lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

B is for Bees

Bees today!

If there were no bees, there would be no crops, and humans would starve – they really do perform that important a role in life on earth.

Here is a fabulous photo of a bumblebee by Matt Cornock on Flikr:

Matt Cornock Flikr

Scientists believe that there were bees as long as a 120 million years ago.

Today they are facing a huge number of problems that are threatening their (and our) existence.

One of the most worrying is the exposure to chemicals called neonicotinoids that are in insecticides such as Roundup. Why we should be surprised that a chemical designed to kill insects is affecting bees I don’t know.

Other problems that are stressing bees is a lack of forage plants, exposure to herbicides, as well as the insecticides. They are also being infected by various diseases and mites.

We all need to help bees, and ways of doing this include not pulling up weed plants such as dandelions early in the season, as bees rely on them to survive until the warmer weather comes.

Also, planting wild flowers and plants that bees enjoy in your garden.

BUT – MAKE SURE that any seeds or plants you use are not impregnated with chemical insecticides, or you will instead be killing your bees!

Interesting facts about bees:

They buzz in the key of ‘A’, unless they are tired, in which case they buzz in the key of ‘E’.

Bumblebees have hair on their eyes.

Bees do a waggle dance when they get back to their hive to show the other bees where they have found a good food source.

In other words, they use sign language.

One last thing – if you come across a bumble bee, or other type of bee, that is looking tired and drowsy, just resting on the ground, then it may have overloaded itself with pollen. It will unable, through tiredness and lack of food, to return home. You can save it, the instructions are here, by the RSPB.

Here is a bee poem – first published in ‘What Shape is a Poem’, chosen by Paul Cookson, Macmillan, 2002.

The buzz in liz exi

.Photo © Matt Cornock

Poem © Liz Brownlee

Information from Wiki.

If you would like to blog-hop to the next A-Z Challenge blog, please click here.

If you’d like to read about or buy my book, Animal Magic, full of animal poems and fascinating facts, click here.

38 Comments

  1. Fab Liz

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dcrelief

    Such a fascinating post. I’ll get the sugar and water out there.

    Like

  3. Ohh cool,
    i got badly stung by one in the past,so i kindof maintain distance 😉

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    • Good idea, perhaps you are sensitive to their stings? Wasps are more scary, as bees don’t want to sting, they tend to do it as a last resort because once they have stung you they die.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Anita Joy

    In Australia we have lots of native bees. Of the 1500 ish species only 10 species are social and produce (small) amounts of honey. All 10 social bee species are stingless!

    Of course, we do have the honey bee (as in your picture) as well, because the natives can’t be used effectively for honey production.

    Like

  5. I’ve just seen a honey stall in the market this morning – I plan to buy some Tajinastes honey when I’ve got a bag to carry it home.

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    • Mmmm, we’ve been getting mauka and it has such a wonderful taste!

      Like

  6. your poems are the BOMB! what a fun theme and you are doing well with it! glad i stopped BY!
    happy B day!

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  7. Bees are fascinating. And I love the poem and illustration!

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  8. Arlee Bird

    I’ve been concerned about the stories of bees disappearing in our area. Your post reminds us of the importance the bees have in the ecological system. Beside the issues of pollination that could have devastating consequences if it were hindered, I love honey and would hate to see it become scarce and highly expensive.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    Like

    • Honey would be a big loss to me, I use it to bring me round when I have low blood sugar!

      Like

    • Arlee, sadly, your blog is one of those that I can’t comment on. I try with Google, and every other type of ID, including openID, and each time it either says ‘there’s a problem, clear your cache’, (I have), or ‘oops, something’s broken on Blogger’. It’s only the blogs with your type of comment box that does this to me, but it drives me mad as there are so many fab blogs I can’t comment on! Many Blogger blogs allow me to comment, but not this type. I’m so sorry. But great blog for B, anyway! In these circumstances when someone has visited me, I post their blog address with a recommendation, so others can see it, but in your case, at number 1 on the list, this is hardly necessary!

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      • Arlee Bird

        Cross-commenting on the different platforms seems to often be a problem among bloggers. It’s really to bad. I used to have a lot problems commenting on WordPress then somewhere along the line I must have figured it out and now rarely have a problem. I wish there would be some sort of uniform commenting standard instituted to make it all easier.

        I’ve never heard of anyone getting the messages you are describing so I don’t know what that problem might be. Maybe you can try sometime in the future and it will work for you. Thanks for leaving the comment here letting me know you tried at least. I do try to monitor the conversation at most of the sites where I have left a comment.

        Arlee Bird
        A to Z Challenge Co-host
        Tossing It Out

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      • Thanks, Arlee. every year I hope it will be ok, but no… now I check at the end for the comment box before I read the blog, but try sometimes every day just because I so want to contact the author! I have even searched for someone by Google and emailed them the comment before now. One day I hope to find the answer.

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  9. Thank you for your informational post about bees. Not enough people realize how important they are. (Myself included, if I’m being honest.) Thank you for visiting my blog earlier. It’s fun to be int he A-Z Challenge together, both of us writing about animals. I’ll see you around! 🙂

    Like

  10. That’s a pretty cuddly looking bee!

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    • It is! A bumble bee, they are always round and scrumptious! And often without a sting.

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  11. What an awesome post. Seems like I ought to check out your book, as well. I was delighted to see a bumblee already on my spring pansies. The decline of bees in general scares me, honestly. I try to leave all native insects alone as much as possible (invasive stinkbugs with their ability to damage food crops stink in more ways than one!) and am learning more and more about organic gardening. Long live the bee!

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    • Hello Darla! We do use organic methods in the garden and after 20 years we have been rewarded by a hedgehog moving in! She eats all our slugs and snails and our plants have never been so healthy.

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  12. Anonymous

    Great post and I love honey! We can’t live without it and my hubby and I have often talked about the plight of the bees. We have found bees that seem lethargic. My hubby has picked them up and gently placed them in the grass but I will read what he should do

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    • A spoonful of sugar solution, or even honey itself will help. Put it right in front of them. We love doing this – it’s so wonderful to see them perk up and fly away.

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  13. Oops unsure if I posted right-I love honey and so does my hubby. We have often spoken about the plight of bees. We have seen lethargic bees but I never knew it was due to what you said. My hubby has taken them and gently placed them in the grass out of the sun. I will read now what one should do

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    • You did fine, Birgit!

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    • Hi Birgit, again – i’m afraid your blog is one I can’t comment on, but I can say it was very interesting, blog number 186, for those who are reading this!

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  14. Wonderful post. I have a particular love of bees as my name, Deborah, means Bee. So glad to have found your blog via the A-Z challenge and look forward to following your posts.

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    • I didn’t know that, Deborah, and I love names! I just looked it up in one of my name dictionaries (yes, this has been almost an obsession) and I see it comes from a Hebrew word. How wonderful!

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  15. The loss of bees is a very worrying thing. So many crops, as well as flowering plants generally, depend on them for fertilisation. We have seen a decrease in bee numbers here in Australia too.

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    • Have you? We buy Manuka honey, I think that comes from New Zealand, though. I have wondered why it is so wonderful, but have never looked it up – is it what they feed on, do you know?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Honey is always different depending on the origin of the pollen. My brother-in-law was an apiarist and his honey tasted different according to where he placed his hives and what was flowering at the time. 🙂

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  16. I’d know idea bees were musical or hairy on their eyes. I’m even more impressed with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you so much for the link on how to save a bee. I am very much aware of the danger to bees from our way of life and have tried to educate others on their plight. One study I saw you might be interested in, (I can’t find the link right now) a researcher set up an experiment where some hives had a household cordless phone near it while others did not. The bees did not return to the hives with the phone nearby. They went on to show the “noise” created by cell phones and cell towers which confuse the bees resulting in them not being able to find their hives.

    Another human created problem for bees is the amount of honey we take from them. We take so much that many bee keepers replace the honey with high fructose corn syrup which the bees can’t metabolize and therefore starve. I quit eating honey out of guilt over this issue because it’s hard to know if my honey was the last amount the bees needed to survive.

    Sorry to go on so, this is just a subject very dear to me.

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    • Ho Lois – I know it’s tricky, certainly with new hives, to know if the bes will survive the winter – it depends on whether they go into a ball (how they keep warm) near enough the supply of honey or not – this is a natural way that they do not survive, and the bee keeper can’t do much about this.
      The way to be sure that the honey you are eating has been carefully produced is by buying it from a home-producer or small business. They would go bust if they did not look after their bees. Supermarkets were found to have honey on the shelves last year that was not honey – sugar and all sorts had ben mixed in with it. You are right to be wary. But buying from a small producer will mean you can have honey without being scared of hurting the bees – they only ever take a percentage, they have to leave enough for the bees or it wouldn’t work.

      Like

  18. It’s so fascinating to hear that bees use sign language!

    Like

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