Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Beekeeping's subversive secret: These little traitors are anti-free market Communist heathens

The hive. Karen did the artwork.
I’m in bee school. The wise old hands from the Southeastern Michigan Beekeepers Association are teaching me and several dozen other wannabes the ancient art and science of this fascinating trade/hobby. My bees arrive in 10 days. 

Bees are good for the environment. They pollinate lots of plants and flowers. Michigan’s cherry crop is 90 percent dependent on honey bees for pollination. California almonds growers – who produce 80 percent of the world’s almonds – are 100 percent dependent on honeybees.

Commercial beekeepers truck their hives around the country and get paid by farmers to let them pollinate their crops. No bees, no almonds, and not many cherries. Life without almonds or cherries would be unimaginably drab.

Honey also has antibacterial and other healing properties that may include protection against pollen allergies.

The health of the nation’s honey bees is not good, probably as a result of the stress we put on them using nasty pesticides and other chemicals. Trucking them cross country all year doesn’t help. So in a small way maybe my bees will be good for nature.

Here’s my worry though. In bee school I learned that bee colonies are, themselves, individual organisms. Individual bees are part of the collective, kind of like The Borg on Star Trek. They share all the work and all the rewards equally. Bigger, stronger and more industrious bees don’t get
Dead heroes with only their little bee butts showing
astronomical rewards. If they collect more pollen, they don’t eat more honey or get to take fancy vacations or  hire lesser bees to pick mites off their fur and polish their wings.

On Sunday I saw a colony that died over our cold winter from starvation. Many bees had burrowed deep into the honey comb to get the very last drops of stored honey. Instead of eating it they passed it back to those behind them. They died as unselfish heroes, with only their little bee buts showing from the comb cells.

Do you see where this is going? Yes, bees are at least Socialists. Probably Communists. And as soon as the Tea Partiers come down from the euphoria of the new Ayn Rand movie they’re bound to introduce legislation banning these buzzing threats to the American Way.

I’m really going to miss almonds.



  1. I love this article Hugh! Not only did I learn about bees - I got to learn a little bit about you too. The artwork Karen did is absolutely beautiful. Happy beekeeping!

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