The red rings around the trunk of the manchineel tree stand out against the white sand as it slopes down to the Caribbean sea. These faded rings are a clear alert to sun-saturated holidaymakers that its shade should be avoided.
But for the role which it plays against beach erosion, the manchineel tree might be less well tolerated in our increasingly health and safety-conscious world. Indeed, the manchineel has been called the “most dangerous tree on earth” for unsuspecting humans.
Not for bees, though. It was clear to me that the Bajan bees found the manchineel pollen very palatable indeed, even under the midday sun.
As soon as the onshore breeze dropped, the bees flocked onto the small flower buds, filling their bulging yellow corbicula (pollen baskets).
And that even some other local insects were of the same opinion.
Call me old-fashioned, but I’m heeding the red rings and the equally red warning sign.