When most people think of Valentine's Day, thoughts of striped bugs that sting are not the first that pop into their head.
However, as I have recently learned this year, there are some surprising connections between this day of love and the time honoured tradition of beekeeping.
Whether it is the characteristics of honey bees - hard work, fertility, perseverance, wealth or the mere hexagon shape of their comb symbolizing the heart, these little ladies are oozing romance.
A mentionable connection is the word honeymoon. A vacation newlyweds take to celebrate their love for each other. It originates from Babylon when a father of the bride would give the groom all the mead (honey beer) he desired for a month after the wedding. It was said that if the bride drank enough mead that month, that she would become pregnant within the year.
Sweet raw honey is also a powerful aphrodisiac, which can be popular during Valentine's Day celebrations.
Many different beliefs look to honey bees as a symbol of love and luck. Cupid, the god of love and desire, was known in the Renaissance era to be closely connected to bees and was frequently depicted with honey. In Chinese culture, honey bees are a symbol of marriage and love. In Indian weddings, the bride offers honey to the groom as a symbol of sweetness in life. Greek goddess Cybele was connected to the honey bee as a symbol of fertility.
Flowers are also closely knit to Valentine's day as a gift between loved ones, and who likes flowers more than our friends the honey bees. The gift of flowers symbolizes wealth and abundance from one to another.
And the final connection of the two is that Saint Valentine is also less commonly known as the patron saint of beekeepers!
Being the saint of lovers and marriages everywhere, Saint Valentine is also the protector of bees and in charge of ensuring the sweetness of honey.
So on the 14th when you are spending time with the ones you love, think of our bees and have a little honey to sweeten your day.