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Bees

The heat brings me back to the river. Today a tiny bee insisted on keeping me company. It hung around for quite a while. It never landed or stung; just hovered and buzzed near me. She got me thinking about a recent in-service I attended. The presenter reminded me that here in the US, we have 200+ native species of bees. Many are solitary, living near their plant host. Some are big, like the bumble bee. The honeybee is imported and not considered native to the US and can be quite aggressive in some situations towards our native bees.

I looked around the space where I sat and could not see any obvious plant she might be connected to. I moved my chair anyway. She got me thinking about the variety of her species and their dedicated work of pollination, which in turn helps bring us food, clothing, and other goods.

When I awaken in the morning with a dream that has my attention, I first ask: does this relate to my everyday life? Am I being warned about something? Am I uncomfortable enough with the dream to pay attention to some issue in my everyday life? If the immediate answer is no and I do not feel any immediate relationship or message on these levels, then I look at the dreams more carefully and symbolically.

So, I begin with: what do bees mean to me? And what do I know about bees? What type of bee appeared in my daydream time? What was it doing? How did the bee relate to me? The birds were quiet today. It’s the tiny bee that got my attention.

For me, bees symbolize unity, cooperative living, and working.  They seem to work for the good of the whole. Honeybees will leave a hive if they are threatened by disease, which can indicate an area’s environmental quality.  Honey and propolis, two honeybee products, are antifungal, antibiotic, and anti-microbial and play a role in medicine, cosmetics, skincare, and health.

According to Ted Andrews in Animal Speak, bees were associated with accomplishing the impossible. The ancients revered the bee for its wisdom or as a symbol of wisdom. Honey represents the sweetness of life.

However, pollinators are more than just honeybees. The Polliantor.org site says this:

    • “More than 1,000 of all pollinators are vertebrates such as birds, bats, and small mammals. Most (more than 200,000 species) are beneficial insects such as flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths, and bees.
    • In the U.S., pollination produces nearly $20 billion worth of products annually.
    • Monarch butterflies have declined by 90% in the last 20 years.
    • 25% of bumble bee species are thought to be in serious decline.”

I found this great offer from the pollinator.org site. They have planting guides for all types of ecoregional climates. I happen to be in the Eastern Broadleaf Forest area. The guides are colorful, with great tables and resource information. I highly recommend them.

What can we do today?

  1. Donate to your favorite nature organization. Support their work. Pick a local one, like a land trust, and one national. Spikenard Farm and Honey Bee Sanctuary, and Pollinator.org rely on donations to continue their great work.
  2. The Pollinator Partnership’s mission is to promote the health of pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems, through conservation, education, and research. Signature initiatives include the NAPPC (North American Pollinator Protection Campaign)National Pollinator Week, and the Ecoregional Planting Guides.”
  3. Buy Heirloom and organic seeds. There are so many great companies, often local, such as Truelove Seeds, to buy from and support.
  4. Plant pollinator-friendly plants; add more if you can.
  5. Consider replacing lawns with more natural foliage that supports our pollinators. At the Garden’s Gate has a practical chapter on how to do so.
  6. Start a seed-saving bank at your local library.
  7. Learn about one new beneficial bug. Learn to properly identify its habitat, how it mates, what it needs for food, and where it fits in with its local ecosystem.

What do bees mean to you? This tiny little bee reminded too of the many conservation efforts going on today. She reminded me that messages come in tiny ways to get us to pay attention. And synchronistically, I was asked to be on a committee where I get to help work with the land, add wildflowers and other native species creating a safe habitat for critters and folks alike. This project will be a community effort. I did not know this on Saturday while at the river but was asked on Sunday to help out: definitely a group effort. Pretty cool, right?

Sweet dreaming. Judith

 

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