Below is an entry from “The Herder Symbol Dictionary” on what the humble honey bee signifies. Then follows an article about the possible extinction of the honey bee.
I believe that events in life may also be symbolic of portending events. OK, I’m talking about omens and signs. Now, if honey bees face extinction, what does it mean for us?
It is an insect that primarily symbolizes diligence, social organization, and cleanliness (since it avoids everything dirty and lives from the fragrance of flowers).
In Chaldea and imperial France, the bee was a regal symbol (for a long time the queen bee was thought to be a king); it is possible that the fleur-de-lis of the House of Bourbon developed from the bee symbol.
In Egypt the bee and the sun were associated, and the bee was considered to be a symbol of the soul.
In Greece it was considered a priestly creature (the priestesses of Eleusis and Ephesus were called bees, probably with reference to the virginity of the worker bees).
The bee, which appears to die in winter and return in spring, is sometimes a symbol of death and rebirth (e.g., of Persephone, Christ).
Because of its untiring work, the bee is a Christian symbol of hope. For Bernard of Clairvaux the bee signifies the Holy Ghost. The bee is a Christ symbol as well. Its HONEY represents Christ’s gentleness and compassion; its stinger symbolizes Christ as judge of the world.
Since according to ancient tradition bees do not hatch their own young but collect them from blossoms, bees were symbols in the Middle Ages of the Immaculate Conception.
The bee is also symbolic of honey-sweet eloquence, intelligence, and poetry.
Honey bees in US facing extinction
Albert Einstein once predicted that if bees were to disappear, man would follow only a few years later.
That hypothesis could soon be put to the test, as a mysterious condition that has wiped half of the honey bee population the United States over the last 35 years appears to be repeating itself in Europe.
Experts are at a loss to explain the fall in honey bee populations in America, with fears of that a new disease, the effects of pollution or the increased use of pesticides could be to blame for “colony collapse disorder”. From 1971 to 2006 approximately one half of the US honey bee colonies have vanished.
Now in Spain, hundreds of thousands of colonies have been lost and beekeepers in northern Croatia estimated that five million bees had died in just 48 hours this week. In Poland, the Swietokrzyskie beekeeper association has estimated that up to 40 per cent of bees were wiped out last year. Greece, Switzerland, Italy and Portugal have also reported heavy losses.
The depopulation of bees could have a huge impact on the environment, which is reliant on the insects for pollination. If taken to the extreme, crops, fodder – and therefore livestock – could die off if there are no pollinating insects left.
In France in 2004, the government banned the pesticide Fipronil after beekeepers in the south-west blamed it for huge losses of hives. The manufacturers denied their products were harmful to bees. Polish beekeeper associations claimed that the losses in their country could be connected to cheap sugar substitutes used in mass honey production.
However, experts at the largest honey bee health company in the world, Vita, based in Basingstoke, said the cause was still unknown, and therefore neither was the cure.
The company’s technical director, Dr Max Watkins, said: “If it turns out to be a disease we will probably find a cure. But if it turns out to be something different, like environmental pollution, then I do not know what can be done.
“At the moment, all we know is colonies are dying and we simply don’t know why. It could be a new disease or a combination of factors. And of course it could turn out what we are seeing here in Europe is different to what has been reported in America, although at the moment they look very, very similar.”
Dennis van Engelsdorp, of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, said: “Preliminary work has identified several likely factors that could be causing or contributing to CCD. Among them are mites and associated diseases, some unknown pathogenic disease and pesticide contamination or poisoning.”
Initial studies of dying colonies in America revealed a large number of disease organisms present, with no one disease being identified as the culprit, van Engelsdorp added.
German bee expert Professor Joergen Tautz from Wurzburg University said: “Bees are vital to bio diversity. There are 130,000 plants for example for which bees are essential to pollination, from melons to pumpkins, raspberries and all kind of fruit trees – as well as animal fodder – like clover.
“Bees are more important than poultry in terms of human nutrition. Bees from one hive can visit a million flowers within a 400 square kilometre area in just one day.
“It is not a sudden problem, I has been happening for a few years now. Five years ago in Germany there were a million hives, now there are less than 800,000. If that continues there will eventually be no bees.”
“Bees are not only working for our welfare, they are also perfect indicators of the state of the environment. We should take note.”
By Michael Leidig in Vienna
Completely understand what your stance in this matter. Although I would disagree on some of the finer details, I think you did an awesome job explaining it. Sure beats having to research it on my own. Thanks
No doubt honey bees are dying at an fast rate. I should know as I am a beekeeper. Most hives that I lose are from CCD.
With science where it is at today, I don’t think they would let them become extinct, but I could see them ending up on the endangerd species list.
Scientists will keep some alive somewhere in a laboratory, but the damage will all ready be done, because with bees transferring pollen back and forth, must crops would cease to extist.
Bees are dying off worldwide and our entire food chain is in peril. Scientists blame toxic pesticides and four European governments have already banned them. If we get the US and the EU to join the ban, other governments across the world could follow, and save bees from extinction. Sign the petition and forward this urgent appeal:
Silently, billions of bees are dying off and our entire food chain is in danger. Bees don’t just make honey, they are a giant, humble workforce, pollinating 90% of the plants we grow.
Multiple scientific studies blame one group of toxic pesticides for their rapid demise, and bee populations have soared in four European countries that have banned these products. But powerful chemical companies are lobbying hard to keep selling this poison. Our best chance to save bees now is to push the US and EU to join the ban — their action is critical and will have a ripple effect on the rest of the world.
We have no time to lose — the debate is raging about what to do. This is not just about saving bumble bees, this is about survival. Let’s build a giant global buzz calling for the EU and US to outlaw these killer chemicals and save our bees and our food. Sign the emergency petition now, and send it on to everyone and we’ll deliver it to key decision makers:
Bees are vital to life on earth — every year pollinating plants and crops with an estimated $40bn value, over one third of the food supply in many countries. Without immediate action to save bees we could end up with no fruit, no vegetables, no nuts, no oils and no cotton.
Recent years have seen a steep and disturbing global decline in bee populations — some bee species are now extinct and others are at just 4% of their previous numbers. Scientists have been scrambling for answers. Some studies claim the decline may be due to a combination of factors including disease, habitat loss and toxic chemicals. But new leading independent research has produced strong evidence blaming neonicotinoid pesticides. France, Italy, Slovenia and even Germany, where the main manufacturer Bayer is based, have banned one of these bee killers. But, Bayer continues to export its poison across the world
This issue is now coming to the boil as major new studies have confirmed the scale of this problem. If we can get European and US decision-makers to take action, others will follow. It won’t be easy. A leaked document shows that the US Environmental Protection Agency knew about the pesticide’s dangers, but ignored them. The document says Bayer’s “highly toxic” product is a “major risk concern to non target insects [honey bees]”.
We need to make our voices heard to counter Bayer’s very strong influence on policy makers and scientists in both the US and the EU where they fund the studies and sit on policy bodies. The real experts — the beekeepers and farmers — want these deadly pesticides prohibited until and unless we have solid, independent studies that show they are safe. Let’s support them now. Sign the petition below, then forward this email:
We can no longer leave our delicate food chain in the hands of research run by the chemical companies and the regulators that are in their pockets. Banning this pesticide will move us closer to a world safe for ourselves and the other species we care about and depend on.
Alex, Alice, Iain, David and all at Avaaz
Bee decline could be down to chemical cocktail interfering with brains
$15 Billion Bee Murder Mystery Deepens
“Nicotine Bees” Population Restored With Neonicotinoids Ban
EPA memo reveals concern that pesticide causes bee deaths
Beekeepers want government to pull pesticide
British Beekeepers’ Association to stop endorsing bee-killing pesticides http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/nov/16/beekeepers-end-pesticide-endorsement?INTCMP=SRCH
Pesticide industry involvement in EU risk assessment puts survival of bees at stake
uess where ALL THE BEES’S ARE GOING?
As a fisherman in Florida we go out all times of year.
Well reports about tne magnetic field changes might be why we are losing our bee’s.
Here’s the bad news.
Bees navigate by magnetic fields and we are in trouble.
The other day we were 20 miles off the coast and could not belive our eyes.
10’s of thousands of bee’s were buzzing out to sea.
there is nowhere out there for tem to land so they are all going to DIE!!!
I wonder if this is going on all up the coast?
please send latest news for my mail box
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Honey Bee’s bees are the pollinators of our earth and without them we’re finished…but that’s the way the world is going today…no thought of tomorrow or anything of higher value other than a persons ego and their own agenda in their own personally world. mch
A great article here on what’s killing our bees 3 April, 2013