1 What's all the Buzzzz about?

I am allergic to bees. I remember camping when we were young and I went into the tent to get changed. A bee was in there (dun dun dun). It got caught in my shirt as I was taking it off and it stung me right in my armpit. While this was very amusing to my family, it was not pleasant for me. My armpit swelled right out....almost like a reverse armpit.

A few friends of mine are passionate about bees. A lot has been going on with the bee population lately. You may or may not have heard anything about it. I am not sure I would know anything about it if it wasn't for Sam and Lily. Rather than trying to figure it all out on my own I thought I would ask them a few questions about the current bee problem.

What is the current problem with the bee population?
The honey bees are flying away from their hives and not coming back. This includes the queen which is completely unheard of.

What is causing this problem?
Part of the problem is that there isn't a full understanding of colony collapse disorder and what causes it. Scientists think it's anything from overuse of pesticides, working the bees too hard (transporting them all over the country and not giving them any breaks), cell-phone signals interfering with their communication, possible virus(es) attacking the bees that have either mutated or the bees can no longer fight off due to a weakened immune system (brought on by the pesticides and over-working).

Another cause is invasive species killing off native pollinators. The varroa and trachea mites are both invasive species from Asia. As well as the wax moth which moves into weakened hives and uses it to form their own colonies, thus completely destroying that hive. Hives are even lost to both mites, and then the moth move in to finish off the hives. Once the moth moves in, you have to burn the wooden hive structure. You can't use it again for another hive.

What can people do to help?
There is lots of small things that people can do to help the honey bee population as well as have an overall positive impact on the environment.

* Buy organic. The less pesticides used, the better the air (and flowers) are for the bees.
* Donate, if you can, to a bee research charity (Pollinator, Help the Honey Bees)
* If you have a yard, plant flowers in it. Plant a wide variety, lots of colors, and different bloom times. This way the bees have a constant supply of food for as long as possible.
* Seek out and support local beekeepers. These people are the ones who have the most intimate relationships with the bees and we need their knowledge in finding a cause/cure for colony collapse disorder.
*Education. The most simple thing you can learn is the difference between a wasp/hornet and a honey bee. People are scared of bees, and once you learn that they will not attack unless provoked the better the chances are of a hive surviving from human interference.

Have you ever seen the Bee Movie? If you haven't watch it as it really explains the importance of the bees. Lily had a good point about the importance of bees and I think the general lack of education on what they do for our planet. "[People] wonder why apples suddenly jumped in price. Or why certain vegetables cost an arm and a leg. Bees, it's all about the bees." Without the bees we will lose all of our fruits and vegetables. It will affect cattle as well. These little fuzzy buzzy insects will affect our whole way of life if they aren't doing their "job".


Photos courtesy of Sam and Lily

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous entry! I am also concerned about the bees...