The hum of bees

Elevate artist Stephanie Jalland delights us with some facts about bees.


‘The hum of bees
Is the voice of the garden’


Sitting in my garden I can hear their gentle background hum and amidst the flowers see a constant dance of bees.


‘In meadows every afternoon,
About the time for tea,
The flowers listen to the tune,
Sung by the bumblebee.’
Christopher Ryan


Bees have been buzzing out there for around 100 million years. There are nearly 20,000 species worldwide and they are all descended from one ancestral species of vegetarian wasp which lived when dinosaurs were still stomping the earth and flowering plants were just beginning to appear.

Bees have four wings, they hook them together to form one big pair when flying and then unhook them when not flying! Not all bees produce honey: solitary bees – as their name suggests – like to live on their own, and don’t have a queen, or live in hives.

Bees live in marshes, shingle, sand dunes, soft cliffs, heathlands, wetlands, chalk grasslands, quarries, gravel pits, sea walls and even post-industrial land. Leafcutter bees construct their homes from thick-stemmed plants, rotted wood and leaves, and masonry bees, can be found inside naturally-occurring holes in bricks and mortar joints!

Bumblebees use their ‘smelly footprints’ to distinguish between their own scent, the scent of a relative and the scent of a stranger. This means they can improve their success in finding food and avoid flowers that already have been visited.


‘How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!’
Isaac Watts 1674-1748


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More from Stephanie and the Elevate artists

During the spring and summer 2020 Stephanie Jalland recorded her monthly reflections, sharing the sights and sounds around her home in Downton. You can listen to all of Stephanie’s monthly recordings here.

Download ‘Elevate your Mood – Issue 11 (pdf)

Send us your contribution

We love to include some of your own reflections in future posts and in our monthly print edition ‘Elevate your mood’ or quarterly printed tabloid ‘Take the time’. Why not write a few lines, try a poem or send us picture on the general theme of beach, holidays and summer? Email to ArtCare or send to ArtCare, Block 29, Salisbury District Hospital, Salisbury SP2 8BJ.