words and pictures by June Friesen
Many years ago I did an extensive study on bees, particularly honey bees. I gathered material from several places, one place being the state that I grew up in, North Dakota. I have very early memories of honey bees as well as honey being removed from honeycomb and processed for sale. You see my grandfather had honey bees and having a dairy farm he grew a lot of alfalfa for hay. Every spring he would move some hives close to his alfalfa fields and as the bees produced honey, he removed it, and my grandmother and he would process it. When they were processing the honey the house had a distinct sweet smell. I also remember the pride I felt if I saw some of my grandfather’s honey in the store being sold. But enough on my reminiscing – the other thing was I knew to stay my distance from those hives.
In the photo above you can observe the bee is all covered with pollen – his entire body. If you ever have the opportunity to watch a bee at work inside a flower, it is very fascinating. They often roll around in the center of the flower and become covered with pollen. Then they somehow work to get that pollen into some little sacs on their back legs – and those little sacs look as if they will burst. And then they are off to their hive to dispose of it inside the hive where some becomes food for them and some becomes honey.
May 20th was chosen to celebrate World Bee Day because it is the birthdate of Anton Jansa. He was born in 1734 in Slovenia and he is the pioneer of beekeeping. The United Nations approved this day in December of 2017 with the purpose of acknowledging the role of bees and other pollinators in keeping nature healthy.
The World Bee Day theme for 2022 is “Bee engaged: Build Back Better for Bees.” We may wonder how it is that we can make life better for bees. There definitely are struggles involved as there are people who are allergic to bees and also people who do not see the value of bees and their pollination gifts. We can be active in helping bees in a few ways. First of all, we can be alert for bee activity. If it is in a place where they may cause a problem, we can get in touch with someone who actually can come and move them to a safe place where they can build a hive or become a part of a beekeeping farm. It is important that we do not poison them or attempt to destroy them as they are not as numerous as they once were. Another reason to be alert for bee activity is if they are in a public place, they could pose a danger to those who may be allergic to a bee sting. Getting them removed to a safer environment for them to carry one their lives is helpful and important. This is all about building a better environment for the bees as well as for you and me. Another way to be helpful to the bee population is to plant flowers or even vegetables and fruit trees. These plants are very important for them as it is where they find their food which helps them grow and produce more bees as well as make the honey that many of us enjoy as food. Honey also has a medicinal effect on some people with allergies. Eating local honey can often build one’s immune system and help them not to have as many or as severe allergy issues.
There are a few references to honey in the Scriptures. One of my favorites is:
Proverbs 24:13 NLT My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste.
14 In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul.
If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.
Here the writer encourages us to eat honey because of its sweetness. In ancient times, honey was one of the ways which they used to sweeten foods as they did not have refined sugar as we do today. I like that it likens honey to wisdom – and it tells us that wisdom is sweet to our souls.
Have you ever wondered at the way we as humanity struggle because of the way we choose to talk to, about or with each other? Many years ago, someone said that we attract more people with sweetness like honey than with the sourness of vinegar. I tend to believe that there is a lot of truth in that phrase, and for myself I have tried to make it something that I practice. It has served me well in building and maintaining relationships. God challenges us often in the Scriptures to think about our actions and behavior with others and towards others. Proverbs encourages us to embrace wisdom as it is something that brings sweetness to our spirits/souls. This week I have pondered quite deeply about how it would be in our country/communities/world if we would begin to embrace and practice wisdom, particularly godly wisdom. When we claim to be followers of God it would seem to me that people would rather see us as someone who has the sweetness of honey from the bee rather than the sting that the bee can inflict. So, as we consider the importance and care of bees as insects because of all the benefits we gain from them may we also be challenged to consider our importance for God by sharing godly character with others around us.
I have given some ideas for how we can improve and/or help the bee population to survive and grow as well as talked about the importance of it in our lives.
I am sure that some of you are thinking that you have no way of helping and/or improving or promoting the lives of bees. I challenge each one of us to think of ways we may help. If you see bee activity and it is in a place where it could be a problem alert a bee keeper/bee removal company. Second, plant plants that encourage bee activity. Sometimes they are plants that may be very important and even needed by bees. One plant we may not be aware of as needing bees is corn. It is pollinated by bees, wind and maybe some bird activity. I can remember also having to self-pollinate corn in order to get ears of corn because of a lack of bees. So, bees are even helpful even to plants we may not realize depend on the bees. Maybe do a little research for your own area as how you may plant for bees. As each one of helps the bees we in turn help each other.
BUILD BETTER FOR BEES/BUILD BETTER FOR HUMANITY
Build a flower garden, small or large for the bees,
Plant a garden of vegetables for yourself but also for the bees,
Plant fruit trees for the harvest of fruit but also for the bees,
Yes, let us build a better nature garden for the bees and it will also be a better life for each one of us as well.
Build a godly life – in whatever capacity you can,
Share godly character in your family home as well as in the world,
Plant positive seeds into the lives of others providing the nurture of a godly friendship,
Yes, let us build godly relationships – it will not only benefit us as individuals but it will improve out families, neighborhoods and communities as well.
Editor’s Note: World Bee Day is this Friday, May 20th! How will you celebrate?
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