Friday, April 4, 2008

Vanishing of the Bees

I'd like to bring a little attention to a crisis that's been hitting North America and other parts of the world the past couple years. Our honey bees are going on strike, so it seems, disappearing in alarming numbers.
This seems to be due to Colony Collapse Disorder (the title of my drawing), which isn't much of an explanation. It simply means the bees of a colony up and leave. There are so many possibilities put forward, including disease, viruses, pollution, bee keeping practices, cell phones, mites, GM crops, the list goes on. Entomologists have been doing many studies and still have not come up with a satisfacorty answer, and suggest that the problems are due to a combination of factors. I think a part of the problem is that these bees aren't native to North America, the bee used most often for commercial purposes is the European Honey Bee, Apis mellifera. Native bees (as well as other insects) may play a role in the pollination of our crops, but they can't pick up the slack created by the disappearance of the European Honey Bees.

It's a bit sobering to realize how much we depend on a single insect species. Aside from the honey and beeswax, they are the exclusive or assistant pollinators of many of our crops, click here to see a list! It's quite long.

There is an etsy seller, ossmedicinejewelry, who is raising money to create a documentary highlighting these issues. It's called Vanishing of the Bees, click here to check out the website and see the trailer:
And be sure to donate, I did!

My insect ecology class is going out next week to set up bee boxes around campus to encourage more of them to stick around and help us with our gardens.


Helen said...

I am deathly allergic to bees although I do find fascination with them. Sometimes I shudder to think that something so much smaller than me has the power to end my life. Despite the allergy, I love to watch bees because they are very poetic in motion.

RetroRugrats said...

There was a recent documentary on this topic on "Explorer". Thank you for sharing and bringing this to the attention of many, it is so important.

BackwoodSophisticate said...

The disappearing bees is so scary to me! What would we do without our bees?!?
Great post, very interesting. I love bugs!

Field Notes said...

great post!

I almost always include a mention of bees in my lectures/talks about grooming since few people know bees groom each other. It's sad that the ones in NA are so affected by the mite that other bee species groom away.

Billions of agricultural dollars ride on being able to find the solution.

Chucka Stone Designs said...

If for nothing else other than to ensure the production of honey & survival of many flowers I am all about saving the bees! Thanks for bringing this to the forefront.