Sunday, April 25, 2010


A Sweet cure~

"Because there is so little water in honey, microorganisms that encounter honey die as the water in them is removed by osmosis. In addition, as honey is diluted with water, a chemical reaction between glucose, water, and oxygen produces small amounts of hydrogen peroxide and gluconic acid. The slow release of hydrogen peroxide makes honey a mild antiseptic. The acidity of honey also reduces the number of organisms that can live in it. "

The other morning I was watching my bees, as I usually do for a little while everyday, and I observed several of them removing a dead comerade from the hive.   Three or four of them rolled and wiggled the deceased out to the front of the hive, and two of them (somehow) carried her body to the ground.  One bee remained with the body of the dead bee, feeling her and walking over her...performing a last rites of one sort or another(?), and then she returned to the hive.   I imagine this is something that happens quite often, due to the short life span of my little buzzing neighbors.  (I wouldn't exactly call them "friends", nor should I say they are "mine"...because bees belong to no-one but their Queen.)

Worker Bees die about every 21 to 30 days, however, this is the same anount of time (21 days) it takes for incubation.  Worker bees are all female and do all of the work in the hive.  The Drones are male and only live to mate with a Queen, and he dies soon after. 

A honey bee has a single purpose in life:  To reproduce the colony.   Everything they do, from gathering nectar and pollen, making honey, building honey comb, to laying eggs, and removing their's all for the survial of the next generation.

Is this the purose of all lesser, or non domesticated, creatures?

I use the term "non domesticated" because I was thinking of my cats, who are both fixed, and care nothing for creating a new generation of themselves.  They only want their favorite food and to be petted...and to sleep in a comfy spot on my deck chair.
However, I have seen my cats chase bugs and butterflies for sport.  Obviously they aren't hungry- they are having fun.   The same can be said of dogs, dolphins, horses, and even bears.   Though I hardly consider a bear to be a creature that can be domesticated.

I guess this train of thought comes from my own inner longing of wanting to be sure I've found my purpose, and that I am pursuing it.   I think humans generally have more than one purpose.   I think our purpose, or callings, change over time.   I know they do.   My 20's and 30's were spent caring for my children.  My 40's are very different.  At 30, with a 6 and 4 yr old, I could scarcely imagine being away from my family for a weekend, much less a week or a month.   At 40- (and beyond, I hope) this is not out of the question, and is at times a wonderful reality.

All that being said though, this morning, as I marveled at the honey bees in my back yard, I felt a little twinge of longing...
Of longing to know my purpose before it unfolds on the horizion.  Of seeing the productivity of bees, and the lounging of my cats, and knowing I was somewhere in between those 2 lifestyles.    Recognizing the beauty of my life and being thankful for what I have, yet feeling certain there is much more for me to do.


foam said...

beautiful, well written post, mayden fair. you are a writer. that is one of your purposes.

Skunkfeathers said...

Y'know, I reckon I think the beekeeper is sweeter than the honey. Just sayin' ;)

I'm sure the purpose you seek isn't what I'm about to venture here, but for me, it works: your purpose in life, is to be you. To those closest, you is as precious to them as anything can be (no pun intended).

Unlike your bees, may you live to not only mold the next generation as you now do; but to see the joys and efforts beget a new generation, as big-hearted and thoughtful, as your esteemed self, Mayden.

'Nuff said.

Skunkfeathers said...

PS: I'm going to forget the couple of typos there, and hope what was meant overcame them ;)

"you IS"??? *self-BONK*

X. Dell said...

People often cite beehives and cultures as an example of emergence. The bee does what it does because it seems like the thing to do. Yet all of them in concert keep alive this collective organism, the hive, in operation. This would suggest a sort of meta-intelligence guiding the operation, kind of a group mind that's greater than the sum of its components.

The story you relate here fascinates me, for I know next to nothing about bees. That there would be procedures for handling their dead seems beautiful, in its way.

tinkerbell the bipolar faerie said...

Ah, the hive mind. The purpose of each individual, to contribute his/her unique "intelligence" to the hive mind ... that same mind which we love to deny, for the sake of our perceived individuality. Makes on wonder ... about what is purpose.

Mayden' s Voyage said...

Thank you foamy...your words mean a lot to me.

Hugs and LOL Skunk :) I thought perhaps you were stretching out a bit on the southern drawl, but I'm glad it was a typo :)

X- The form of communication between the bees is extraordinary. There are nurse bees who care for the young, and "directors" who tell the forager bees what to bring...nectar, pollen, or water.
And then there are the scouts who are in search of large supplies of the above mentioned items. When a scout finds one of those sources, they come back to the hive and do a complex sort of dance which tells the other bees the location of the source. Within moments, the entire colony of some 10,000 bees knows exactly where to go next. And, btw, the location is explained in part, based on the location of the sun. Someone joked in an article I read that bees knew the earth was round a long time before we did :)

I agree with you about the way they handle their wasn't a drop kick out of the hive, but rather a quiet and appropriate farewell.
Thank you for coming by :)

Mayden' s Voyage said... always have a twist! I suppose I could relate a "hive mind" to those who are "non domesticated". The bees do not think "outside of the box" (lol, no pun intended, but the hive is indeed in a box).

I might say it seems that bees have no free will, but that would be a mistake. Simply put, they will die if they are away from their hive after dark. They are small, can be eaten by birds, and will get cold (which kills them) if not with their nestmates. Yet in the hive the worker bees make many decisions every day. They can even produce a new queen if the old one is dying, or poorly functioning.

My view is that humans are domesticated. Much like my pets we tend to seek the easiest life possible, and hope for the best treats, and for some good love from someone who adores us.

You ask a good question..."what is purpose". I think the hive mind has a simple answer, the rest of us make it complicated.
Hugs to you ♥

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Good. Do it then!

Oh, I need to think about that hydrogen peroxide thing. Hadn't met up with that reaction before... :-(

dianne said...

I really enjoyed reading about your bees, they really are amazing creatures, I think they do have some free will but most of their life and purpose is hard-wired I believe for the survival of the hive.
Honey is quite amazing too, I did learn all about osmosis many years ago but honey with its mild antiseptic qualities can be used as a dressing to treat some wounds which would otherwise not heal easily.
I think you have many purposes in life dear Mayden, one is to write these very interesting and beautiful posts for us, your writing is a gift.
As for the future it will happen in its own time and you will see what purpose life has for you on the new horizon ... I think we all have a feeling of longing sometimes but don't rush too much my dear, take the time to enjoy what you have now as the years do pass so quickly.

xoxoxo ♡♡♡

Mayden' s Voyage said...


Anonymous said...

taste test

mmmmm, sweet!

as i write this, mayden,
i am bathed in light of a glorious sunset -- a sky the color of bees, honey, love, God -- your posts, like sunsets, always make me think of these things

× × ×


Bad Bob said...

Sometimes for me I think the purpose is relatively clear, and others, I'm not so sure I have pursued it effictively or even know what it is.
Bees have some pretty amazing abilities, and maybe an addition to them is the "last rites" ritual.
We have had a difficult time with our school farm here in Western North Carolina because the bees all seem to be somewhere else and we aren't getting any pollination. I'm hoping they are just late as it has been unseasonably cold at times this spring.