My interest in beekeeping started at a farmer’s market. There’s always a booth with local honey at the farmer’s market I love to visit at the beach. When I visited for the first time, I sampled many different types of honey and other bee products. I also got into a conversation with the beekeepers at the booth and found out about the many uses for honey, how it’s made, and about the importance of bees. I was intrigued ever since that day!
My father-in-law loves honey, so whenever I travel, I always pick up local honey from whatever city I visit. After doing this several times, I decided it might be worthwhile to consider keeping bees and harvesting my own honey. That, paired with the fact that my husband has called me “Sue Bee” (the name of a brand of honey) for years, cinched that beekeeping needed to become my hobby.
Bees are fascinating creatures. They live in a colony made up of worker bees, drones, and only one queen bee, and all play a specific role in the survival of the hive. All worker bees are female and literally work themselves to death. They are essential to a colony and have many different roles. To name a few jobs worker bees do:
- Foragers: These bees leave the hive and bring back pollen and nectar.
- Nurses: These bees feed larvae, as well as tend to and support the queen.
- Temperature controllers: These bees ventilate the hive to ensure the honey temperature is right.
- Builders: These bees keep the hive clean as well as provide wax to construct the hive.
- Security guards: These bees defend the hive and keep out pests.
Who run the bee world? Girls!!
The male bees are called drones, and their only purpose is to fertilize new queens from another hive. Drones are very lazy, though. They like to stay in the hive and eat honey until the worker bees decide they’ve had enough and kick them out. Once a drone fertilizes a queen, it dies.
There’s also the most important bee in the hive – the queen bee. She’s the only member of the colony who lays fertilized eggs, and the other bees tend to her every need since she keeps the colony growing. She lays about 2,000 eggs a day and lives for 2 to 3 years if the hive stays healthy. Although every bee plays a different role, they’re all doing their jobs for one goal: ensuring survival of the colony.
A bee colony is like a team, with everyone working toward fulfilling a mission. But the hive must be healthy. If it’s not, the bees will leave or not survive (this actually happened with my first colonies). It reminds me a lot of the workplace. If your work environment isn’t healthy, you’re more likely to want to leave. Fortunately, bees can teach us a few lessons we can apply to our own lives.
#1: Trust the bees.
Lack of trust is the cause of many issues in the work environment. Although the bees have many different roles, they demonstrate and can teach us about trust. Bees build trust by taking care of each other and teaching each other. Simply stated, they have each other’s backs. As they develop and grow, they get promoted into bigger roles in their colony. If they run into an emergency, no matter their new role, they can always jump back in and help defend the hive. Bees also make sacrifices for the betterment of the hive. Worker bees die if they attack, as they use their stingers to protect. Drones die after they fertilize a queen. It’s important to trust your team and to make yourself vulnerable. Having trust as the foundation can make a strong, synergistic team.
#2: Don’t be like the drones! Work hard or buzz on out.
Drones have an important role to ensure the success of the bee population. However, most of their life, they just sit around and mooch off the hive while the worker bees are working hard. Drones do not clean the cells, they do not protect the hive, they do not make honey, they do not help with the temperature controls, they do not nurse the babies, and they do not go out and forage. They often stay in the hive, get in the way, and eat on the honey which should be stored up and saved to help the hive survive the winter. In the end, the worker bees kick the drones out once winter arrives.
Honeybees teach us to do our part and to work hard and diligently. Avoid being categorized as a drone and do your part! The Rock makes a good point: “Be humble, be hungry, and always be the hardest worker in the room”. Having that mindset sets you and your team to achieve great things.
#3: Communicate clearly, honey.
Bees communicate through movements and pheromones. In order for bees to let their “teammates” know where a good source of food is, they will do the waggle dance to share the location. If a worker bee uses its stinger, it sends out a smell that alerts the hive of an intruder, so then they all are aware. The queen sends out pheromones to communicate to the hive that she is alive and healthy. They know very quickly when she is not. Clear communication allows the hive to work as one strong operation. Without it, the bees would swarm. In the end, they all do their part to survive. At work, it’s important to communicate effectively and to create and reinforce clarity within your team. Doing this leads to happier team members and sets them up to work in a successful environment.
#4: Bee an advocate.
Bees will defend their hive and protect the queen at all costs. Not only do they secure the hive and have emergency plans in place, but they continue to train each other on the importance of survival. In the workforce, it is important to be an advocate for your company. We must defend against our competitors and continue to produce outstanding results to provide to our customers. Work hard, believe in the mission, live and breathe your company’s core values, and be proud of the company you protect and contribute great success to!
#5: Bee Mindful of the Mission
In the end, bees work hard to survive. Don’t we all? One of their main goals for survival is to produce honey and to continue storing it up to live on. Honey is not an easy product for bees to make. To make it, they swallow a full belly of nectar and then after a while, regurgitate it into a bee cell and control the temperature by flapping their wings to ensure it sets correctly. It’s a long process, however, honey has been around since ancient times and is still praised for its benefits and taste! To name a few benefits: helps relieve seasonal allergies, relieves coughs and colds, serves as an anti-bacterial agent, great for your skin, boosts your memory, provides nutrients to your body, boosts your metabolism, etc. The product is amazing!
We should learn from the bees. We want Daxko to be the ‘golden company’ throughout the health and wellness space, and we are well on our way! Like the bees, having a great, valuable product is important, but it is also important to love what you do and remember why you do it. Working with good people you trust, working hard and doing your part, having healthy communication among your team, and supporting and promoting your company help improve engagement. When you are engaged, you’re likely working in a healthy environment. When you’re working in a healthy environment, you’re likely to stay.
Not only do the bees help our environment, but they also teach us life lessons we can learn from and relate to. Save the bees and thank them for all they do! And if you want to learn more about beekeeping and have colonies of your own, don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions.
Susan Walls is Daxko’s People Team Orchestrator who loves Jesus and her husband and daughters, enjoys karaoke and dancing, and likes picking out the perfect outfit for any occasion.