Bees are amazing! It’s strange to think that I have a relationship with an insect, but truly I do. And not just one insect, but thousands! A whole insect family! When I’m out in the yard, pulling weeds in the garden and I see a honey bee, my heart smiles. “That’s one of our bees” I think to myself. It’s a relationship in much the same way that I say hello to one of our free range hens, should she wander over for a cluck or two.
It really puts a more mindful take on living creatures big and small. I often see the activist photos that compare a piglet to a puppy. The sign often says something to the effect of “Why love one, but eat the other.” While I’m not a vegetarian, I can appreciate the meaning of the comparison in the message. Being a meat eater, and someone who is compassionate about the well being of animals is something I struggle with and have for years. For now, I take comfort in the fact that the animals we keep are well cared for and happy up until the day they pass. It’s not a perfect solution, but for now, it’s the best we can do.
Keeping bees has opened my eyes to other natural relationships between humans and small creatures. I’ve never been one to smash a spider under my shoe heel. I prefer to slip a cup over it and let it go outside where it can help control pest insects that destroy my garden. But since we’ve begun a relationship with bees, it’s made me even more aware of how I treat all living things.
I can’t help but marvel at the size and color of a tomato hornworm,
or the beautiful shell that a garden snail carries on its back. And I know all about the damage they do. But like us, they’re just trying to survive. They don’t understand that the tomato plants belong to us.
Now, I’m not saying that I don’t swat a mosquito when it lands on my arm, or a black fly looking to take a chunk out of my head, I’m just saying that it’s made me more aware of the relationship these creatures play in our lives. Good and bad. With awareness comes knowledge and knowledge will hopefully lead to a less destructive and natural way of hormonal living.
We’ve never used pesticides in our yard or in our garden…I’m just not into senseless, absolute and non-discriminatory killing of all things insect…call me crazy! I’m not really sure why it took scientists so long to figure out why all the bees are dying when they are spraying insect killers on acres and acres of plants. Bees are insects too.
I also believe that these insecticides can’t be good for human consumption either. So by being actively supportive of bees, perhaps some of these terrible chemicals will also cease to be a part of our food system.
Food is relative. As is species superiority. We might be larger than an insect, more powerful, stronger and more intelligent in coming up ways to destroy. We create pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers, genetically modify our food and treat the animals meant for consumption with little respect. But nature as a whole is smarter. And now with the bee crisis, much of our food supply is threatened by the lack of pollinators
So what has our so-called superiority done for us?
With intelligence comes responsibility and if ethics aren’t enough to get you there, then perhaps the threat of never drinking coffee or eating chocolate is.
Over the years, beekeeping has perhaps changed from its simplistic state of being a source for sweet, delicious honey. Is it too far to say that keeping a bee hive might be considered a humanitarian effort? We’re not just saving a species because we enjoy variety and harmony in our natural landscape; we’re saving a species that we depend on for much of our diet, and the farmers livelihood who depend on the crops that bees pollinate for an income.
So in the end, keep bees if you can. It’s one of the most rewarding hobbies I’ve ever participated and I encourage you all to do the same, and share and encourage others to follow you.