NOTE: The article below was written with knowledge about the philosophy of bees, but my technical knowledge of bees was very rudimentary, and all the technical input was given by Mr Guruprasad of Honey Day Bee Farms whose factory and bee farm I visited on Friday 10th November 2023.
The Philosophy of Bees the most highly evolved species on Earth
I have always been fascinated by bees.
Bees have been on Earth for 35 million years.
According to scientists, they are the most highly evolved species on earth and no further evolution of bees will take place since they have already evolved to their highest potential.
Without bees there would be no life on earth, since no plants would be pollinated and all crops would fail.
If all crops fail, there would be no more food not just for humans, but all land based creatures and all land based creatures would die.
Bees, according to traditional aeronautical science, are not even supposed to be able to fly.
But they not only fly, but also carry nectar and pollen, obtained solely by flying around plants and flowers for almost 12 hours a day, and then carry it back to their hive not only for their own personal consumption, but for the sustenance of their homeland (colony). Their own personal consumption is just a small portion of the volume of honey they collect and produce.
Worker bees are extremely hard workers. They leave the bee colony at 5am or the break of dawn to collect nectar and only return at sunset or after 6pm back to the colony after a hard days work of collecting nectar and pollen.
Bees convert the nectar into honey and store it in the colony for the nourishment and sustenance mainly of the babies and young nurse bees in the colony.
Bees are the only species on earth that practice Swaraj or True Freedom and Democracy.
Bees are the only species on earth that put the good of their homeland (colony and community) above their petty personal interests and are even willing to die to protect their homeland (colony).
Even though the Queen bee is supposed to be the monarch of the colony, she is just a constitutional monarch.
She is fed and sustained by the worker bees, the gender of the larvae she lays is decided by the worker bees, and when she has to leave the colony and let a new queen take over is also decided by the worker bees.
Interestingly, the Queen is the only fertile female bee in the colony and only one that mates with the male drones. All the rest of the worker bees are sterile females.
The purpose of the male drones is just to mate with the Queen and provide sperm to fertilise the Queen bee’s eggs.
Once the drones mate with the Queen, they die. The Queen mates with about 15-20 male drones and once the mating is over the drones’ body splits into 2 and they die.
Other than providing sperm, the male drones are actually a liablity to the homeland.
They do no work to collect nectar, pollen, or even a fraction of the hard work done by the sterile female worker bees.
One male drone consumes the honey of 4 sterile female worker bees.
After mating, the Queen then comes back to the colony and starts to lay eggs for the renewal of life in the colony.
The Queen only lays the eggs, all the sustenance and nourishment of the eggs from egg, to larva, to pupa, to nurse bee and then to worker bee is done by the worker bees.
While the gender of the egg to be laid is decided by the Queen bee, the decision of what gender needs to be laid is decided by the worker bees by providing different sizes of cells for Queen bee to lay eggs in.
The eggs containing worker bees are laid in smaller cells which form the majority of the colony, the eggs containing drones are laid in drone cells which are larger than the cells of the worker bees, and the eggs for future Queen bees are laid in Queen Cells which are of the largest size and of which only 4 or 5 are built in a colony in a year.
The life of a Queen bee is 7-8 years. The life of a sterile female worker bee is 42 days. The life of a male drone ends after he mates with the Queen.
The Queen is only fed on a diet of Royal Jelly her entire life and nothing else.
This helps her produce good offspring, but makes her too heavy to fly for most of the time.
She never leaves the colony and always stays in the colony as long as she is being fed with Royal Jelly.
She is followed around the colony by 7 or 8 worker bees to clean her excrement and keep her clean.
All excrement of the bee colony is personally carried out by the worker bees and disposed far away at least 300m away from the colony.
Every year, the worker bees first build 4 or 5 Queen cells in the colony.
Then because the size of the Queen cells are much larger than the other cells in the colony, the Queen lays fertile female eggs in these Queen cells.
The larvae in these Queen cells are only fed by immersing them in Royal Jelly so like Obelix in the Astrix comics, who became big and strong because he was immersed in magic potion as a baby, all the babies in the Queen cells are growing up to be fertile, bigger and stronger than the rest of the colony because they are immersed in Royal Jelly.
In the meanwhile the worker bees, begin to starve the existing Queen.
So she becomes light enough to fly and flies out of the colony with about 50% of the drones and worker bees and goes on to mate with the drones and establish a new colony about a minimum distance of about one km away from the existing colony.
Even the decision of where to establish the new colony is not decided by the Queen, but by 7 or 8 scout bees.
These scout bees fly in different directions and then return, and they all meet and discuss and arrive at a consensus which location should finally be selected to establish the new colony among all of the locations that they have scouted.
Based on the consensus decision of the scout bees, the Queen flies to this consensus decided location and establishes the new colony.
This leaves space for a new Queen to be established in the old colony.
Of the 4 or 5 Queen cells, the first Queen that emerges from a Queen cell, immediately destroys the other still hatching Queen cells, thereby killing the future potential threats to her and she then becomes Queen bee of the colony.
And using the above philosophy the circle of life of bees has gone on for 35 million years on earth.
So what is the Ultimate Philosophy of the bees that has enabled them to survive for 35 million years on Earth and that we so called “evolved” humans must learn from and emulate.
Gunas means qualities, attributes, virtues or character.
Karma means conduct, deeds, occupation and accomplishments – past, present and future.
Past Karma includes past lives also.
The Varnashrama Dharma was truly democratic, meritocratic and egalitarian.
The sole benchmark for success, recognition and respect was:
What you know, not who you know.
The Varnashrama Dharma was completely fluid and mobile.
There was no restriction of a person moving from one varna or from one ashrama to another.
This is very unlike the vast majority of so called “evolved” humans, who spend the vast majority of their lives only for their petty personal interests and spend a majority of the time by being lazy and dependent on their rulers.
The bees are ready to sacrifice the vast majority of their hard work and efforts over the short span of their life for the good of the colony and mainly for the sustenance of the young and Queen who cannot leave the colony to collect their own nectar and pollen.
They are willing to sacrifice their lives not only to protect the colony like the hard working female bees do, but also to provide life for future generations like the lazy male drones do by committing suicide mating with a Queen.
The majority of the decisions of the colony is decided by the worker bee females, and the males, just like the vast majority of males in humanity, are a liability to the homeland, and only fit for providing sperm to ensure the future of their species.
Unlike so called “evolved” humans, the bees never attack anyone, even when a honey collector opens their honey box to collect the honey from the honey section of the honey box.
They only attack the honey collector if they are agitated by him or if he attempts to destroy the rest of the bee colony.
The worker bees are the Shudras of the colony.
They spend the vast majority of their lives in SEVA to selflessly do all the work of the colony in service of the young and the Queen who are unable to leave the colony.
The Shudras worker bees are not looked down nor do they feel ashamed to do their work unlike so called “evolved” human counterparts.
Interestingly the Shudra worker bees also double up as Kshatriya warriors, since they are the ones who unhesitatingly fight and sacrifice their lives to defend the colony.
Interestingly the Shudra worker bees also double up as Kshatriya administrators, since the worker bees decide what the Queen does, who among her heirs will be males and future queens, and when the Queen has to leave the colony to establish a new colony and let the new Queen take over the existing colony.
The scout bees are the Brahmins. They use their wisdom and experience to establish the homeland and always arrive at a consensus decision that is always followed by the Queen.
The only function of the Queen is to provide offspring for the renewal of life in the colony and also to ensure that there are no threatening opponents to her during her time in the colony.
This system was destroyed in भारत Bharata not mainly because of Arab invaders or FUKUS colonists, but because our rulers got fat and lazy and indulged in delusions of grandeur building monuments and temples and storing all their wealth and riches for themselves and in temples instead of using it for the welfare of their subjects.
Unlike the worker bees of the bee colony who even decided when the old Queen had to leave the colony and when a new Queen would emerge, the workers and subjects of the rulers of भारत Bharata, even though they did all the fighting and working for the good of the kingdom, the workers(subjects) in भारत Bharata had no voice and were subject to the whims and fancies of the arrogant, selfish, greedy and lazy kings of the Kaliyuga.
These evil kings of the Kaliyuga caused the destruction of भारत Bharata in its final days before it was completely destroyed by the FUKUS colonists and continues to be destroyed even today under our “coconut” rulers who continue to follow and swear by the systems of the FUKUS colonists.
More importantly these Kaliyuga kings of भारत Bharata wasted immense human and financial resources waging wars against each other and their siblings to enhance their petty personal fiefdoms, instead of thinking of Tianxia (All land under Heaven) or our own philosophy of the ideal of the Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam means “The whole world is one family.”
Remember it says the Whole world, this means not just humans, but all the living and natural things in the world.
In fact the whole verse from the Hitopadesa is:
He is mine and he is another,
Is a thought that narrow minded, selfish and ignorant people have,
For the truly noble and enlightened,
“The whole world is one family.”
For Ram Rajya to return, first the vast majority or workers(subjects) of a homeland have to be prepared to work hard, do SEVA (work selflessly) and for the good of the homeland, and not for their and for their own personal petty interests, and more importantly, get rid of their laziness and eagerness to live off freebies from the evil “rulers” who are doing this just to make the workers completely dependent on the “rulers” so that they wont rise up to oppose the “rulers”.
Once the “wonder” of FUKUS “Casino Capitalism” and the “wonder” of FUKUS “paid democracy” fail shortly, people will realise that their not just their own wellbeing is at risk, but even future of their heirs and successors, then automatically they will rise up and hopefully burn the FUKUS systems of “casino capitalism” and “paid democracy” and return to a system of SEVA (Selfless Service), the highest ideal of धर्म Dharma, and run the world under the Varnashrama Dharma which unfortunately has been followed constantly since time immemorial only by the bees on this planet which has ensured their survival for the last 35 million years.
Environmental potential and benefits of Bees
Bees significantly improve the yields of crops for farmers.
For horticultural crops. the yield improves by a minimum of 40% to 300% or more.
In addition to this, bees significantly improve the crop vitality and health of future generations of these crops in addition to improve size and appearance and taste.
Technical and financial details of Bees.
The per capita consumption of honey in भारत Bharata is just 18 gm/year.
The per capita consumption in the USA is 1.4 pounds (550gm) per year. The per capita consumption of honey in Germany is 935gm per year.
So you can imagine the potential of growth of the honey market in भारत Bharata as the country grows richer and more prosperous and health conscious.
Unfortunately unlike other countries, there is no legal mandate or law in भारत Bharata to mandate that only honey be labeled as honey and High Fructose Corn Syrup be clearly labelled as High Fructose Corn Syrup.
The farm price for a kg of honey is around Rs 300-Rs 450/kg.
Per honey box, one can get 150-200 gm of honey and it costs about Rs 2000-3000/box and about Rs 3000 per honey colony which comes with the box.
It is no use just buying the empty box, you need to buy a honey box with a bee colony inside it.
Every year you can multiply the colony and then use an empty honey box for the new colony.
There is some effort involved and a minimum distance of 1 km should be maintained for the first 10 days between honey boxes to establish the colony in the new honey box.
After 10 days at a distance of 1 km, after the colony is established in the new honey box, you can bring back the new colony and place it back in your farm at a minimum distance of 6-8ft from you old colony.
There are three types of bee keeping
- Hobby or Urban bee keepers who just can keep about 1-3 boxes per year and get about 150-200 gm of honey per box per year for their personal consumption.
- Farmers who do it to improve crop yields and plant health who need about 3 Apis Cerana honey boxes per acre and need to spend about 15-20 minutes per bee box maintaining it every 10 days.This may also involve feeding the bees with concentrated sugar syrup of about 200 ml concocted by boiling an equal volume of water and sugar and dissolving the sugar in the water and leaving it to cool. After it is completely cooled they need to fill a maximum 1 inch deep and 6 inch wide plate with leaves and twigs and then cover it with sugar syrup. The sprinkling to twigs and leaves is done mainly to prevent the bees from drowning if just a pool of sugar syrup was placed in a plate.Especially for mango plantations it is also recommended to keep 4 boxes per acre of Trigona, a stingless bee which is very beneficial in improving mango yields. Trigona bee boxes have zero maintenance or feeding requirements but yield no honey that can be harvested by farmers.All honey produced by Trigona is for the bees only and remains in the Trigona bee box.
- Commercial or professional bee keepers who need to maintain a minimum of 80-100 bee boxes and follow a migratory pattern of bee keeping. It is a full time job and just like shepherds migrate where the sheep go in search of fresh fodder, so do migratory be keepers have to migrate where the bees go in search of fresh pollen and nectar.
Acknowledgements for this Article
While I was aware of the broad outline of the philosophical concepts of bees, the clearer details were obtained after my discussion with Mr Guruprasad of Honey Day Bee Farms, one of a handful of real honey providers in भारत Bharata now supplying to known and reputed organic and major brands in भारत Bharata.
Mr Guruprasad is a bee keeper by passion.
He is a Mechanical Engineer by training and once heard a lecture in bee keeping in 1993 in his college during his college days.
The college, BMS College of Engineering then and probably even now had a practice of inviting people from totally unrelated fields to give a lecture about their fields.
I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Yogesh Shivanna who is a key person in my farm, spent the entire day being trained by Mr Guruprasad and his staff and is maintaining the bee colonies in my farm शम्भला Natural Farm (शम्भला Bollachettira Farm).