Friday, March 09, 2007

Unsung Heroes

Spring is coming in fast, where I live. The daffodils are nodding brightly, primroses are appearing everywhere and celandines too. The fist butterflies are venturing out. And I noticed several bumblebees yesterday. No honeybees yet. But they will be around soon.

Or will they?

I live in England. And so far, according to what I have heard from beekeeping friends, everything seems normal here as regards honeybees.

But across the pond, it is not normal at all any more. For millions upon millions of honeybees have suddenly disappeared, all over the USA. Vanished without trace.

Since bees are so crucial to the pollination of crops, especially fruit trees, a lot of people are very, very worried right now. Livelihoods are threatened.

And everybody is perplexed. Why is this happening? It is not that the bees are necessarily dying. Beekeepers opening their hives are not finding piles of dead bees. In fact they are not finding any dead bees at all. They are finding totally empty hives. The bees have simply vanished, leaving no sign, no clue, no note on the mantelpiece.

They are calling it Colony Collapse Disorder. But merely giving it a name gets us no nearer to understanding what is going on.

However it is rather strange that it is only happening in the USA, isn't it? Are the bees trying to tell us something?

Yesterday, I read a possible explanation for this phenomenon. A certain kind of electro-magnetic signal that has a disorienting effect could be preventing the bees from finding their way home. Hmmm. It sounds very plausible to me. See what you think. I'd like to bet, though, that there will be a chorus of denials from everyone with a vested interest in these transmission systems. Specially the military. You watch. They will say the so-called 'war on terror' (an oxymoron if ever there was one) is far more important than a few bees.

The trouble is, it is those millions of little, seemingly insignificant creatures like bees and ants and earthworms -- and the even smaller ones, like bacteria -- that keep everything going. It is on them that our whole wellbeing depends. They are the unsung heroes. Without them, we starve. Without them, we die. It's that simple.


Sara said...

This is disturbing news. I'll have to look into it a bit more now that I'm aware of it. Speaking of bees and their amazing-ness....One of my all time favorite books is The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, absolutely lovely.

Rain said...

My husband and I just discussed this again this morning. The problem is not just in the US, but I think it began here. It is now in Europe also. The bees evidently will not enter a hive that has a mobile phone beside it but there are other possibilities for what's going on. Raising bees in these hives is as artificial as much of our meat production. It's not healthy and it stresses them. Evidently in Arizona the 'killer bees' are immune to the problem. They are a much heartier bee but also more difficult to work with. YOu also aren't seeing deaths in normal wild bee hives (just saw one this spring in a hollow of a tree out where I live). Some of the bee operators in Arizona are switching over to the killer bees which came up here from South America

It's really like the way we feedlot our beef and then expect it to be healthy to eat. Humans are very removed from natural cycles and are always shocked when one hits them alongside the head.