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This week Katie taught us interns about the magical world of honey bees. And I have only one thing to say – bees are trippy! This is not the first time I have learned about these fantastic little insects, but this time I was able to see them with a new perspective. Not only do I appreciate them much more after learning about their crucial function in any healthy ecosystem (as well as our human food production) as major pollinators, but I am also fascinated by how they display characteristics of a “super-organism.” This term not only implies that a single bee cannot survive on its own, separated from the colony, but also that each “unit” of the organism exists for the survival and benefit of the whole, rather than itself. The worker bees, the most numerous of the three major categories of bees, work non-stop their whole lives, executing the major functions that allow the hive to survive. Two behaviors (or beehaviors, as Katie would put it) in particular amaze me. The first is that each bee larvae, upon hatching from its birth cell, gets right to work! They have such deep-rooted instinct that they know exactly what to do the second they are alive – no training needed. This phenomenon gave me the impression of the super-organism as being an incredibly well-oiled, efficient machine. How impressive! The other behavior that amazed me was that when swarming and looking for a new hive site, bees will do a little “waggle dance” to communicate potential locations to other bees. This dance contains directional information relative to the sun so that other bees can go check out the location. When enough bees have seen the location and a consensus is reached, the whole swarm will move to the new site. WHAAATT??? Amazing…

Obviously, bees are incredibly intelligent creatures. Life continues to amaze me with its variety, complexity, and dazzling beauty. This particular example gives me ever more certainty that nature is intelligently organized beyond all human comprehension, and that we should trust its abilities to thrive and provide our needs!