Sarah Albee: Honey, Honey

From: Sarah Albee
July 06, 2012 at 05:43AM

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with bees. I loved them. I wanted so badly to be able to pet them. I mean, come on. Look at that cute bee up there on the purple flower. (I still wish I could pet them.)  I spent hours prowling through my father’s riotous flower beds, stalking them with my jar and hole-punctured lid. Ask any of my siblings. I’d steal up on a bee that was on a flower, and clap the lid and jar together over the bee, then carefully pull it away. I would collect dozens at a time, and then sit and stare at my jar of angry buzzing bees, like I was watching TV. I am sure this horrifies bee lovers. It horrifies me a bit, but do note that after watching them for an hour or so, I always let them go. That came with its own thrill. I’d loosen the screw-top lid on the jar until it was almost off, then toss it a few feet away onto something that would give it a soft landing and pop off the lid, and then run for the hills. The bees would swarm away. I never got stung.

As you probably know, bees are in peril right now. I have a brief section about colony collapse disorder in my upcoming insect book, but my writer friend, Loree Griffin Burns, author of The Hive Detectives (among other books), is a true expert. Thanks to Loree, who featured it on her blog and alerted me to its existence, I have secured permission to include this amazing photo of a bee sting in my book.

Bees (and wasps) have played a huge role in the lives of humans since ancient times. For thousands of years, honey was the world’s only form of sweetener. During the Middle Ages, besieged castle inhabitants would chuck nests over the walls into the midst of their enemies. Beeswax was used to embalm mummies, to make candles, to mix with paints used by Renaissance masters. And today, bee sting therapy is gaining traction as a legitimate treatment for afflictions like rheumatoid arthritis.

One of the things kids can do to help bees is to plant more flowers (or encourage your parent to do so). Again, with thanks to Loree, I encourage you to join the Great Sunflower Project, and go plant more bee-attracting flowers.

I’m going outside to plant some more cosmos now.


Above: David Cappaert, Michigan State University,
Below: Tacuina sanitatis (14th century)

Posted on July 6, 2012, in Sarah Albee and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Sarah Albee: Honey, Honey.

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