3 min read

If we elected Honey Bees instead of politicians

At the desk, 9:33 a.m.

I was sitting here wondering how things would be different if Honey Bees were in office. I bet things would be vastly different.

How so? Here's a few ways Congress might run if we elected Honey Bees instead of politicians.

  • For Honey Bees, it's one for all and all for one
  • Honey bees not only quarantine their ill but if an individual bee is ill, she will leave the hive to protect the hive from what she might have.
  • Honey bees never work for individual fame or benefit. They work, and work hard, for the benefit of the hive.
  • Every bee plays every role.

Honey bees start their lives as nurse bees to baby bees; a very select few spend their time nursing the queen. After a few days, they become house bees. They spend their time storing honey and pollen and mending comb. After a few days, she is ready to leave the hive to become a worker bee. She will receive some instruction from her peers then fly out into the world to gather honey and pollen for the hive. She will work herself to death in the interest of the hive. You can see why that's pretty different from our politicians. Hell, in Colorado, the legislature had 29 difficult bills to pass (here's a link to the people's letters about it - they're kind of amusing) and they decided to go home instead. A honey bee would never, ever do that. Period.

  • The hive is run by females.

The Bee Movie lied to you. Male bees do absolutely nothing in a honey bee hive. Female bees lay eggs, nurture offspring, care for the home, and collect 100% of the protein (pollen) and carbohydrate (honey) the hive eats. Male bees are helped out of their cocoon. They are fed, bathed, and cared for by nurse bees (as if they were baby bees). They are only created and kept around during the summer months. Their one job is to inseminate a virgin queen should she wander by. They are pushed out of the hive by the hive. They fly next to the queen, engage, and she rips their abdomen out. (I bet if that happened to politicians they'd be a lot more... careful where they stick themselves.) In the fall, the male bees are forced out of the hive to freeze to death. In our male dominated Congress, I can't help to wonder what might happen if pushed them out in the fall and replaced them with women or honey bees. As Kirsten Gillibrand said in her interview on the Conversation (starts at 28:52), they would get this stuff worked out.

  • Honey bees care for each other and their young
  • One little known thing about honey bees is that if an individual honey bee sees another honey bee in distress, whether it's from their hive or not, she will feed and water the distressed bee. She will then notify her hive so other bees can come to help the distressed bee. Some times they just hang out together until the distressed bee is released to fly off to their own hive.
  • A trick to getting a swarm to stay in your hive body is to put a few baby bees there. Honey bees will never, ever leave a baby unattended. No matter who sired the child, a honey bee will care and nurture the baby until it grows to join the hive.
  • Honey bees visit each other. (If a lot of bees visit a neighboring hive, that's called robbing and a different thing.) Honey bees stop by, get inside, wander around, maybe filch some honey and leave. If that bee gets caught in the hive at night fall (bees can't see at night), the hive will adopt the bee. Come morning, the once visitor is now a member of the hive.

So you're probably thinking - why are we talking about this?

Here's the thing:

  • Honey bees pre-date alligators.
  • Prior to their evolution, the only plants on the planet were conifers who pollinated via wind. Look around you. Honey bees created every flower and every vegetable.They literally created everything every animal eats on the planet.
  • They've been around a lot longer than we have. And, if we (read: Congress) don't kill them with pesticides, they will be here a long, long time after we're gone.

Maybe they know something we don't.

Just a thought for a Saturday