Many of you have been reading lately about aggressive or Africanized bees. Just like any other living being, bees will protect their home and will get aggressive when they feel threatened. This is not something that happens often. Remember that there is a lot of hype in media and sensationalism sells. So much of what happens in the world is not directly related to your life. These bad news outlets are fueling fear to sell their materials.
Recently, I was in the garden with some students. We were having a meditation when a bee started to buzz around one of the students. She tried to maintain her internal calm and continue following the meditation. It was persistent, however, and since she is afraid of bees we ended up moving to a different place.
At the end of the day, when we had returned indoors for our closing circle, there was a bee flying around the head of the same woman. Again, she responded with fear. With my encouragement, she was able to calm down and see that she wasn’t actually in danger (if you are truly allergic to bees that’s another story). Her fear was disproportionate to the actual threat that the bee was to her. Even if she had been stung, it would not have done much damage; a minor discomfort – and death for the bee. When she could breathe deeply and see how tiny the bee was in relation to herself, she could also see that the bee’s life was actually in danger because it was stuck inside. We managed to catch the bee and release it back into the garden to do its job.
So, what happened? Well, we had received a new swarm of bees on the property only a few days before. They were adjusting quite nicely, but this one bee felt like we had gotten too close to the new hive. Some of them have been wandering and looking a bit lost. The bees will follow and protect their queen, so it takes time for them to feel safe in a new hive.
Remember what it feels like to be uprooted, trying to settle into a new home, unsure of yourself, frequently getting lost as you learn a new place, and wanting to protect yourself from the unknown in your new surroundings? That’s what the bees go through when they are captured and placed in a new hive.
When we step back away from fears that have been unnecessarily planted in our minds, we are able to look in wonder at the terrific design of the natural world. Bees are an important feature of that design and give us the food we eat. Without bees, and other insects, pollinating the plants, we would not have fruits and vegetables ripening on the vine. Bees perform a sacred service for humanity.
Years ago, we experienced that problem in our garden. At first, we couldn’t figure out why we weren’t getting any zuchinni. They would flower and then not produce the fruit. The same thing was happening with our tomatoes. Over a period of a few years, we realized that there were consistently fewer bees than before. So, we ended up getting bees for our property. For five years, Ofer managed the bees for us. After a difficult winter, the hive collapsed and he gave up on it.
Since that time, we have been looking for someone to have hives on our property. Our lovely neighbors, Vanda and Kellie, asked us if they could house some bees here so they can have enough honey for their new restaurant in San Francisco – Chicks and Love Pizza Patio. We get the benefit of having the bees pollinating for us and some delicious honey samples, too. Remember, the bees are not out to get you! They are a fascinating example of the proficient and awe-inspiring design of nature.