Intoxicated bees ought to have busted flying under the influence around Australia’s Parliament House in Canberra, the nation’s capital.
Parliament’s head beekeeper( yes, the Australian government has a head beekeeper ), Cormac Farrell afforded a fascinating Twitter thread on why the Aussie bees appeared to be drunk. Turns out, because they were!
According to Farrell, the bees people have spotted either stumbling around or plummeting out of the sky are drunk on fermented flower nectar thanks to Australia’s weather heating up as summertime begins.
Unfortunately, it’s not just a bit of summer merriment for the bees, it can have a seriously detrimental effect on both private individuals and the hive. Bees that fly suck often have accidents, die of booze poisoning, or can’t find their way home and find themselves vulnerable.
Even if they do make it home, hoping to sleep it off for a few hours, beehives have a strictly no-drinking policy so bees that have imbibed are refused entry by “bouncers, ” and are even attacked by the sober bees.
It’s thoughts the intoxicated bees are disclaimed entry to prevent the honey from fermenting, which could destroy the whole colony. However, Farrell pointed out, there is a good side to all this. The sugar reaches excellent booze for humans.
As Farrell showed off in the thread, Australia’s Parliament House reaches both honey mead and sugar vodka from its five resident beehives, which are often presented as knacks to foreign dignitaries. Set up by government departments of Parliamentary Services and the Australian National University’s Apiculture Society, the hives were installed in the building’s smothering landscape in 2017 as a student-led initiative in bee management.
The initiative is part of a world-wide effort to tackle the decline in bee populations, which are crucial to ecosystems, environmental sustainability, and future meat insurance.
Curiously, Farrell points out, this drunken behavior only seems to happen to the exotic honeybee, which was introduced from the UK and other European countries 190 year ago, rather than native Australian bees, of which there are over 2,000 species. The implication being it’s not just Brits on holiday that can’t comprise their liquor.
Farrell likewise leaves us with one last enjoyable information: where the period “honeymoon” comes from. It refers to the fifth-century European tradition of the newlywed couple boozing mead- a boozy liquor made from fermenting honey with water, and contributing hops, specks, spices, etc- during a moon hertz- the first month of marriage.