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The Industrious Bee: Our Lifeline

August 26th, 2023 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, is there a better metaphor for the fragility of our planet than the industrious bee?

When I was a child, I thought of bees rather simplistically. There were Honey Bees and Bumble Bees. Both were to be avoided because they might sting me. That was the extent of my thinking on the subject.

In this first summer of my retirement years, I am spending several days a week traversing nature trails near and far to observe all sorts of insects. I have learned that there are over 25,000 species of bees world-wide and 800 species in Canada of which 400 occur in Ontario. Only Honey Bees and Bumble Bees have stingers – and for the record, only female bees sting.

Did you know that bees are rather important to our survival as a species? The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that pollinators like bees and butterflies pollinate 75% of the world’s flowers and 35% of the world’s food crops including fruits and vegetables.

So it seems fitting to offer a visual tribute to these essential creatures, such as the Eastern Carpenter Bee at the head of this post, and the critical role they play.

Pure Green Sweat Bee

Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Western Honey Bee

The bee is more honoured than other animals, not because she labours, but because she labours for others. ~ St John Chrysothom

Flat-tailed Leafcutter Bee

The hum of bees is the voice of the garden. ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

Two-spotted Bumble Bee

The bee’s life is a like a magic well; the more you draw from it, the more it fills with water! Karl Von Frisch

We think of bees as industrious: hence sayings like busy as a bee and a hive of activity. But we really should think of them as a living metaphor for the fragility of this planet on which we live and how we put ourselves at risk if we do not take care of its creatures. The sobering reality is we literally cannot live without bees and they cannot live if we do not protect their habitats.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

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