Jun 4 2010

To Bee or Not to Bee

Melissa Crytzer Fry

I’ve always been afraid of bees … You know, the kind of idiot who swerves her car all over the road when she discovers that a bee is riding along with her as an unintended passenger.

Notice this bee is dusted in pollen. As she stores the pollen in her leg pouches (see this bee’s bright yellow left leg), she inevitably carries pollen from her body to new flowers. Hence begins the pollination process!

As the years have passed, though, I’ve grown to appreciate them. I even wrote a story about them a few years back and poked around rural Southern Arizona with a bee expert who could find every nook, cranny and crevice in the state where bees are nesting – simply by listening.

That’s probably why I stopped today to take note. They were creating their own melody as they foraged on the newly opened palo verde blooms. In fact, at this time of year, when you stop and listen, a dull buzz resonates in every direction. Kind of disconcerting, but exhilarating at the same time. Especially when you get a close-up view of the action. Admittedly, they got a bit too close for my comfort. But then again, I was the one inviting my camera lens to their dinner table.

I marveled at the gluttonous way they attacked the flowers, the tiny pollen-collecting sacs on the backs of their legs like yellow leg warmers, nearly exploding … It seemed they were ravenous and completely unashamed in their euphoria. They were indulging with abandon and, frankly, didn’t care if I was there or not.

I stood mesmerized as they zipped and zoomed around rather sporadically, staying on one blossom for less than a second, then moving on to the next.

Then I realized … bees aren’t much different than us, are they? Maybe we can actually learn a thing or two from them as we zip and zoom through our own lives. Maybe wild abandon isn’t such a bad thing, either.

Listen to the buzz of bees in our backyard.