Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Why honey bees make better voters

If you live on planet Earth, you may know that the United States has elected a new President.  However, I promise not to go into the outcome of the election. I won't rant about the ridiculously antiquated and flawed process that our country uses to select its leaders. Shoot, I'll even refrain from saying anything about the media and its lack of focus on more reasonable candidates during the primaries, which is why this country was left scraping the bottom of the political barrel yesterday.

On the other hand, I'd like to share a post I read on FaceBook this morning. A friend of mine wrote, "I knew I should've let my bees vote."

From an administrative point of view, registering all those bees and checking IDs would be something of a nightmare. However, my friend is right. Honey bees make better voters. In fact, this is a process they engage in when they swarm, and the democratic process they use when looking for a new home is something we could all learn from.

Here are a few reasons why honey bees are smarter than people (at least citizens of the USA).

  • Have a single overriding goal -- survival of their colony. That's it. Everyone agrees that is the most important thing, and personal egos just don't get in the way.
  • Put up the most qualified candidates -- Bees don't send babies and inexperienced house bees out to look for options. They send the oldest, worldliest bees with the most experience to scout out potential new homes. 
  • Provide lots of options for consideration -- Lots of scouts are deployed, and they come back with numerous options -- not just one or two.
  • Do their research. Instead of relying on their friends' FaceBook posts, Twitter, memes, etc., honey bees actually go out and examine potential homes that the scouts have presented. There's nothing like first-hand knowledge.
  • Know when to stop pushing bad ideas. Unlike our media that pushes stories for ratings instead of the good of the country, honey bees present ideas to the colony and then drop them. They know that if it's a good idea, other bees will take it up. If not, the idea dies.
  • Are flexible in their thinking. Bees may promote a particular option at first, but if a better option comes along, they'll easily adopt it.
  • Recognize the need for consensus. Bees don't look for 100% agreement, but they understand that they need a certain amount of agreement in the colony in order to make things work.
  • Work in unison once a quorum is reached. Once a majority of bees has picked a place, all disagreements are dropped. Not sure how those in the minority feel about that, but they keep on keeping on, working for the betterment of the colony as a whole.
Anyway, these thoughts are taken from Tom Seeley's phenomenal book Honeybee Democracy. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. It's a beautiful insight into the workings of bees.

Meanwhile, one good thing about this election is the abundance of Coroplast signs. I may ask around to see if anyone is willing to donate some to me. Since the girls can't read, I assume party affiliation won't matter to them. Recycling these political ads into hive roofs seems an appropriate way to turn something filled with so much bitterness this year into something sweet.


  1. This is on my winter reading list for this year and seems more appropriate now! Great idea on recycling the signs. I know a someone down the block who has an abundance of signs that I wouldn't mind reading each time I looked in the hive!

  2. Truer words were never spoken. Sigh!


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