Secret Life of Bees
“A queenless colony is a pitiful and melancholy community: there may be a mournful wail and lament from within … Without intervention, the colony will die. But introduce a new queen and the most extravagant change take place,” (Kidd 219). Although bees are small insects, they are organized and each has a unique role to play. The role depends on the category the bees belong to. However, even though each bee knows its role, the bee community requires leadership in order to have a sense of direction. Therefore, I believe that bees are a true reflection of the human society because of the organization in their community and their demand for leadership.
The queen is a unifying force of the community. Therefore, if she is removed from the hive, the workers will quickly realize her absence. As a consequence, a few hours later, they will start exhibiting the signs of queenlessness (Kidd 5). Lily used to live with her father and mother. Her mother was accidentally shot when she was only four years of age. The death of her mother was the introduction of struggles between Lily and her father. Her father abuses her and he is mean to her. This is similar to the absence of a queen (Kidd 7). Her absence will make bees engage in bizarre and negative behaviors. The death of the queen makes the other bees unable to function. Accordingly, this is because the unity of the colony is distorted. Inability to function leads to the death of the colony.
This quote reinforces the importance of leadership in the bee community that has been discussed in the entire chapter and book. According to this quote, death of the leader, is equivalent to the death of the colony (Kidd 8). This can only be mitigated by the introduction of a new leader in the colony. As a result, all the bees have to adapt to the ways of leadership of the new leader. A new leader can come with extravagant and difficult changes. This can related to the incident when Lily became the queen subsequent to the death of May (Kidd 12). Accordingly, after the death of May, the colony did not have a queen. When Lily took over, she came with her own style of leading. Therefore, the colony had to adjust.
The quote highlights the importance of leadership, which is usually represented by the queen in the bee community. Bees are social insects that live in colonies. They require a queen at all times. Therefore, new beekeepers have to first find an elusive queen. This is accomplished by first locating the queen’s circle of attendants (Kidd 22). This is explicated in chapter three where Lily wakes up by the side of the river where she had been sleeping. She is with Rosaleen, and the two had run away from home. At the end of this chapter, Rosaleen and Lily find the honey that was owned by Lily’s mother (Kidd 28). They also establish where the honey is made and by who. In this case, Lily’s mother is the queen and the honey makers are the attendants.
Chapter four points out that, bees are social insects and they live in colonies. Each of the colonies is considered a family unit that comprises of a single queen. A queen is an egg-laying female and she lives with her many sterile daughters referred to as workers (Kidd 42). This chapter explicates that the role of queens is to lay eggs. Therefore, she is the only one who has the capabilities of ensuring the continuity of the colony because she lays eggs (Kidd 43). The rest of the females are sterile. Therefore, without the queen, the colony is as well as dead because there will be no continuity. Consequently, another queen has to be introduced to take up the role of laying eggs.
Even though the queen lays all the eggs in the hive, making her the mother of all bees that hatch, she does not play the role of a mother. The worker bees are bequeathed with the role of taking care of the young bees. As a consequent, the queen does not have motherly instincts. In addition to this, the queen is shy and skittish. This can be explicated in the realm that she never lives the hive (Kidd 106). As a result, she lives in total darkness (Kidd 108). If the queen would be in charge of taking care of the young bees, she would be overburdened, making her unable to play her role as queen properly. If she would access the outside world like the worker bees, she would likely become hopelessly anxious. This too would affect her ability to become queen. Accordingly, due to the queen’s inability to play her role effectively, she would be as well as dead. This would weaken the colony, and as a result, it would wither away. Therefore, the queen’s roles, associations, and residence are designed in a manner that they do not compromise her ability to play her role.
The queen usually produces a substance that attracts the workers. The workers can only get accessibility to this substance if they have direct contact with the queen. This substance has an effect on the bees in that it palpably kindles normal working behavior (Kidd 125). The quote directly relates to chapter six because this chapter highlights another important role of the queen. The worker bees need to maintain a working behavior in the hive. The queen has a way of ensuring this using a specific substance that she releases. For the reason that the substance attracts bees, they usually ensure direct contact with the queen (Kidd 126). As a result, they are able to work well in the hive. Consequently, the absence of the queen creates a melancholy colony. This is because; the worker bees will not be able to function properly due to abnormal working behavior in the hive.
The queen plays an important role in a colony. She unites all the bees and makes them play their roles efficiently. The queen is not compromised by any factor making her deliver effective leadership to a colony. Therefore, without the queen, a colony is headless, directionless and its functionality is hampered. In the human society, this can be compared to factors of unification such as leadership, the constitution, and rules. These unite the human society and spell out the roles and responsibilities of every human. When the aspects of unification are removed, the people lose directions because their sense of direction has been tampered. This leads to a disorganized society that cannot function. The only way this can be rectified is re-establishing the unification aspect. Similarly, in a bee colony, the only way a colony can be prevented from losing its functionality and becoming a melancholy and pitiful community, is establishing another queen.
Kidd, Sue. The Secret Life of Bees. n.p: Headline, 2011.