The Honeybee Scout
The honeybee colony was in great danger. Their supply of sweet nectar and pollen had fallen dangerously low and if the Honeybee Scouts couldn’t find new flower sources soon, the bees might not survive the coming winter.
Lindy Honeybee had always wanted to be a Scout ever since she was able to fly. Now that she was old enough, she was being asked to go out and find flowers that could save her family. But first she had to repeat the “Honeybee Scout Oath”.
Lindy stood in front of the Queen and all the other bees in the hive and said, “I Lindy Honeybee, do solemnly promise to search Hedges, Orchards, and Fields for flowers that have the best nectar and pollen. And on my return to the hive, I promise I will give directions and distances to these found locations in the form of a precise dance, otherwise known as a ‘ waggle dance’ ”.
“Now go with courage, Lindy Honeybee Scout,” said the Queen.
Then without another word, the little honeybee scout lifted off from the hive and flew west into the late summer morning air.
“Hedges, orchards and fields. Hedges, orchards and fields.” Lindy kept these places in her mind while her keen eyes and acute sense of smell searched every inch of the ground below her.
She searched for a long time but finally, her spirits rose as she came to a group of hedges that lined a paved road.
“I’m sure I’ll find some thistles or goldenrod here,” she thought.
But the grasses in front of the hedges had been cut very short and there were no flowers.
Hedges, orchards and fields. Lindy changed direction and headed north. She searched for a long time. Finally her spirits rose as she came to an apple orchard.
“Ah, sweet apple blossoms; one of my favorites,” thought Lindy.
But as she got closer to the many rows of apple trees, all she saw hanging from the tree limbs were apples.
“I’m too late!” she cried. “There won’t be any new blossoms until next spring.”
Hedges, orchards and fields. Lindy once again changed direction and headed south. She searched for a long time. Finally her spirits rose as she spotted a field of bright yellow sunflowers.
“Hurrah! At last my family will have enough pollen and nectar for the winter,” thought the little honeybee. “I’ll just take a sample of pollen to share with my sisters back home.”
But just as Lindy was about to gather some sunflower pollen, a clumsy bumblebee bumped into her so hard, it knocked Lindy off the flower.
“Where am I? Where’s home? I ate some of that pollen and now I feel dizzy and sick I wouldn’t taste any of these flowers if I were you,” mumbled the bumblebee as it fell to the ground and walked off erratically.
“Oh dear! The sunflowers are poisoned,” cried Lindy. “Now I have nothing to take back to the colony and they will all starve! I’ve failed to keep my Honeybee Scout Oath.”
”Follow me,” came a soft voice.
The honeybee looked up and saw a beautiful butterfly fluttering just
above her head. Lindy didn’t have time to ask questions as the butterfly began to fly westward. Lindy decided to follow.
The two flew along for a long time. Finally they came to a cottage with a sign out front that read;
Pollinator’s Paradise Gardens
No pesticides- No lawnmowers
There were hedges that lined a pebble path leading up to the cottage and surrounding the hedges were thistles and goldenrod. On the left side of the house lay apple and cherry trees and on the right side, fields of sunflowers as well as clover and daisies and many other types of wildflowers.
“There are flowers for every season,” explained the butterfly. “If you are here in the spring, the apple and cherry blossoms are some of the best.”
Lindy was so excited. She’d finally found hedges, orchards and fields. She was so happy, she rolled in some clover to take some of its pollen back to her family.
The little honeybee scout returned to her hive just before sunset. First she gave some of her sisters a taste of the delicious clover pollen. Then she began to vibrate her wings to show everyone her excitement She started to dance in a wiggle waggle zig zag line to show the westerly direction of the garden. She looped around in a figure eight and came back to her starting point to dance her westward waggle line many more times to indicate the garden was far away.
When she was finished with her instructional dance, Lindy told the colony, “There are enough flowers in these hedges, orchards and fields to last us for many winters, but the gardens are very far away. I suggest we leave this place and make a new hive home there. You all have the directions now.”
A swarm of honeybees was seen the next morning entering the Pollinator’s Paradise Gardens. They shared their new home with other bees, bumblebees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators.
And Lindy, the honeybee scout kept very busy finding the best pollen and nectar from hedges, orchards and fields.
Flash Fiction and Artwork by Carol Wolfe Boquet
I am an American now living in France. After graduating from Drew University with a BA in studio art, I began working as a professional puppeteer with companies including, Bob Brown Puppets, Pandemonium Puppets, Poko Puppets, the National Marionette Theatre and my own, Dancing Stars Marionettes. In 1976 I wrote, under the name Carol Coombs, a fantasy story « The Four Sisters « which was published in «Cricket Magazine » I’ve written many stories for children and am also an artist specializing in paintings of endangered species.