So, today is “Don’t Step on a Bee” day.
This could be a blessedly simple and short blog today, but you never know what I’m going to wander into. After all, I was almost sucked into writing about ‘Clerihew’ poetry, since it’s also National Clerihew Day.
A sample Clerihew:
Jane Bond is one of my favorite books,
So no matter if I got through life getting funny looks,
She’ll always be on my library shelves,
Did I mention they’re kept neat by elves?
Yeah, I know. Not much of a poem, but I never did aspire to poetry and song…
Back to bees.
Now, in some ways the point (heh) of the day is to remind people not to get stung.
But really, mostly, it’s to point out the plight of the ubiquitous honey bee. You see them all the time, little industrious workers buzzing around your flowers, or even your weeds, gathering nectar to make into honey. Which is basically bee spit, you can thank me later for pointing that out.
More importantly bees pollinate the flowers they land on. In wandering around in the plant’s flower, they pick up pollen in the hairs on their legs and body. Then when they move to the next plant, they take that pollen along and thus each plant along the bee’s path gets some pollen from other flowers and provides some pollen TO other flowers, and the plant is pollinated in this way to start the process along to making fruit. Yes, it’s plant sex. Sounds kind of impersonal, though. I suppose they don’t have plant chat rooms. Or maybe they do for the purely social aspect of it. Huh.
Speaking of plant sex, tomatoes are different. Tomatoes are self pollinating. They have the ability to make and receive pollen in the same plant, in the same flower. Apparently wind, vibration, bees or even people hand pollinating work just fine for tomatoes. I’ll leave you with the visual that the document I read mentioned that a toothbrush works well to vibrate the flower and release the pollen. You can’t make stuff like this up, I tell you.
Anyhow, back to bees. I suppose to some extent, all bees pollinate flowers, but with their hairy legs and body, honeybees are particularly apt at it. And for reasons that I’m not going into (that you should research if you’re interested) bees are dying off. There was actually a deal a decade or so back where entire hives of bees were dying, often overnight. This has apparently stopped, and scientists still don’t have a good handle on what was happening or why. Personally, I think it was alien honey dealers worried about competition, but that’s another story. (maybe literally – hmm)
Coincidentally, a few weeks back, I ran across an article on dandelions and how beneficial they actually are for bees. After reading the article, I nearly came to the point of going around neighbors yards and harvesting dandelions to plant in MY yard. Yes, I’m lying, but it was still a great article. See, they’re up before most other plants and providing food for the bees long before other plants are out and about. Since the bees seem to be basically starving to death, dandelions in your yard could be a real lifesaver. It goes against the grain, but I’m keeping my dandelions from now on.
Anyhow, this is running on a bit too long and I have to post it – late!
Y’all be well and I’ll see you NEXT week. We’ll talk about ‘Lost Religions’. 🙂