Tuesday, October 09, 2007


<idle musing>
We just took in our hummingbird feeder for the year. The hummers have been gone for about 2 weeks now, and all we were doing was feeding the bees. But, before we put it away, I noticed something interesting. There were always about 3-5 bees around the feeder, sometimes more, and watching their behavior was enlightening. Sometimes two bees would lock onto each other and fall the 3 feet to the porch, with an audible bump. They would be locked together, obviously fighting, for 2-3 seconds before one would pull free and fly back to the feeder. The other one would follow, and they would repeat the process. This happened at least 5-6 times before one of them would give up and fly away.

Then, about a minute later, the whole thing would be repeated by a different set of bees. This went on throughout the whole afternoon. I asked Debbie if she had noticed it, and she said that she had actually found a dead bee under the feeder. So, this wasn’t just good natured jousting for the best position; this was a life and death matter.

I don’t know a lot about bees, but my theory is that they were from different hives and each wanted to keep the source of sugar to themselves. Now, there was about 1/2 cup of sugar water in the feeder, which is probably enough to keep all the hives in a mile radius more that happy. Besides, if it disappeared, we could make more! But, in their narrow understanding, the bees were “protecting their rights” and “making sure they had enough” for their family. Sound familiar? It should, since that is the normal justification we humans use for our selfishness.

Who said the fall didn’t affect nature?
</idle musing>

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