Experiments indicate that bees have surprisingly rich inner worlds.

Lars Chittka, The Mind of a Bee


In the darkness of the hive, 20,000 bees

are framing 100,000 hexagonal cells

so precise that they were once

considered a unit of measure,


while workers deep inside an almond

grove, saddlebags loaded with pollen,

take a last measure of the sun

before turning towards home.


Still, researchers insist on asking

the obvious—can bees replicate

a task, recognize faces, measure

distance, share joy, and distress?


I hope the bees are amused by it all–

as if the human umwelt was the only

perception in town? What do you

think being a bee is all about?


Inside the hive, they must trade

their own cautionary tales:

Beware the boy with a stick.

Avoid spiders and their webs,


and flowers so sticky and sweet

they will smother you in nectar.

But most of all, do not panic

when the keeper fills the hive


with smoke and you get caught

inside his hood. Stay calm,

the smoke will recede. He will

lift the veil and you will fly free.