Busy as a Bee

What does that mean, really?

Busy as a Bee-2 © Stefanie Neumann - All Rights Reserved.

Dieser Beitrag ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar.

When we say somebody is busy as a bee we often mean this person is assiduous and is doing a whole lot.  We think this individual would work and do all the time.

Well, I am all for taking nature as an example.   And this summer I had the chance to observe the bees a bit closer.

There are two flower-bushes growing in front of the entrance to our apartment house which the bumblebees love a lot.  Additionally there is a park close by with quite a bit of forest where some solitary bees can find good opportunities to nest.  Connected to the park is a school garden as well as the Tutenberg Institute for Environmental Design.  Not only has this institute brought a wonderful community garden into being – with permaculture, wild flower meadow and snack-garden.  People can also keep bees there.  Therefore, we also have some beehives of honey bees in our direct surrounding.

Working Method & Surrounding

First, let us see what the busy work of the bees looks like.

Whenever I walk by a blooming bush or a flowery meadow that abounds with bees a deep joy is meeting me.  Also, I notice that the presence of these animals is completely peaceful.  The insects are buzzing from one beautiful flower to the next.  They are immersing themselves in the blaze of colours and let the sweet, fragrant pollen dust them.  The fruit of their work – the honey – is of a beautiful golden colour and tastes sweet like flowers.

 Hmm… if busy work feels like that I am definitely feeling like it.


Diversity & Coexistence

As we also seeded some wild flowers for the bees on our balcony we are sometimes visited by them.  This spring we even had a royal visit from a buff-tailed bumblebee queen and in the late summer I had an aristocratic encounter with a brown-banded carder bee queen.  Bees are very manifold.  I often see different kinds on one bush – even on one plant – without them having any territorial fights.  They know that there is enough for all – although, according to environmental organizations the bees are currently not having an easy time.  Anyways, at least those that I have encountered during the recent years seem to be rather more peaceful with one another instead of fighting each other.

In my view, regarding the so called economic crisis some banks and corporations could follow their example.


Balance & Awareness

Especially this year I noticed something else.  Often, we have bee-visits on the balcony that do not collect pollen at all but are just taking a rest.  Most of the time the different visitors are stopping by at specific times of the day and are looking for a partially shaded spot to linger a bit.  Thus, every now and then in the morning, before the sun comes around an andrena haemorrhoa is sitting on the balcony railing.  And sometimes in the afternoon a honey bee is coming over to rest a bit in the partial shaded on the wood panelling of our privacy screen.  Once in a while some bumblebees of the hive from the bumblebee queen which had visited us in spring are also coming over to relax a little on the house wall.

This year I quite often came across bumblebees which have been sitting completely still on a plant to simply rest.  Especially when the solar radiation was very intense I could observe this at shadowy places.  For example, in spring a little white-tailed bumblebee was sitting on a rhododendron blossom when I was on a photo-tour and in August I saw two bigger, resting buff-tailed bumblebees in the hollyhocks in front of our apartment building – one dusted with pollen.

To be busy as a bee does obviously not mean to be continuously industrious but to also take a rest when a break is needed.


I may say that I am more and more pleased by the business of the bees!

Next time, when I encounter the proverb „Busy as a Bee“, I remember what I observed, this year, and let this happily inspire me for my own life.

Busy as a Bee-21 © Stefanie Neumann - All Rights Reserved.