20th May is World Bee Day and we are urged to stop and consider the bee.
The honeybee is an integral part of our natural world. They pollinate the majority of our plants and trees, which in turn give us the food we need and the oxygen we breath. Not only do pollinators like bees contribute directly to our food security, but they are key to conserving biodiversity, for the whole of our planet.
Bees and their importance are mentioned several times in the bible as well as the honey they produce. The very work that bees do – pollinating the land and helping the plants and crops grow – has been compared to holy work. One of the reasons that beehives were an important part of most monasteries.
Indeed throughout history, bees have symbolised focus, dedication, hard work, teamwork, generosity, prosperity, and fertility. They are industrious and purposeful as they work together to bring back nectar and pollen to the hive for the good of others. Each member of the colony having a particular role to play to ensure that the whole colony is healthy.
The Rev Lorenzo Langstroth, a father of modern day beekeeping said “the Creator may be seen in all the works of his hands; but in few more directly than in the wise economy of the Honeybee.”
Yet bees are under threat because of our human activities and if their reduction is to be stopped we all need to take action. We can avoid using pesticides, and herbicides in our gardens; plant a variety of native plants, which flower at different times of the year, not cutting them back until after flowering and leave small containers of water around for bees to drink from.
If we look after bees, they will look after us.