The bee dance and buzz of the heart-A A +A
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
HOW the scout bees got their name fascinates me.
I got acquainted with these field bees as a boy. We did not know they are called scout bees then. These bees are certainly important to another species - Homo sapiens that scouts them. Human scout to bee scout - If you must hunt honey in the wild, you know where to wait and track the scout bees.
To scout and track the scout bees my grandfather would wait among bee plants that are in bloom. There must be several of these plants in their bloom state to attract the bee scout and later the other field bees in greater number to come and gather nectar and pollen. It is easier to track and see where they ultimately go in this way. My great old man easily scouts and locates a bee colony early in the morning, if not, later in the afternoon.
That situation brings to mind two nature metaphors that incidentally highlight both nature scouts (human and bee) that to me must be seen, nurtured and allowed to do their roles well.
Scout bees are part of a thriving colony of bees comprised of the queen bee, nurse bees, soldier bees and field bees. At any time in the life of a bee colony, the number of the bees in their groupings and roles are equitable to be healthy and thriving. I have not met this concern during my years as a beekeeper so I pose that as a personal assumption.
The queen is the only exception to the role. In any colony, there must only be one queen. Having two queens in a colony can actually endanger the whole hive especially when both queens fight and eventually die. The queen's only job in the hive is to continuously lay eggs that would hatch to populate, replace dead bees and/or enlarge the colony population. A deeper study of bees is recommended or those interested in the life of bees, to understand the ages of bees and their roles in the survival of the colony.
The role of the queen is largely dependent on its health and nourishment. The whole hive must also be nourished but this need is largely dependent on the field bees that rely on the scout bees whose job is to discover new sources of nectar and pollen. They set out for new pastures and when they ascertain that an area can supply sufficient food, they return to the hive and perform an intricate bee dance and a great deal of gentle buzzing sound. The performance communicates where the food can be found, its direction and distance.
I can imagine that performance in human communities in the highland once. Back then, there were such scouts among us who play critical roles as explorers, men of wisdom and providers of knowledge. They were men of integrity, perseverance and sacrifice who kept community life vibrant, not one to his own, die if you can't. The old scouts kept community lands common, not each one grab as many lands as you can and according to how greed changed the rules and roles.
There are new scouts now who try hard as they will but cannot really dance with the genuine and gentle community buzz of the heart. Ironically, as the greedy song of power does, they can manage to be a source of hope for better life. In the hive, the queen starves, is weakened, and lost. There are now only two types of bees left, the powerful and the weak. In the next instant, the whole colony is lost. And not anyone knows why?
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 12, 2013.