Save The Bees

Cute little fuzzy buzzy bees darting from flower to flower, devoted to their task. I am an avid bee watcher. They are fascinating creatures to observe, so active and alive.

I wasn’t always like this. For most of my life I never paid much attention to bees, only enough to get out of their way.  As a child I saw them as mysterious and dangerous. Now as an adult knowing their precarious position my heart soars every time I see one.

I no longer take these essential little dynamos for granted.  We owe much to bees and this goes far beyond honey.  It is the by-product of their “busyness” pollinating roughly three-fifths of the food plants in the United States that keeps us in groceries, so to speak.

One full third of our diet depends on bee pollination.

We can thank our helpers; the bees for many of our favorite foods including: strawberries, apples, apricots, blueberries, kiwi, almonds, coconuts, pomegranates, cherries, okra, onions, sunflowers, tangerines, oranges, hazelnuts, soybeans, cauliflower, avocado, cucumber and watermelon just to name a few.(See complete list)

The Disappearing Act

By now many of us have heard of the bees disappearing. Scientists, the media and people in the know have been all abuzz about this phenomena they named Colony Collapse Disorder. (CCD) It seemingly came out of nowhere and since its abrupt appearance in 2005, it has been affecting millions and millions of bees all over the world.  It is characterised by the disappearance of worker bees that leave behind a queen, a few attendants, and maybe a few drones. Basically abandoned, the infected are left to wither and die with a hive full of honey.

There have been many different theories floating around as to the cause of Colony Collapse and there has been much finger pointing.  Many of the fingers point to our reliance on the pesticides and chemical fertilizers essential to our large commercial food production and the increasing use of Genetically Modified crops.

There has been evidence to support tracheal mites and varroa mites, known threats to bees. Some have proposed Nosema; a fungus as the cause, while others suggest it may be a virus such as Israeli acute paralysis.

Some are even blaming the commercial bee industry itself. Saying that the stress the hives undergo during frequent moves on trucks - typical of the way large commercial farms operate are helping to cause CCD. It should be said that smaller bee operations and hobbyists have reported less occurrence of this devastating disorder, this is probably due to the genetic diversity that smaller hives tend to have.

I personally think it’s a combination of many different factors and it’s a sign of modern civilization’s thirst for utter dominance over nature. Our total disharmony with our wild roots is catching up to us. Our disregard is showing and the signs are everywhere, not just in bees. We are being given a rather stern warning that we should heed.

An inspirational Sunflower

Save the Bees

And how do we save the bees? I’m no scientist. I am just a backyard gardener with a yen for the planet. Yes, I care but what can I really do personally? What can we all do?

The best action you can take to benefit honey bees is to not use pesticides and if you must use pesticides try not to use them at mid-day when honey bees are most likely to be out foraging for nectar. Try to use natural fertilizers instead of chemical ones.

Plant a large number of native nectar producing plants particularly in the colors pink, purple, and blue. Some plants to consider are red clover, alfalfa, foxglove, bee balm, and joe-pye weed. ( See complete list of plants)

And put in a good word for our friend the bee. They get bad press. At the very least people just don’t care about bees. Some people hate bees and others are afraid and justifiably so, in some cases. (See Africanized bees) 

But for the most part most of us will never encounter any killer bees. Just the garden variety, the cute fuzzy buzzy bees busy with helping transform our world into a garden; one flower at a time. Leave them to their important task.  They mean no harm to you and will only use their stinger in self-defense.  They are gentle creatures. If you encounter a hive in a natural area, leave it alone. We are meant to coexist with bees and we can as long as we learn to respect them for what they are and what they do.

We must change our attitudes about bees if they are to survive. The facts remain that while the number of bee keepers have been decreasing, the number of companies specializing in the removal of unwanted hives is on the rise.

Love them, hate them or fear them… we need them.

As the world population swells over the coming decades demand for food will surely increase.  We will need not only the bees to help feed us but we will need to rethink our role on the planet. We’ll have to realise that we need to foster a cooperation with nature as well as our neighbors.  We’re all in this together. You, me, the bees… the whole world.  By saving the bees, we are in essence saving ourselves.

English: Honeybee (Apis mellifera) landing on ...

English: Honeybee (Apis mellifera) landing on a milk thistle flower (Silybum marianum). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanks for listening,

Strawberryindigo.

 

.

References and Suggested Reading

The Honey Trail by Grace Pundyk. © 2008

A Short History of the Honey Bee by E. Readicker-Hendersen. © 2009

USDA website; page on CCD

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32 thoughts on “Save The Bees

  1. Pingback: Killer Africanized Honeybee Migration Through the United States | Pest Control and Bug Exterminator Blog

  2. Pingback: Weekly photo challenge: Inside: BEE AND FLOWER « Pictures in living color

  3. Pingback: USDA admits exterminating birds crops and bees | The GOLDEN RULE

  4. the bees have changed their tune.
    the hives harmonic hum’s become
    a symbol of our disorder.
    Best we listen,
    after all it is written
    that when the mode of the music changes
    the wall so of the city shake.
    What then if Nature sings a different song?

  5. Your heart is so grand. I say a little prayer whenever I see a honeybee. Thought you might enjoy what my son said after science class last month: “I never want to be a bee!”
    “Why, son?”
    “Because all they do is roll around in sperm all day!”
    LOL
    Love his brain.
    Very splendid post. :)
    Sam

  6. Pingback: Killer Africanized Honeybee Migration Through the United States « Pest Control Marketing & such…

  7. I never realised how essential bees really were until I read your well-written blog. A real eye opener and thanks for being responsible and informational. Respectfully, Marc

  8. I have been reading and curating articles on the subject for some time and I think the evidence is increasingly pointing to neonicotinoid pesticides as the culprits for CCD.

    I have been using Scoop.it to help spread the knowledge, and I have kept a page of articles on the subject as well.

    We can hope the tide will turn – it’s just a question of whether bees will be around when it does.

    Here are the links:

    Colony Collapse Disorder In Honeybees – Curated Articles

    CCD articles – What Is Killing The Honeybees? on Scoop.it

  9. Bees and amphibians, our canaries in the coal mine. Their disappearance bodes ill for we two-legged who think we are the “masters” of this planet. NO pollinators = NO food.
    I think this is one of the best articles I’ve read about bee problems and colony collapse disorder. I love your last sentence – by saving the bees we are saving ourselves. If only more people realized that it is in our own interest to be conscious of how our actions impact the other lives in our environment. We really are saving the world our children and grandchildren have to live in, by saving the bees today.

  10. I am so glad you have posted the story of bee hive collapse. There just is not enough attention paid to this very important topic. Great coverage! Thank you so much. :)

  11. Thanks for posting about our beloved bees… it’s so important that people become aware of the damage they do when they spray their roses or oleanders. Awareness is the first step towards change!

  12. Save those poor little bees. My dad is a retired beekeeper, and as soon as we move into a less dense location we want a few hives of bees, this is great!

    • Hi Laura: That’s great to hear about the bees.I’m so glad! I hear that eating local honey from your backyard is super healthy for you and helps with allergies. If I lived out in the country I might try it myself….and of course if my dad was a bee keeper. ;) Thanks for commenting.

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