Taking in the beauty of apiculture in my fashionable bee-keeping attire

Imagine a life completely dominated by women. A life where only a female can be the leader followed by female protectors, workers, and contributors. A world completely dependent upon the female race to survive and prosper. For some women, the idea of a world like this may seem liberating and limitless. While I would love for some of these aspects to be referring to our current life as people, we are not there yet. But there is a species that is, the bees. This might seem quite intense for a class of insects but their regime is fascinating to me. We visited the apiculture farm and the beekeeper, Ramon, explained and demonstrated the structure of the bees and how they operated. There is one queen bee per hive that developed into queen bee through being feed royal jelly. Once it gets hot outside, all the queen bees of different hives fly to the “square” to mate. They choose their mate by flying very high so that only the strongest and bravest male can reach her, the selectivity typically common to males amongst humans. After mating, the queen bee essentially castrates the male, killing him, and keeps the genitalia in a bag on her side to reproduce later. The queen bee is backed up by a hive of females who maintain the hive while the males were described by Ramon as “lazy and they do nothing all day”. Male bees cannot eat on their own, they have to go to different hives to try and get honey. This posed an interesting perceived role reversal among genders, where men are thought to provide for the dependent women. I am not insinuating that the sole purpose of males should be to aid in reproduction and after this they are useless. Nor am I implying that all humans partake in sexist mindsets. However, in a current state where women are unarguably suppressed, the way the bees operated with such a prioritization of females was enthralling. Even the way Ramon was explaining the bees’ female dominance to our group was presented with a sense of pride and he specifically asked for a girl student to churn the honey.

A dead, male bee that Ramon extracted from a hive

A slate with a queen bee present, distinguished by a larger bottom

                  

 

An adorable baby calf that loved head scratches and licking my hand

The dairy farm, that was also part of this day’s excursion, had similar feminist vibes to the experience. Anna was the woman that gave us the tour of her farm and her education on not only farming, but the science behind the nutrition of her products was amazing. While teaching the history of her farm she explained that her grandfather initially owned the farm and cows and she would spend all her time there and fell in love with the animals. She convinced her husband to move from the city to the country side to take it over. It was her idea and her initiative that brought her and her family where they are today. Based off of our few hours on the land, she seemed to be the main manager there. Anna told our group that she hopes her daughter will take over the farm one day – a bit of a juxtaposition to what I’m used to hearing at home: a son taking over his father’s business and rarely a daughter-mother combination.  Not to mention that the cows they are raising on their organic farm also represent female power. There is one bull on the farm that is only kept around to reproduce. While his role is important and essential to the progression of the farm, the bull is not the main source of income. The milk produced by all of the females that is sold as milk itself, cheese, or yogurt is the main revenue. All in all, the dairy and apiculture farm excursion offered and insightful perspective on female sovereignty that left me feeling inspired and empowered.

Anna spreading her knowledge on dairy farming

A beautiful mature cow that just finished her afternoon meal