AID FOR BEES. - A Call for World Action
As many people know, especially those connected with bees, throughout the world billions of bees are mysteriously dying. They are simply flying away from their hives and disappearing, a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder or CCD. Bee predators, looking for pollen or honey, even refrain from pilfering abandoned CCD-affected hives.
Bees are our most important crop pollinators, the vital link in our food chain of vegetables, flowers, fruits and nuts; they are responsible for pollinating a third of all food crops in our diet. We need to know how to deal with this calamity.
Although there are other bug and animal pollinators, the honey bee is most used. There are many human activities, the destruction of the bees’ natural habitat through monoculture agricultural practices and the spread of deadly insecticides by both local gardeners and crop-dusting airplanes to name two among many that are contributing to a mighty pollen loss impacting bee survival that need to be considered.
So far scientists have come up with not much more than a name for this looming environmental disaster, although of course they are attempting to find the source of the mysterious decline. One discovery is that the collapse of the bees’ immune system has been an underpinning stressing factor. Also, a tiny Asian mite, Varroa destructor, which sucks vital juices from bees, migrated to America and Europe in the 1980s. This mite can kill a hive within a year. There are other emerging hypotheses for the CCD behavior.
Of course bees have had a checkered background. They have a history of being interbred, of being moved around, of being treated in ways that are helpful to humans but do not consider whether the bees themselves are being supported. They have been given pesticides which have proved lethal to them in various ways; some chemicals, for example, prevent them from remembering their colony’s location and cause them to get lost. Fungal growth has been found in bees’ guts which may produce toxins strong enough to kill young bees.
One stress which cannot but affect bees is the practice of “industrial” pollination. Huge cross-country trucks carry thousands of hives from one location to another, hurtling across the American continent for seasonal pollination. I have been appalled by this practice because it considers only human gain without considering the effect on the bees, and exhibits careless and brutal behavior in their handling. In this situation they are exposed to acres upon acres of a mono-crop, such as nothing but apple trees, a highly unnatural situation for bees, who for thousands of years have worked in environments that gave them support and access to variety. Here, and in all bee management, their natural foraging and flowering seasonal habits need to be considered.
The problem is not diminishing, and the disease in managed hives does not dwindle. Einstein has been quoted as saying that if bees disappeared within four years we would do likewise.
Recently I read the following comments made over 60 years ago by an insightful bee lover: There is a distinct danger of overdevelopment in the culture of bees. Their organization is adaptable, but if they are over-exploited and if the hives are made too complex and artificial, harm will be done. Man must recognize the uplifting life of the bee and not regard the insect as a mere mechanical honey gatherer for the sole benefit of the human race.
That danger has been brought about and is here right now.
I have learned through experience one great truth: that love is the greatest power on earth. In my life this statement has been tested again and again. So to me our solution is to send powerful love to bees.
Loving bees happens naturally. When it first became my lot to look after them, I felt no love for bees, was not much interested in them and certainly had a fear of being stung. In the very early days of the Findhorn community I had to collect the hives from a retiring old beekeeper. He took me to a hive and opened it, and as he did so an obvious love and joy came into his face. This astonished and affected me greatly, so much so that I immediately felt love for them myself.
Like any beekeeper, I found them endlessly fascinating. Why? Because of their utter dedication to their hive; they give their lives to protect it, they all have different dedicated roles in it, they do intricate dances to help their fellows fly to a pollen abundant area, they nurture a Queen bee who lays thousands of eggs a day for years. They can even let their bee keeper know if they need his or her help. I had an example of the latter situation when some bees kept circling outside my bedroom window, a place which was quite out of their normal route and a behavior that I had not seen before. Wondering if they were trying to get my attention, I went out to the hives. Sure enough, a lid had come off of one of the hives, something that definitely needed my help and which I easily rectified.
Normally love as a solution seems off the wall, ungrounded, crazy, psychotic, and even insane. Yet to love is the way to go that is offered by the great founders of all religions, the approach to life which has lasted and endured through the years and many vicissitudes. Commitment to being loving from our wholeness was what we three founders of the Findhorn Community were asked to do, and which worked for us. We became an example of how to successfully create a garden in loving conjunction with the intelligence of nature, and thousands of people are drawn every year to Findhorn to see for themselves. Some people even feel the love before they are in the confines of the community and the experience of love there changes many people.
Fairly recently I came across an interesting story. Gretchen LeBuhn, an associate professor of biology in California, wondered if there was a way to tackle the bee problem, make fellow gardeners aware of the impact of the declining bee populations and help restore them. She distributed free ‘Lemon Queen’ sunflower seeds to people to plant in their yards. In return, once the flowers bloom, the recipients report back any bee-related activity. She sent 15 emails to Master Gardener programs, and a week later discovered that l5,000 people had signed up. The project continued to expand that year, and now has 55,000 participant in all 50 states plus all provinces and territories in Canada. It is still expanding. The story of her results gives hope and optimism.
How can we, individually and in groups, best help the bees? We can offer our love in support of the successful functioning of bees.
Truly loving bees entails a rich energy exchange. It is a powerful imaginative process, in which we contact the wonderful love which is the deep core of all of us and which we then focus and blend with the bees. When we can give of ourselves with full force, results are bound to follow. We need passionate patience and persistence, for we humans have deeply polluted our world by using our gift of free will for selfish ends. We have the choice to change this and create a loving relationship with bees and the whole of our earth.
Some of us might work to manage the Varroa mite or take on a patch of land where we can provide a healthy bee ecology in our own local area. If so, we will be contributing helpful time and energy there, but might not be dealing with the needed exchange of love at the root of the problem. Without the additional practice of sending love to the bees we would be putting the good before the best. I don’t believe we want to do that.
The world today is in such need that the planet is telling us in many ways that unless we change, we will lose our habitat. A choice to help in a loving way with activities organic to our life situation is always before us. There is truth in the phrase that one person with God is in a majority. Action above all, lovingly and joyfully!
A suggested seed thought for sending love to the bees:
"It is clear that a successful functioning of bees on the planet is a vital need. I choose to evoke the vast loving power of my inner divinity to bring about the successful functioning of bees, in joy."
D Maclean-Bees-Findhorn Conference