot. The Girl has a comment now:

    Hi, Max: I thought that since the bees are leaving, it's very sad. I only read the beginning because I told Mama, It's too long!
    Thank you for posting my picture.
    I like my alias name.
    From: The Girl Who Paints

  3. Patsye, thank you for your perceptive comments. You could be right! Perhaps the bees dessicate (the process of extreme drying) and just turn to dust before their little bodies can be discovered, and they simply blow away on the wind.... or, perhaps they are the sentinels on the ramparts. Maybe they are the first sign that something is horribly wrong with our practice of polluting the Earth and ourselves? Time will tell, but will we be told in time to rectify the folly of our ways?

  4. Dear Deborah, Mother of The Girl Who Paints and Whose Name Means Bee:

    I am so sorry I did not give you a mothers' billing on this blog post... Mea Culpa! Without you there would be no Girl Who Paints :)

    Dear Girl Who Paints: You are right, it is sad that the bees are leaving. You did not have to read any further than got the message. Thank you so much for painting your beautiful picture of the Thoughtful and Concerned Bee. Your picture made me want to tell the Bee story so that others could become aware of their plight (and ours).

    From: Max, Friend of The Girl Who Paints And Her Mama

  5. Watched NOVA tonight -- the topic was "where did we come from" or something along those lines. It was truly fascinating. They are discovering so much all the time, so keeping the faith re the honey bees. But, of course, the only constant in life is change, and if we practice what E. Tolle suggests, non-resistance is an option. As he points out, everything else leads to suffering. So here's to the now, and to being present, no matter what the past present future hold. Peace with what is, right? It's something I work at every day, but realize can never be perfected. And still that is something we need to accept. Blessings, Max! (I loved the painting you shared!)

  6. You are so right Daisy, we must watch and see what is being discovered. There is much yet to unearth about the bees and their dilemma. Of course, I lean towards the destructive practices of man as the root cause of their demise. I have always innately followed Tolle's recommendation you mention, "Nonresistance is the key to the greatest power in the universe." Imagine my surprise when I read about this in print; something I'd always believed in! I also send positive energy and prayers, sent with the intention of them carrying light and love, which I believe heals all ills across the Universe.

    Thanks for your compliment on the painting I shared, done by The Girl Who Paints. She will be pleased that she has another admirer!

    Folks, visit Daisy Hickman's blog: @DazyDayWriter at work at