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.