Posted by: Pam B. Newberry | December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor Day…We Remember…

It happened 70 years ago, the attack on Pearl Harbor. Twelve years before I was born, but my parents and my parents’ parents never forgot and they instilled in me the knowledge to not forget as well.

I wasn’t there when it happened, I wasn’t on this planet when America’s soul was rocked by the tragedy. But, I was here on September 11, 2001. That is solidly engrained in my memory along with the assassination of President Kennedy, landing on the moon, the explosion of the Challenger, and a few other personal episodes.

The life and death of too many souls is part of the life and death cycle of the great plan. Though I’ve learned about the life of Christ, the meaning of Christmas, and hold the belief that there is a greater power, I find myself questioning all my beliefs when someone close to me passes on.

Remembering Pearl Harbor is one of those moments when I stop and reflect what kind of difference am I making in the world and I think of those who’ve touched my life and are no longer with me this day. One such lady, was a colleague, friend, mentor, and the ultimate school teacher. She left us here on Earth many years ago, but while she was here she definitely made her mark. She left me with the strong need to always remember Pearl Harbor and the sacrifice of others. She did it very quietly. She wore a Pearl Harbor pin. A quiet statement that spoke volumes. I don’t have a pin to wear, but I do have a “pen” to make a quiet statement.

Those who died during Pearl Harbor, those who died in the battles to bring justice after the Pearl Harbor strikes, and those who have since died in the varied wars, I salute them and praise them for the dedication and service to our country. In the same way, I salute and praise for the safe return of those now serving our country in harm’s way. They do what no one else is willing or are able to do. THANK YOU!

Now, you’re asking, what does this have to do with honey bees? Well, directly, not much. You can, however, find a parallel connection if you look.

This time of year is hard for the honey bee. The changing weather, drops in temperature, and the uncertainty of each hour, let alone the next day are all part of a honey bee’s life and death cycle during the winter months.

The other day, the weather was not quite up to 55 degrees F. Bees die when the temperature drops below 55 when they wonder out of the warmth of the hive. To my surprise, while looking over the hives, I noticed a little bee come out of one the hives and she suddenly stopped and died. I felt my heart cringe. Here was a bee that was either leaving the hive because she was old or she was a young bee heading out and fell prey to the cold. I wondered why would the bee come out of the hive to die if it could have stayed in the warm to survive.

I watched a nearby hive and saw several more bees emerge and two fly off. I wondered if they would be coming back or also die in the cold. And then it occurred to me. They were scouts. It is their job to sacrifice and to determine if they can forge for food. Honey bees use a tremendous amount of energy (food stores) to keep the hive at a constant 92 degrees F to protect their brood (the young). They must replenish those stores or starve. Starvation is the number one killer of honey bees in the winter.

As I stood there I recognized the parallels between our dedicated servicemen and women and their need to protect us and our way of life with that of the honey bee. I saw the valor in those honey bee scouts. I saw the connections and the cycle of life. I abhor war. I have a great distaste for those who want to covet what we have and are not willing to work hard for their own rewards and support what we have built over the two hundred thirty-five or so years of this countries existence.

Its been said by many that if we don’t know our history, we are doomed to repeat it. Honey bees protect themselves from failures learned by passing on knowledge through their gene pool, use of hormones, and educating their young through dance. The more I learn about the honey bee, the more I realize how much we should work at protecting them, studying them, and passing on what we learn from them.

Our challenge this winter is to make it through with all four hives intact. Statistics tells us that we should be happy if we make it through with 50% of our hives. I’m hoping we beat the odds.

We have spent the past five months working hard to help prepare our ladies for the harsh time of winter.  We treated them against the horrible varroa mite and other ravaging diseases. We helped them build their stores of food to the recommended 60  lbs. of honey in their frames. One way we did this was by choosing not to rob them this first year in order that they would have enough to make it through the winter. We will provide them with supplemental food when the weather allows. We placed a wind break around the hives to reduce the strong winds that blow through the bottom land. And, we will watch them through the winter months and pray they are able to survive in spite of all the various dangers that lurk in their environment, such as  bears.


Beehives ready for winter

During this glorious Christmas season, I am thankful for Hobbit King, his wisdom to encourage us to take up the hobby of beekeeping, and the courage to include me in that endeavor. I’m also indebted to you, my reader. I hope this little blog has been helpful at sharing with you the value of the honey bee and how you, too, can make a difference by doing the little things that will help keep our environment and the world a little safer and healthier.

May you and yours have a blessed Christmas and a glorious Happy New Year!

Always with Honey Cheers,
Hobbit Queen


  1. It is good to remember and appreciate the things people did and the huge sacrifices made for us in the past.

    Another reason for a bee leaving the hive in the cold weather can be needing the toilet…they don’t like to go inside the hive and like us, sometimes they can’t hold it in any longer! Fingers crossed for all our bees this winter.


    • Very good point Emily…the little ladies love keeping their hives clean. I think I marvel about that the most. So deligent! Thanks for reading my blog, too.
      Honey Cheers,
      Hobbit Queen


  2. Good to be hearing from “Beeland” again. I want to thank you for your Dec. 7 Pearl Harbor Day post. It is so heartfelt and captures many of the memories I have of my dad and uncles telling about that horrific day. From time to time readers of my blog mention how they enjoy the connections I make between animals and life. I think yours is the best yet. Who else but you would take the time to think through what it means when a bee turns scout and how that represents so much more in our complex world. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


    • Wow…thanks so much! I so appreciate you and your comments and especially love the “beeland” connection!


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