Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bees: natures's little wonders


I hope you are well, and finding something interesting about the day - other than shovelling snow!

I've just finished Candace Savage's book Bees: nature's little wonders.  The book has some wonderful illustrations, poetry, great bee quotations, and a narrative that blends information about bees - their lives, work, and communication - with the observations of two early bee researchers, Karl von Frisch and Martin Lindauer.  Von Frisch and Lindauer discovered such things as bees' ability to see colours, and how they dance and waggle and communicate with each other with a sophistication based in interpreting the position of the sun.  And that's just the start of their collective, co-operative intelligence. 

Bees is a "dip into it" sort of book ... to savour just one poem or examine in detail one close-up photo of a bee with full pollen sac, a botanical drawing of a bee pollinating a flower, an etching of bee keeping equipment, or illustration from 150 year old children's books.  No two pages go by without an illustration. And the information about bees is interesting, factual, and easy to recall because it is given in narrative.

It's a joy, and I'll be watching for a copy at every rummage sale and second hand store.

Here's a fable (from M. Winter's 1919 edition of The Aesop for Children) reprinted in Bees:

A store of honey was found in a hollow tree, and both the Bees and Wasps declared that it was theirs.  The argument grew so heated that the parties decided to put the case before Judge Hornet, the presiding authority in that part of the woods.
    Witnesses told the court that they had seen striped, winged creatures near the hollow tree, humming loudly like Bees.  Counsel for the Wasps insisted that his description fit his clients exactly.
    Such evidence did not help.  Finally, a wise old Bee made a suggestion.  "I move," he said, "that the Bees and the Wasps be both instructed to build a honey comb.  Then we shall soon see to whom the honey really belongs."
    The Wasps protested loudly.  Wise Judge Hornet quickly understood why they did so: They knew they were not up to the challenge.
    "It is clear who made the comb," the Judge said.  "The honey belongs to the Bees."
                                                                                               Moral: Ability proves itself by deeds

Best regards,

Why's Woman

Bees: nature's little wonders. Candace Savage. In our London, Ontario Public Library catalogue it's call number is 595.799 Sav.  It's published by Greystone Books, with assistance from the David Suzuki Foundation.

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