bee sketches by shantele iannaAustralia has over 1500 species of native bees. The honeybee is not native, it was introduced from Europe 193 years ago. Native bees have pretty cool names too, the teddy bear bee, the blue banded bee. Most of our native bees are solitary bees just doing their own thing and laying eggs on their own not in traditional hives.

The honeybee, which has been commercialised suffers stress just like humans do. From the food they eat, including chemicals, pesticides, extreme weather events and working too hard and getting burnt out. The current epidemic resulting in whole hives disappearing is called colony collapse disorder. Most scientists can’t agree on the cause but it seems to be a combination of factors. bee sketches 4 by shantele ianna

Bees are amazing creatures. They communicate in many different ways, one of which is a booty shake. Yep, they wiggle their butt’s, to let other bees know how far away pollen is from the hive. A more elaborate dance symbolises pollen that is further away. Pretty cool.
bee sketches 3 by shantele ianna

Did you know that bees are put in trucks now and moved to different areas sometimes over thousands of kilometres away to pollinate crops and make honey. And the workers bees, that collect all the pollen, are females. So many things I didn’t even think about when I open a jar of honey. In Australia, we are lucky that we are largely unaffected by colony collapse disorder. But our bees are still stressed.

And bee pollen, the latest superfood, I always picture the big yellow clumps of pollen on the bees hind legs and wonder if the pollen collectors put tiny little brushes and tiny little jars under the brushes to sweep it off their legs as they enter the hive?! No, probably not….bee sketches 2 by shantele ianna

So next time you got to swat or kill a bee, you could be hitting a poor, overworked, unappreciated, woman who has been unsuspectingly poisoned and forced to move to a new town, whereas, she just wants to be out in nature, live her life’s purpose and dance……..

2 Comments on Bees – Field guide Friday

    • Hi Liz, sorry for the late reply, thanks so much. I drew them in pen and coloured them with watercolous. Thanks for stopping by.

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