Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Where The Bees At?

The other day I had some amazing ice cream drizzled with local honey. It was heavenly and in my mind I gave props to the bees that helped make that delicious honey.

I have a love/hate relationship with bees. I hate them because stingers duh! I have never been stung by one (knock on wood). But as a kid whose family income relied on agriculture, bees were super important. You may have noticed that bees have made the news lately thanks to "Colony Collapse Disorder". It is as bad as it sounds, for bees and for people. The honey bee is disappearing. About 7 years ago their numbers began to plummet. In 1945 there were 4.5 million hives, in 2007 there were 2 million hives.

There are a few different reasons for the decline in the bee population....
  • Pesticides can straight up kill bees when ingested or make them intoxicated enough to not be able to return to the hive. Pesticides also weaken bees and make them much more likely to die from a disease or parasite. 
  • Large farms or ranches growing the same crop. Agriculture these days is done a lot differently than in the 1940's. Now one crop is grown over large areas. Once that crop is pollinated for the season there is nothing else for bees to eat. 
Did you know that honey bee pollination is required for about 1/3 of all crops? That is $15 billion dollars worth of crops! That is food for you and me.  Fruits, vegetables, flowers all require bees to produce. Don't think just because you are a meat eater you are okay. Bees are required to produce grasses and hay that are used to feed cattle. This is a big deal and even large companies like Whole Foods are working to bring awareness with their website Share the Buzz.

Is this anything you and I can do to help? According the bee expert Marla Spivak the best thing people can do to help the bees is simply plant bee friendly plants and avoid using pesticides.

Que Viven Los Bees!

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