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Reflections

Bee Blessing

Sister Maria Foraboschi, OP

Bee Blessing

A new blessing has come to Dominican Convent’s natural area: honey bees. These Gossamer-winged creatures are endlessly fascinating. Not only do thousands live together in their honeycombed-partitioned hives but they are all, except for the drones, very busy. The drones are the only males whose only use is to mate with the Queen after which they die. With the arrival of winter, those still living are unceremoniously shoved out of the hive because the use too many scarce resources! The Queen is indispensable to the hive. She lays about 2000 eggs a day in the comb. All her needs, food and grooming, are met by the worker bees.

The worker bees live their short life in two stages. First they work inside the hive tending the brood, making and storing honey, and maintaining the proper temperature in the hive by fanning their wings. In the second stage the workers go outside the hive for the first time and fly all around the hive area getting their bearings before returning to the hive. The next day they fly off to gather pollen and nectar within a 3-mile limit. These little bees have their own GPS and are able to communicate the exact location of rich nectar sites in their bee dances back at the hive. The guard bees take their stance at the hive entrance and will allow only bees with the correct pheronmone (scent) to enter. It’s their ID, and each hive have a unique pheromone which is acquired by the bees from tending the queen.

These beautiful “selfless” marvels of creation function as a community which works for the good of all, with no “in-charge” individual directing their activities. They enrich our lives by pollinating plants which provide not only food but also dessert: honey! When we help bees we help the environment and, of course, ourselves, a parable for our times.

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