Bee is derived from the Old English “ben” meaning “a prayer, a favor.” By the late eighteen century, “bee” has become commonly associated with the British dialect form, “been” or “bean,” referring to the pairing of neighbors for work on a single activity to help a neighbor in need: sewing bees, quilting bees, etc.

At the UU General Assembly held in 2003, Stephen Wise gave a lecture on his book Drawing the Line. He described the intelligence on “non-human animals” such as dogs, apes, dolphins, parrots, elephants, and honeybees! For example, how do bees communicate information about, where to find pollen-rich flowers, their colors, etc. to the rest of the colony upon return from an expedition? It is a dance. Specific motions have definitive meanings. Honeybees use all their senses to find and to describe the best flowers including smell, color, shape, location petal texture, and time of day.

Beekeepers have great respect for the occupants of their hives, their organization, sense of community, and, of course, the unequaled adherence to the completion of their specifically assigned tasks.

Honeybees do not sting unless provoked. If they do sting, the stinger penetrates the skin and is torn out of the bee’s body as it tries to fly away. The bee dies after stinging.

During WWII, in Central France, a young Russian Jew become an expert forger. Rosowsky had assembled the equipment to forge false identity papers, passports, ration cards, drivers’ licenses, and even driving tickets for fellow Jews hiding, members of the Resistance, and even an occasional British pilot parachuted into France. His work enabled thousands to survive and, for many, to seek refuge by fleeing to Switzerland. Where did this take place? At a beekeeper’s farm. When not in use the papers, stamps, and printing presses were stored in a beehive. One that was NOT in use. No one would have dared plunge an arm into beehives to search for forgery tools!

Green Sanctuary Blog submitted by Renée Silver