Honey Bees & Knitwear Design

Lately I’ve been very interested in learning more about honey bees. I was inspired after learning how to do the honeycomb diamond knitting pattern last December. These are some things I’ve learned so far…

diamondhoneycomb
Wool Honeycomb Knit dyed with Eucalyptus Leaves, 2015

Their Lives

Honeybees are very dependent on each other for survival in a matriarchal society led by the Queen Bee, who is the only bee capable of laying fertile eggs. Thousands of worker bees are female with different roles to ensure the well-being of the colony. Some roles including taking care of the larva that will develop into honeybees, creating the honeycomb structure, cleaning the hive, and finding nectar. There are hundreds of male bees, which are called drones. Their job is to seek a Queen Bee to mate with. The drone dies after he mates with the Queen Bee, this is also known as ‘sexual suicide.’ To keep the bee colony healthy with enough food supply during Winter, drones are forced to leave the bee hive.

Honeybees are known as our great pollinators because they help carry pollen from one plant to another. The wind also does this, but honeybees can do it more effectively. I’ve seen honeybees at work in my mami’s garden in Los Angeles. They loved to buzz and harvest pollen from roses that were in full bloom.

I also learned how honeybees contribute to modern day agriculture. They are taken from farm to farm to pollinate. Honeybee farmworkers find that the honeybees are dying at alarming rates. This phenomenon is called ‘Colony Collapse Disorder.’ The honeybees disappear and the cause of their death is unknown. The cause might be a combination of pests, insecticide, and pesticides in their environment.

There is a Honeybee Sanctuary in Virginia that helps promote honeybee life and well being. They also offer classes about honeybee keeping, since bees are necessary for ecological and agro-ecological health.

I hope to learn more about honeybees in the near future, and use the honeycomb diamond pattern in my knitwear designs.

Sources

Documentary- More than Honey (2012)

Documentary – Vanishing of the Bees (2009)

Website – Benefits-of-Honey.com

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