Watching that box of honeybees at our home in their daily routine, I have come to ponder the amazing pattern of these small insects.
Every day, they make use of the daylight hours to fly out to where the nectar is and the distance they fly alone is staggering.
Those who have tracked them say that the bee might be going a thousand metres away from home to get to the nectar.
We are told that the bee communicates through a dance when it returns to the hive.
This dance gives the direction and distance of the nectar out there in the field. I have seen the bees dance in front of their waiting comrades. I have heard that odour also directs the bee to the right place.
When the bee returns, often with a big sack filled with nectar around its legs, the work continues in the hive to produce honey from its body.
The honey is deposited in hexagon-shaped capsules, which are then capped until the time they are to be used.
Honey will be the diet of the bees in the winter but usually there is enough to share with us, the bee keepers, who will extract the precious substance – we are willing to get sticky fingers, aprons and utensils so that we can enjoy this wonderful spread of honey on our toast.
But there is more to the wonder of bees. Their life span may be 30 days or so and soon the individual bee becomes lame or cannot fly.
A fellow bee will come along and assist the ailing bee, pulling it and even flying it away from danger by carrying it on its back. Amazing! Those who die are taken out of the way.
There is a runway that the bees use to go to and from the nectar.
It may stretch three to nine metres straight out from the hive.
Here you see the bees coming to land at the base of the hive or flying away to the place of nectar and here is also the area of defense that is protected. These security bees will scare off any wasps or yellow jackets and sting them if necessary.
Besides these worker bees, there are also bees whose task is to feed the newborn that are hatching from the cells in the honeycomb. A new generation is getting ready to take on the tremendous cycle of life.
The Bible talks about bees and honey. There is the oft-repeated phrase, “land of milk and honey” that the Israelites longed for when they were in slavery.
This land they missed for one generation because they did not have faith enough to enter the dangerous land with God’s promised help. Then they entered this land trusting in God and obeying him.
They enjoyed its bounty for about two generations, until they forgot about God and went to believe in other gods.
For one generation they were in captivity until they cried out to God in repentance and God heard their prayer and granted them this land again.
There is another Bible passage that says, “They are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb,” (Psalm 19:10). This refers to the words from God in the Bible.
“They are even more important to us human beings than the honey we enjoy.” These words from God, if we receive them, they help us navigate safely in the decisions that we make.
They help us work in team pattern with our particular giftedness to benefit one another.
These words help us to protect one another from the pitfalls of this life.
These words from God give us security even in death for eternal life. These words from God are like nectar, that if taken in and obeyed, will produce a higher plane of life for us and also bring a positive effect to our community. This will be like honey that is sweet to all who taste and benefit from it.
– John Siemens is pastor of the First Baptist Church in Grand Forks