A Midwest July brings us a variety of lovely wildflowers with great names: black-eyed Susan, butterfly milkweed, compass plant, prairie blazing star, royal catchfly, mountain mint, green milkweed, swamp milkweed, wild bergamot, and yarrow to name a few. This means that bees, the most amazing insects of all, are having a heyday.
Among pollinators the bee has to take the prize for its ability to evoke awe and wonder from homo sapiens. After reading The Dancing Beesby Karl von Frisch, my love of bees blossomed. Von Frisch was an extraordinary, Nobel Prize-winning Austrian scientist who designed amazing experiments leading to the discovery of the language of bees. Maybe you already know a lot about bees, but this July when you observe bees be wowed anew by these facts von Frisch discovered. While you do so, question the meaning of human superiority.
Bees communicate both direction and distance to other members of the hive with their “dancing” movements, no “words” needed.
Bees navigate through the air by using the sun as a compass, and on the two days each year when the sun is directly overhead, THEY REST! How smart is that?
Bees see color and are extremely sensitive to smell. Using these skills and directed by a scout, bees go to a specific flower where they collect pollen to bring back to the hive.
Bees have an internal clock and rely on their own good sense of time.
Karl von Frisch has been added to my list of ecological heroes and is a source of inspiration.“The bee’s life is like a magic well: the more you draw from it, the more it fills with water” – Karl Von Frisch