Thursday, April 04, 2013

Love the bees

Recently I had a conversation with an acquaintance about yards and children. They recently moved to the area and were eager to get started personalizing their yard. She told me of some ideas she had and those plans included a vegetable garden, play set for the kids, sandbox, making the lawn less patchy and adding more plants. All wonderful and very exciting.

She remarked that there were a grouping of bushes that she didn't like at all. She took me to her yard and pointed them out. To me there was nothing visually wrong with them. The bushes were robust and quite healthy looking perfectly planted to provide a nice border along the edge of her property. I thought they were placed quite well to help hide the fence that she didn't like too much. Bushes are wonderful at hiding eyesores and I was glad to hear that they were going to keep that "ugly" fence up to keep the yard secure for their children despite how much she wanted to tear it down and put up something better looking. Her only reason for disliking the bushes was bees. These bushes bloom in the summer and attract bees. Then she said "I hate bees."

She hates bees.

Shocked and surprised I was baffled by that statement. Here we had been talking about all those plans for her yard. The flowers, the vegetables, the other ornamental additions all of them NEED bees to flourish. I pointed out that it was great she had something established drawing in bees. She looked at me with a furrowed brow. I continued with explaining that those bees are coming for the bushes and when they find the other flowers and vegetables her garden will really bloom beautifully and how fortunate she was to have such a resource. Still she persisted with hating bees.

At that point I realized that she was not going to think positively about her bushes and the dreaded bees who came to her yard to pollinate them and likely the rest of her current plants. I was saddened. I know that bees are terrifying to people. Many associate bees with pain. Sure you can get stung by them but it's not as common as many think. Bees are busy. Stinging is a death sentence. You are more likely to be stung the closer you get to the hive. They prefer to be left alone as they diligently collect pollen for the hive. They are on a life and death mission when collecting pollen. The immense need for pollen keeps them quite focused. With only a few months to collect food for the winter bees are focused workers. Amazing hard workers. We need bees to grow our flowers and especially fruits and vegetables.

We NEED bees. Hating them is refusing to understand them. Hating them is ignoring their attributes. Hating them is being unsupportive to agriculture and ultimately dinner on your plate.

What I took from this conversation is a new mission. I found myself in need of being a BETTER advocate for the bees. That's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm heading to the library to pick up some books and begin learning EVERYTHING I can about the significance of bees for humans.

Thinking like Dr. Seuss' Lorax I'll be the one saying "I speak for the bees".

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