Posted by: penpatience | June 1, 2016

TO “BEE” OR NOT TO “BEE”

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Writers Words: “Asking a writer what he thinks about criticism is like asking a lamppost what it feels about dogs” – John Osborne

“Mabel’s Table,” my fiction short story was published in the May 13, 2016 online issue of Page & Spine Fiction Showcase.  It’s still available for a free and entertaining read. Just click on the archives – http://www.pagespineficshowcase.com

 

JUNE 2016 MONTHLY MUSING

 TO “BEE” OR NOT TO “BEE”

 Spring! Tis the season when flowers are a-bloomin’ and bees are a- buzzin’. A long time gardener, I know if vegetables are to produce food for kitchen tables and flowers to enthrall with beautiful blooms, it can’t be accomplished without bees’ pollination. Although I’ve been stung multiple times over the years (Ouch-that hurt!), I realize bees and I must co-exist. Bees are not only important to humans; they play a crucial role in biodiversity. However, each spring when they attempt to build a hive under my deck, our tenuous liaison often ends in a sometimes contentious and sad removal. So far this year, I’ve been lucky—no hive just busy bees.

We take bees for granted. We forget that without bees there would be no honey, the sweet food made by bees foraging nectar from flowers. Beekeepers, called apiarists, keep bees to pollinate crops, collect their honey and other products that a hive produces: beeswax, pollen, and royal jelly. We grab a jar of honey from a green market or a store shelf not appreciating the hard work of bees and beekeepers. When I began to research bees, the information was mindboggling! I discovered there are over 25,000 types of bees (including the bad killer varieties) in the world and more species still awaiting discovery. I couldn’t cover so much extensive information in this short blog and decided to focus on one entertaining bee specie – the honey bee drone:

The drone bee is male. It’s interesting to note, the drone has no father, but does have a grandfather!!! Explanation: the queen who laid the drone eggs is the offspring of an egg fertilized by a male drone. However, drones are the offspring of eggs that have not been fertilized by a male. Biologists refer to this scenario as “parthenogenesis.” (Good grief, crazy sex and the offspring has no daddy!)

The male drone spends his time drinking nectar, mating (in the air, at that) and lazing around on flowers. They do little around the house (the hive).  (Sound familiar folks?)

Each colony will produce several hundred drones. Their main contribution is the act of mating. Mating tactics of drone bees emulate blokes congregating at a nightclub waiting for the Queens to arrive. Unfortunately, the Queens can only mate with so many drones leaving others in the lurch. (Too bad, better luck next time or were the unmated drones the lucky ones?)

The drone will die upon mating. This happens because the drone’s reproductive organs are torn away from its body when the queen flies off with the drones genitalia attached to her. (Lethal lady—shame on her!)

Drone lives are brief anyway. They may live for just a few short weeks, or, if lucky, may live up to four months. They’re thrown out of the colony by the end of summer and by the end of autumn, only a few or no drones will be around.  And they can’t get even. Unlike queens and worker bees, drones cannot sting. (Is that fair?)

If you are also a passionate gardener who doesn’t love but must be grateful for bees or would like to know more about bees and beekeepers, check out these great sites:

http://www.buzzedaboutbees.net, http://www.about-bees.com, http://www.wikipedia.org./bees

 

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