Where Words Take Us – Honeybee

Honeybee on Pink Flowers
Honeybee on Pink Flowers – Sam Basch

I chose honeybee as this week’s word for two reasons. Firstly, the Safrean photographers’ response to my request for photographs last week was so overwhelming that I now have enough material for an entire spring series. But more importantly, bees are currently under threat of extinction, and we’d better do something because they are crucial to our survival as human beings. Oh, you think I’m exaggerating? 

No Honeybees?

Let’s turn theory into practice, shall we, and see what you had for breakfast this morning. Muesli and yoghurt sprinkled with berries and nuts, perhaps? Avocado or marmalade on toast? Freshly squeezed orange juice or coffee? Fairmont Hotels and Resorts have published a rather sobering article with infographics on what our meals would look like without the help of bees. Take a look. 

Bee Hotel pitched against a tree trunk. It consists of an open wooden frame filled with pieces of wood with holes drilled in them to serve as brooding sites for solitary bees.
Bee Hotel – Ilse Zietsman


My winning recipe for exhausted and abused finger joints is also highly dependent on bees. It consists of rooibos tea, a slice of lemon, a piece of fresh ginger pressed flat with the back of a spoon, and honey. My husband has perfected this recipe and makes tea every night before bedtime. He calls it the sandman’s drink. For me, it’s the balm that keeps the fingers oiled for tomorrow’s hours at the laptop. What would we do without it?

Convinced Yet?

Insect Hotel - designed and created by Maria Papoutsis and the students of the Lifestyle College.
Insect Hotel – by Maria Papoutsis and the students of the Lifestyle College.

If yes, read on. If no, then lift up thine eyes to the internet and from Google will cometh thine help. And once you’ve educated yourself, your family and your friends, come back and do something.

Build a Bee Hotel

and plant a prairie… or an English country garden, or a mini meadow, or just one lavender bush. Just don’t go plant a lawn! Lawns are one of the worst things the human race could have ever done to Mother Earth, and if you want to understand why I say this, just watch what Simon Whistler says.

But if you already have a lawn, as we do, and the idea of remodelling it fills you with the same dread it does me, please become a lazy lawnmower. You’ll save time, energy and money, dandelions will sprinkle yellow polka dots all over the green, and you’ll become the bees’ hero. In an article by loveProperty.com, you’ll find twenty-two more ways to befriend your pollinators. Go on, then. Enjoy the buzz.

* With thanks to my editor, Kelly-May MacDonald, who had very little time to do her thing.

* A special thank you goes out to every Safrean colleague who has provided me with photographs and suggestions for the spring series. I am privileged to be part of this organisation.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Safrea or its members.


7 Responses

  1. My back garden ‘lawn’ long ago became just green stuff. Clover, daisies, dandelions and god knows what else – it still gets mown so looks nice. My mother’s fuchsia is wonderful for bees and I’ve planted lavendar, rose, lavatera and Japanese anemone so there are lots of bees – and birds – in my garden. Feeling quite virtuous!

    Still have to get my head around the fact that’s it’s Spring there. 🙂

  2. Concise reminder about why bees matter and why lawns must fall. When you think about it, lawns are sheer folly: expensive to maintain; contribute next to nothing to biodiversity and, as a vista are as dull as dishwater.

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