Guest Post: If my Mother were a Bee

Guest Post: If My Mother Were a Bee

Many thanks to our fantastic volunteer, Rebeka, for writing this fun guest post, in celebration of Mothers – insect and otherwise! Read on to discover the wonderful world of bee-mothers.

If you’re looking for a fun Mother’s Day activity, consider visiting us at Faculty Brewing for a pop-up PLUS special honey hefe beer from 1-5pm, May 13th!

An ode to all types of mothers, human and insect.

Stumped on what to get mum this Mother’s Day? Fear not! The bees are here to help you decide. Just like for us humans, bee motherhood comes in many different forms. From sassy to savvy to sweet, find out what the mother in your life craves to feel loved and appreciated this Mother’s Day.

Honey, you should see me in a crown
If your mum is high-maintenance and fiery, she might be the ultimate diva: a honeybee queen. This queen would literally die without attention – and I literally mean literally. Honeybee queens are doted on by a court of worker bees, who not only feed her, groom her, and dispose of her waste, but actually digest her food for her.

This ruler is anything but lazy though. In fact, her stinger is primed for a battle to the death. A worker bee’s stinger is barbed, causing it to be lodged in their target when they sting. This results in the bee dying shortly thereafter, so they can only sting once. Queen bees on the other hand have smooth stingers that can be used multiple times, like in a death match against a rival queen. For when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.

If you think your mum can relate to this ruthless ruler, make sure she’s spoiled this Mother’s Day. Maybe some Hives for Humanity honey and hand-rolled beeswax candles? And if you’re treating her to lunch, maybe let her chew her own food.

All hail the humble bumble mum
Is your mum resourceful and clever, with a take-charge attitude? Then she must be a badass bumblebee queen. These tough queens endure harsh winters, hidden and alone, and once spring comes around, the real work begins. She must eat, find a nesting site, build her nest, prepare a wax honey pot, and forage for nectar and pollen before she can lay her eggs – phew! But even this powerhouse has a soft side: a bumblebee queen will actually lay on her eggs to keep them warm until they are ready to hatch, just like a mother bird.

After a little while longer of foraging for pollen and feeding her newly hatched offspring, the first brood will finally emerge as bumblebee adults, and mama can relax a little. The bumblebee colony will flourish in numbers as worker bees help incubate more eggs that the queen continues to produce until the end of the summer. With a life span of only one year, the exhausted queen will pass the torch onto new queens, and the cycle continues.

A superstar mum like yours deserves a little help from her offspring this Mother’s Day. Actually, I’m sure she would appreciate a little more help year-round. And if you don’t pitch in with a few chores, don’t be surprised if she sits on you.

Blue-collar buzzing babes

A sweet yet hard-working mama would empathize most with the modest mason bee. This is a solitary bee species, which is much different from both the honeybee and bumblebee; no hive, no queen, and their appearance can vary. In fact, the Blue Orchard mason bee, commonly found on the North Shore, looks more like a metallic blue and black fly. Only females have stingers, but these passive little sweethearts don’t mean you any harm! On the rare occasion that they do sting, their stingers have no venom to inject, making the sting feel more like a fly bite.

Mason bees are also known to be excellent pollinators. It is estimated that a female blue orchard bee visits 1875 flowers to collect enough pollen and nectar for a single tube of offspring. She will work on filling about three tubes over the summer – a real working-class woman! But before you start thinking that mason bee mothers are all work and no play, these bashful little creatures like to get down and dirty…with mud. Where honeybees use wax to seal off cells containing eggs, mason bees, like their name suggests, use mud to seal off the ends of the tubes. Make sure to check out Hives for Humanity’s blog covering Mason Bee Resources to learn more!

If your mum is anything like a mason bee, make sure she gets the chance to relax this Mother’s Day. Perhaps a homemade spa kit? A mud mask might be just what she needs to reset!

Whomever you have as a motherly figure in your life, use this day to show your love and appreciation for all they do! As Denise Mckay so beautifully reminds us in her poem, Mother Earth, “Most of all I am grateful every day for the gifts my Mother and Mother Earth has given me and continues to give me each and every day.” (2007)

Mother Earth

She reminds me of my own Mother.

She has many scars that are not Her fault.
She has seen many battles and has endured
each and every one of them.

She has never stopped supporting me though.
She still continues to protect me and looks over me.
She gave me the tools I need to survive.

I return the favor by supporting Her, protecting Her, and
giving Her the tools she needs to survive.

Most of all I am grateful every day for the gifts my
Mother and Mother Earth has given me and continues
to give me each and every day.

Denise Mckay

 

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