Thursday, 6 July 2017

On Things Beginning with B.

I just spent quite some time helping a beetle out of its dilemma. It was on the kitchen floor when I went through to make a jug of coffee, and became quite upset when it saw this bloody great animal standing over it.

It made a dash for the kickboard under the sink unit, then changed its mind. It made another dash for the skirting board, and changed its mind again. It made further dashes to other places of refuge – including under my foot, which I had to explain was a little hazardous – getting all in a dither, running hither and thither (that’s called prosetry) until eventually I had to intervene. I guided it gently to the safety of the gap under the washing machine and I haven’t seen it since. I said ‘well done, little friend,’ so maybe now it understands and is whimpering quietly with relief.

And this was running through my mind at the time:

Oh Lady Bee, you hum and fly
What sounds you make as you fly by
But now you’ve gone and changed your hat
Oh Lady Bee, what are you at?

So now even the ditties are becoming enigmatic.

And did you know that worker bees – the ones who spend long, tiring days in the sun slaving over hot flowers – are all female? The males spend the day in the hive ‘attending to’ the queen. But when the queen no longer requires their attention in the autumn, they get kicked out of the hive to die of cold. How gratifying it is to understand the trial of being a redundant drone.

No comments: