What Are The Bees Knees?
The Highest Standard For Comparison!
How Can I Say This?
Let Me Ask You A Question:
Why would I publish a post about bees in the travel category? Because bees travel an average of 5 miles per day!
So what does “bee’s knees” mean? It’s the real deal, the highest standard with which something can be compared.
The average life span for some of the bees is three months. (But not the queen. She’s special).
So they live for 3 months, and travel five miles per day; that means they travel 450 miles in their lifetime! Which is only three months.
That’s 990 kilometres!
These are tiny little bees we are talking about here!
Bees are a wonder of nature.
Here Is What Bees Knees Really Mean:
A hive of 60,000 bees flies the equivalent distance from the earth to the moon, every day! The worker bee flies at a top speed of 15 to 20 miles per hour. That’s when she’s flying toward the food – just like people. It’s on sale!…. Hurry!
That’s when we hear the bzzz sound and can’t see the bee.
When she flies back to the hive, she slows down to 12 miles per hour, because she’s packing pollen and nectar and resin.
I would be tired too if I carried my body weight in pollen, nectar, and resin.
To be honest – 12 mph is usually our start speed!…. Am I right?
Is it absurd to think how small a bee’s knees actually are? Don’t dwell on such an idea.
Do we own the bees? I think not. Would you like a bee as a pet?
Would you watch bees like watching an aquarium?… Yes, I think I would.
Would you like to own a beehive?
Yes, I would looove to own a beehive!
This same honeybee that lives for 2 to 3 months, produces ONE teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
Please don’t shoo them away or spray your flowers with insecticides. Think of the bee…. after a long hard day of gathering pollen, going home to an empty hive.
After bee-ing shooed by humans, it’s not a good sign.
That’s not exactly what I would call a successful day.
My friend moved to an acreage and inherited a beehive. The seller showed her how to gather the honey and care for the bees.
When that honey spills off that honeycomb, it is the most magical thing in the world!
A wonder of nature; again.
Honey is a pure food and does not rot or go bad. The tomb of Tutankhamun had jars of honey stacked in there, to comfort him on his journey to another life.
That honey was 2,000 years old, and it was still fresh and ready to eat!
What is the “Waggle”?
Bees can “dance”; maybe because they have “knees”?
They do the Waggle Dance!
After foraging for pollen or nectar, when the worker bee returns to the hive, she does the “waggle” to let the other bees know where she went to gather the pollen.
This waggling indicates how far a good source of pollen is from the hive and in which direction they should fly.
If she moves vertically, the direction of the source is toward the sun… and they use the sun to navigate!
The duration of the “waggle” tells the other bees the distance the food source is from the hive.
Like magic. I have no words for this.
Just think of this the next time you spread honey on your toasted bagel and call someone a “bee-brain”.
This “waggle” should NOT become popular at a wedding.
Why don’t people have such strange and magical talents? Is it because we think at a higher level?… That’s a topic for debate.
We can make things, but not a real beehive. We can’t make honey without that Honey Belly they have. And we’re not very good at pollinating – not compared to the bees.
And I bet we can’t do the waggle very well!.. just saying.
So How Much Do We Need Them?.. Really?
One in every three bites that we eat or drink requires a pollinator. A Bee!
Why are there fewer bees today? Sometimes it’s because of overspray of pesticides.
Sometimes it’s because farmers don’t supply the food they need when there is no crop.
They need nectar and pollen which makes up 100% of the honeybee’s diet. And 85% of the world’s plants need a pollinator in order to reproduce.
What the bee pollinates in one hour takes us 24 hours, or more to hand pollinate if we don’t miss a bloom. I don’t think that man can compete with the competence of the bee.
I would not want to live without them.
As if this is not fascinating enough, it gets better: when the worker bee’s nectar sacs are full, she returns to the hive.
The nectar is delivered to the bees in the hive and is passed mouth-to-mouth, from bee to bee, until its moisture content is reduced from 70% to less than 20%……Now it’s honey.
Just a thought: their mouths must be very tiny. Yes I know, they have a tube in their mouth to transport nectar, but their mouths must be reeeally small!
The nectar goes to the Honey Stomach, which is not part of the digestive tract. So honey is not vomited!
I would still eat the honey, because, up till now, that information did not hurt me.
Worker bees only live for about six weeks but spend their short lives maintaining the survival of their colony. They work till they die. So Sad.
But what did they accomplish during their short lifetime?
Life Is Short, Let’s Do Something Wonderful!
The workers forage for pollen and nectar. At ten days old they have a wax-producing gland, and this wax is used to make the cells in the hive.
The worker bee converts the sugar content of honey into wax, which appears as flakes on their body. The workers chew each other’s wax till it becomes malleable enough to make the cells.
Chew the wax? All kinds of sayings come from nature.
The cells are for larvae, pollen, nectar, as well as honey.
A Perfect Hive…
Ever wonder why the cell is six-sided? It is a perfect fit for the hive and takes less wax to make; and, it holds more honey than say a five or eight-sided cell.
Darn smart! That cell is a hexagon, perfectly formed, by a “bee-brain”. The honeycomb is what we use to make beeswax candles after the honey is separated from the wax.
There is something about the smell of a real beeswax candle. It smells pure and sweet. And while regular candles are available everywhere, there are no guarantees that bees will be making wax or honey, forever.
Not if their numbers are dwindling.
What Can We Do To Protect The Bees?
Own A Bee Hive!
“What if a bee stings me?” You wear protective clothing. “What if I have allergies?” The bee-sting can actually help allergies and so can the pollen.
“What if I don’t have the space for a beehive”?
Then don’t have one…….Plant pollinator flowers.
A beehive is a most structured society.
There is the queen and we all know at least one queen bee.
There are drones whose only job is to mate with the queen, and one of her jobs is, – to mate with drones.
She can store a million sperm in her body and produce 2,000 eggs within a single day.
She will live only 2 to five years, but at 2,000 eggs per day, she is producing… how many possible babies in her lifetime? You do the math.
(That’s approximately 1.5 million to 3.5 million eggs in her lifetime!)
(I did the math.)
The drones die soon after mating. Nature is cruel!
Later when the hive gets a little overcrowded – (really?) – the “old” queen decides to search for her forever home and takes half the hive with her.
A new young queen takes her place and gives up her life to be a mom. 2,000 babies a day is mom’s work.
Scout bees search out the area for an appropriate place to build a hive. They do the initial hunt for the homesite. That’s their job. They are the real estate guys.
She doesn’t really have a say in the matter – “not sure, no curb appeal”, but the scouts have it all under control. They will get her the hive she wants and needs. We’ve got this, Mrs. Queen.
If You Plant Pollinators…
This was what I did because I could not own a beehive where I live. How did I know what to plant? I ASKED.
Garden centers are doing a lot to promote pollinators so there are lots of varieties available. The best one is the Butterfly Bush! It grows easily and does well in my zone, which is 5. They have to be hardy to grow here.
Bees see no red in their sight spectrum but do see lots of blue. Keep that in mind when you plant your pollinators and that necessary butterfly bush.
Don’t plant only pink, plant some BLUE, yellow, orange, and white!
I had no idea that if a plant attracted butterflies, it would also attract hummingbirds and BEES!
I don’t have reservations about bees around the house – next to our deck that we use every day!
I have the attitude that “because it’s for a good cause, to have bees near our house, the bees will understand, and they won’t sting us”!
In the recent past, that philosophy has worked. We’ll see if the bees still like us this year.
Since they pass on their knowledge to the hive, they will all know that you are a friendly place to gather pollen, nectar, and resin.
AND don’t forget to leave some water somewhere. This is thirsty work.
For us, helping the bees is a badge of honor!
Very informative. I must say I was among those confused and searching for the connection between the topic and the category it was put under.
The post coincidentally answered early on, yet I still feel that the article focused solely on bees and how much of a hard worker they are, ending with a reminder and note of how important, beneficial, and noble it is to help out our pollinator friends. However, I must admit that bees do get around a lot and even dance with significant meaning implied. Indeed as anyone would want to have the strength of an ant, i.e., around 10 – 50 times their body weight, I would guess that no one would want to pass over getting the Bee’s knees. It comes to mind that most bees are better workers than most humans are and are even more vital to the human race’s survival than we thought. If you’ve ever seen the Bee movie, you’ll understand what I’m referring to. Planting pollinators is a good step for beginners, but if you’d want to own a bee house, it’s best to possess the proper equipment when handling them, aside from being optimistic about them not stinging you.
Regardless, it’s an exciting and unique read, especially when placed in the travel category.
All the best,
Thank you Sergej for your indepth reply. I did not see the Bee movie but maybe now I will do my best to watch it.
And thanks for your critiques, they are helpful.