At the Port Shepstone Regional Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, not only people are cared for and receive nourishment; nature also receives a helping hand when the occasion calls for it.

Outside the gates to the Outpatients Department where we make frequent calls to have old bones,  wheezing lungs and other ailments attended to, enterprising vendors have set up fruit stalls on the sidewalk. They also sell cold drinks, popcorn, cheese-puffs and candy, to everybody’s great delight. They offer a variety of fruits of very good quality and not at all expensive, attractively displayed on makeshift tables. We love shopping there early in the morning.

Earlier this month we noticed that honey bees were helping themselves to the fresh fruits here and there. No stress. Live and let live is the culture here and it had been a very dry season this far, which means that the bees have to forage far and wide for flowers. Then, some of the bees were attracted to the table where candy is sold and soon they were working their way inside the wrappings to feed on the sweets. Everybody found this very sweet (yes, pun intended) and a few lollipops were unwrapped to feed the greedy little workers.

When we visited the hospital again this morning, great was our surprise when we saw that the bees have now been set up with their own buffet table. It was quite apparent that they all knew exactly where to find the sweet stuff and the human buyers were no longer in danger of inadvertently swallowing a bee when biting into a sweet apple or sipping a coke. When someone idly wondered whether bees feeding on candy might, just maybe, be susceptible to diabetes, the general opinion seemed to be that this should not present a problem, as they were at the right place to receive treatment. 😀