Saturday, 4 December 2010

To bee, or in this case not

What happens to bees in winter? In the case of this one, nothing more. The rest is silence. I spotted it on our road, a sad little speck in the snow. You seldom encounter dead insects in the wild, but this one showed up in the overwhelming white of our local world just now.
Maybe a car got it. Maybe it succumbed to the intense cold. Thermometers recorded minus 19C in North Yorkshire this week, which for us is pretty severe.
A bee's life is never easy, though. I asked Google the question with which I started this post and here's one answer from

"The workers bees and drones, who toiled for the queen all summer, are rewarded for their efforts by a certain death in winter. No bother...they are easily replaced by cheap labor, when the queen lays more eggs in the spring, and puts her new brood to work."

Little fascists.  I'd rather be a ladybird such as this one, creeping around on my 'Mousey' Thompson napkin ring, the only thing I could afford at the great woodcarver's store below the White Horse near Thirsk. Ladybirds hibernate en masse in our house and now that we've pumped up the central heating, some of them think that it's Spring.

Lastly, here's my Mum's neighbour (below), prowling around.  He's Reynard, according to my Guardian predecessor John Masefield - remember the many, many couplets of Reynard the Fox...

"From the Gallows Hill to the Tineton Copse
There were ten ploughed fields, like ten full-stops,"
De-dum, de-dum

Or he's Mr Tod, in Beatrix Potter's eyes (and I bet she was thinking of the German todt, meaning death).  But my favourite name is Mr Cunningly Sly, from an old children's book about Diggy the hedgehog. Whichever, here he is:

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