Photo Credit: juergen.mangelsdorf via Compfight cc

7 Things I Learned from Bees

(Warning: Bee Puns Abound)

This post is a tad ironic because I’ve always been terrified of bees, especially when I was younger. I used to run screaming if I heard any kind of buzzing, even if I wasn’t sure it was actually a bee. I thought they were out for blood with their poisonous stingers, and that I would surely have a fatal reaction if I ever got stung. I’ve never been stung in my life so I have no idea where this fear came from, but I’ve been dealing with the phobia for as long as I can remember.

In recent years, I’ve learned more about bees and what they do for our environment, and my fear is now softened by a deep respect. I am fascinated by them – so long as they keep their distance. There are few species more industrious than the honeybee, and is in fact sometimes referred to as a super-organism. 

After researching about these amazing insects, I’ve gleaned a few lessons that I would like to share. I’m looking at them mainly from a career development standpoint, but they could apply to any area of your life.

Let’s get down to bizzzzness! (I know, sorry!)

Find Your Niche

Bees are the only insects that produce foods consumed by human beings. Talk about being indispensable! We all have our own innate strengths. Find out what you’re good at and nurture it! The best way to be happy in your job is to find one that plays your strengths and encourages you to grow. 

Go the Distance

Collectively, a hive of bees flies around the globe a total of three times to collect just 1 kg of honey! That’s about 56000 kms! In a more figurative sense, you may need to go a long way to reach your goals, but if a swarm of bees can orbit the earth, then you can make it to the top of the corporate ladder – or even start your own business if you dream of being an entrepreneur.

Keep going and don’t ever give up.

Bee Efficient

Bees must be expert mathematicians because they are somehow able to calculate the most efficient path of flowers when foraging for pollen with uncanny accuracy. There are supercomputers that can’t figure out this equation!  But you don’t need to stump an A.I. to follow their lead. Simply take the time to plot out your course. Whether you’re laying out your career goals or hashing out the best way to tackle a new project, proactive planning will help you accomplish your goals more efficiently!

Communicate Effectively

When honeybees have found a plentiful source of pollen, they’ll fly back to the hive and “dance” to communicate where the choice flowers are. While I’m not recommending you attempt to communicate with your coworkers via whip and nae nae, developing your communication skills – whether by email, phone, or in meetings – is key to cultivating successful relationships with your clients and colleagues. (Or really anyone!)

Recognize You’re an Integral Part of the Team

Bees contribute to the hive from the time they are a few days old, cleaning their cells and even feeding younger larvae. As they grow, they take on new roles like guarding the hive and building combs, until they are old enough to leave the hive and start collecting pollen.

No matter where you are on your career path – or in life – you are part of a community and your contributions matter. Instead of zeroing in solely on what your job functions are, understand how what you do contributes to the big picture and you’ll find yourself taking more pride in what you do.

Do More with Less

There’s evidence suggesting that out of all structures the bees could have chosen for their cell shapes, the hexagonal shape uses the least amount of wax. Who knows how they figured that one out, but clearly they know how to be economical!

Get inspired by this and think of ways to do more with less at home and at work.  Try going paperless or ensuring you properly power down your computer at the end of the day. You could even try pitching casual day at the office to save cash on dry-cleaning bills! 😉 

Never Stop Learning

Recent studies have shown that bees will learn to complete new tasks by observing other bees. Whatever your goals are, finding a mentor to help guide you is a surefire way to reach them!

Bees are also progressive learners who are gradually able to build their problem-solving skills by overcoming easier problems first. Take each challenge one step at a time and eventually, you’ll be able to take on even the biggest challenges in your career or your life!

And that concludes the many reasons why I salute the bees…

From a safe distance, inside my house.

Save the Bees!

I’d just like to end with a quick PSA here. In recent years, the bee populations have been floundering due to habitat loss and pesticides, which is extremely concerning considering we rely on them to pollinate our crops. But we can help to build a more friendly environment for our buzzy friends just by planting flowers or creating little bee baths for them. And doesn’t a “bee bath” sound like the cutest thing?


Photo Credit: juergen.mangelsdorf via Compfight cc

One comment

  1. Hayley says:

    This post was really interesting. 🙂

    I too have a strange phobia of bees, despite me being able to admit that they’re pretty cute.

    Whether we love them or hate them, I think you’re right in saying that we can learn a lot from bees, especially when we need to be more efficient and work harder. 🙂

    Your link to the bee bath idea was interesting too – I’d never even thought about doing something like that (or knew that bees crash land).

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