How (Not) To Be A Bee


Do you know that bees in a hive have this factor known as swarm mentality, or hive thoughts, which is that this superb kind of collective thought that occurs whenever you get a number of social bugs (ants, bees) collectively in a colony? I’m no Attenborough, however I’ve been Googling this for all of about, ooh, 4 minutes, and it’s so fascinating; the behaviour of the bugs within the colony is so coordinated and the psychological exercise is so collective that it’s akin to a single thoughts controlling their behaviour.

It’s type of creepy when you concentrate on it for too lengthy, particularly for those who’re apiphobic. I don’t have an issue with bees, due to having been mentally conditioned from a younger age to see wasps because the enemy and bees because the insect equal of Dumbledore from Harry Potter. (Mandatory for survival, basically good and sort, most unlikely to sting you with out excessive provocation. Wasps can be Voldemort.) It was completely acceptable to swipe at a wasp with a rolled-up newspaper; a fallen bee offered one thing of a small nationwide emergency. The invalid bee needed to be scooped up with an empty yoghurt carton and positioned on a silken pillow and supplied with a tiny pool of sugar water to sup from.

Nonetheless, many bees collectively: creepy. (If you wish to learn a superb and extremely imaginative novel that’s quirkily written from a bee’s-eye-view then I extremely advocate The Bees by Laline Paull*.) And the concept that their widespread want and function creates a kind of mega-mind provides me the tingles. However I suppose it could all fully collapse, wouldn’t it, in the event that they didn’t have the one purpose or intention? Think about if bees have been simply as much as their very own bits and items all day, like we people are. Pottering. Residing in tens of millions of tiny mini-hives quite than one large one – spending Sundays fixing a leak within the roof of their condo-hive or painstakingly harvesting the honey from their comb and pouring it into tiny little glass jars able to ship to the native hipster market. It could be chaos! The world would come to an finish!

‘The place have you ever been, Brian?’

Brian comes sauntering in from a day trip within the rose bush, his face lined in pollen.

‘Right here and there, Geoff. Right here and there.’

‘Nicely we’ve all been toiling within the hive, Brian, while you’ve been faceplanting the great things all day. Have a look at the state of you! It’s in your again, your thighs, you’ve even obtained pollen in your eyelids.’

Brian isn’t remotely regretful as a result of he has no swarm mentality. What Geoff doesn’t know is that he additionally banged the Queen Bee 3 times that morning and he’s not even the right rating of bee to method her, not to mention climb into her mattress! That’s simply the best way he rolls; he’s a renegade bee together with his personal mind-set, his personal distinctive –

‘Go and get cleaned up Brian, for God’s sake. You’re an absolute shame.’

‘Yeah, yeah.’

And ants! Think about if ants didn’t have swarm mentality. It’d be a complete shit present. There they go, carrying their brown leaf in a wonderfully straight line, three of them on all sides like little fast-legged pallbearers. There’s no “to me, to you – to me, to you!” within the ant world. They know precisely what they’re about – completely attuned to 1 one other. However for those who had even simply the one ant anomaly; blimey. Carnage.

‘Erm, guys?’ says the free-thinking ant sporting the orange trousers and a snazzy cravat. ‘Which ground are we taking this crumb of bagel to? Do you need to go the brief means by the slurry pile or circumnavigate the mess and head on by the air brick?’

The others within the ant removals crew wouldn’t even reply him, as a result of all of them talk telepathically, in all probability; I think about they’d simply put down the bagel crumb, advance menacingly in the direction of him after which trample him to dying. Earlier than stopping for a cup of tea.

Critically, although; what would all of those bugs do if they’d complete free will and didn’t should work for the great of the swarm and for the aim of survival? Would bugs get any enjoyment from simply meandering about? Would a bee see a pollen-filled flower in the identical means we see a lodge suite? Cozy mattress, room service, little bit of a change of scene? If bees have been simply working for themselves – freelance bees – would they work as constantly or as laborious as those enslaved by the hive thoughts? Or would they, like me, spend a morning sharpening all of the cutlery from the cutlery drawer with an outdated t-shirt after which cram all the precise work into the afternoon?

If I used to be a contract bee, an escapee from the swarm mind, then my day would appear to be this (bear in mind that is solely in the summertime months, as a result of within the winter I’m lifeless):

5am: solar comes up. Poke head out of indifferent mini-hive (didn’t need neighbours) and determine it’s too early to exit. The air is a bit recent and the dew nonetheless sits on the grass and the petals. If there’s one factor I hate then it’s getting damp. My fur takes an age to dry out and if I depart it damp for longer than a number of hours, I odor like moist canine.

6.30am: do one other dew verify. Nonetheless dew current. Different bees are starting to take off on their commute to the hive-rise workplace: I’m nonetheless grooming my leg hairs.

8am: dew level acceptable. However wait! What is that this floating by my doorway? White and powdery…pollen. Within the air. What an sudden bonus. That is what occurs whenever you cannily arrange home subsequent to a protected wildflower meadow. The plot was dear however I’m reaping the advantages now, let me inform you.

8.03am: Nostril-dive into the pollen pile.

9am: hive-rise secretary rings to see when, or if, I would really flip up for work. I don’t like his tone. Primarily as a result of am excessive as a kite and struggling to make out all the phrases. Name in sick for the morning and roll about within the remaining pollen for a couple of minutes to take the sting out of the expertise.

10am: bored. Can’t go outdoors in case one other employee sees me and experiences again to the collective hive thoughts. Disguises don’t are inclined to work effectively for bees so is a final resort possibility. Peer jealously at my colleagues who’re working the lavender, arising and down and having a proper outdated time of it. They’re getting heavier and heavier with the pollen – certainly one of them is so loaded he retains flying into the wall.

10.10am: regretful.

10.30am: try to tune into the hive thoughts. Can nonetheless choose up indicators from time to time if I sit actually nonetheless and focus on my antenna however at this time is generally static. Omega Patrol have been known as to the rose backyard and there’s a wasp incident in sector 9 (fig tree, all the time an absolute battlefield) however other than that, nothing through the airwaves. Nap.

11am: do some crunches to try to tone up ever-expanding intestine pouch then some lunges to strengthen legs. Clear out my pollen-collecting baskets with a moist material, though they’re actually laborious to succeed in as a result of they’re on the backs of my legs. What fool determined that was a good suggestion?

11.05am: sit holding the damp material, looking at wall.

11.45am: don disguise (giant furry coat that takes me from employee bee to bumblebee in a matter of seconds!) and clumsily fall out of personal doorway. Fly as quietly as doable all the way down to the foxgloves and insert myself into  best-looking flower. I say insert, it’s like attempting to stuff a cat into the top of a trumpet; the bumblebee disguise is each heavy and cumbersome. FML.

11.47am: regretful.

11.49am: am heating up unbearably in bumble disguise. Sweat in all places, together with high lip. Can odor the nectar, really feel the nectar, however can’t transfer to lick the nectar as am restricted by aforementioned coat.

11.53am: worry for personal life. I’ve heard of honeybees doing a mass pile-up on wasps after which their generated warmth kills the wasp: now I see how that is doable. Can’t maintain this degree of discomfort. Should. Go away. Flower.

11.56am: have been noticed by Pieter in administration. Am red-faced. Not least as a result of my core temperature is the same as the solar. ‘Why are you sporting a fur coat in summer time?’ Pieter mentioned as I fell out of the flower and I wished to punch him within the honey intestine. Instructed him I had a summer time chilly and had known as in sick. ‘However you’re feeling higher now, aren’t you?’ mentioned Pieter. Rhetorical query.

Midday: went to work.


Subsequent week: the lifetime of ants.

(Picture by Delia Giandeini on Unsplash)

The submit How (Not) To Be A Bee appeared first on Ruth Crilly.


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