Friday, July 3, 2009

Bzz Bzz Bzz!

As I continued to soak up the pastoral Ohio landscape, I learned a random and alarming fact today: the honeybees are disappearing!

Who knew? I am distraught, as honeybees are my favorite. They mind their own business, and make one of my favorite foods.

Perhaps I am the last to know this. Apparently PBS recently aired a Frontline documentary explaining the situation. After a quick Google search, I now have more information:

  • Bees are a critical component of at least one-third of the food we eat.
  • Honeybee domestication is a multi billion dollar industry! Colonies are carted around the US, and released an average of 20 times per year to pollinate almonds, strawberries, peaches and more.
  • Whole hives of honeybees are dying, for no known reason. They set out one day, and just never return. Bee predators, who normally harvest honey from a collapsed colony, instinctively avoid these colonies.
  • Cell phone waves, while they cause slight honeybee disorientation (whoever thought to even ask that question!) do not kill honeybees. Scientists are finding dead honeybees riddled with disease, not just brainwashed.
  • The problem could possibly, but not definitely, be related to pesticides.
  • As a species, the remaining honeybees are overworked and underpaid.


I do not even know where to begin to process this knowledge. For now I only pass on the best public service announcement I can think of: Don't kill honeybees! They are cute, they mind their own business, and apparently they are already having trouble surviving as a species!

I also think the time has come to start planting those bee-attracting trees, bushes and flowers I was thinking about. Not to mention the garden. That sounds like an excellent fall project, once the Texas heat wave passes. I was hoping for butterflies and hummingbirds, but apparently now I might also be performing a public bee service.

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