EARLIER than last year, the laburnum outside the bedroom window is suddenly in full bloom after the bare twigs of winter have reclothed themselves – and equally suddenly, it’s abuzz with life, literally humming with bees.
The yellow cascades are dramatic, pristine, eye-catching waterfalls which will be gradually turn into drifts of yellow husks on the grass, as if some benevolent monster has been eating a LOT of sweetcorn.
With World Bee Day looming on May 20, those schoolday poems suddenly seem very vivid – particularly Tennyson’s onomatopoeic “murmuring of innumerable bees” and Yeats’ “bee-loud glade”.
Standing under the hanging blooms, this is no distant drone, but a frenzied flurry of activity and a very welcome one after all the negative publicity about bees becoming increasingly endangered.
Without bees, we cannot strive towards a world without hunger – and that’s the underlying message behind the World Bee Day project, as Boštjan Noč, author of the initiative and President of the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association, says: “It is time for everyone to listen to bees, in particular, leaders and decision-makers.
“I believe that – with the proclamation of World Bee Day – the world will begin to think more broadly about bees, in particular in the context of ensuring conditions for their survival, and thus for the survival of the human race.”
That’s an enthusiasm shared by campaigner Amanda on her website BuzzAboutBees which also includes just about everything you could want to know about the thousands of different types of bees and their habits.
Even the Woodland Trust has got in on the act, with its easy guide to telling the difference between different types.
Even far from home, you can still hear them. As Yeats said (albeit in the context of the lake waters lapping), the sound tends to haunt you: While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
This post was updated from a blog entry originally posted in May 2019.