Saturday, August 17, 2013

If the bees go, we go

Most of us think of bees with some trepidation, fearful of their sting, warned by their buzz. If you like to garden for vegetables or fruits, however, you love your bees. A garden that buzzes with industrious bees is a healthy garden. We've got lots of bees, including some absolutely enormous black bumble bees that can barely fly.

Bees are like a canary in our communal coal mine. If they aren't around, pollinating, our food supply is at risk. And bees are in trouble.

 From the NY Times:
A mysterious malady that has been killing honeybees en masse for several years appears to have expanded drastically in the last year, commercial beekeepers say, wiping out 40 percent or even 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation’s fruits and vegetables. 
A conclusive explanation so far has escaped scientists studying the ailment, colony collapse disorder, since it first surfaced around 2005. But beekeepers and some researchers say there is growing evidence that a powerful new class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, incorporated into the plants themselves, could be an important factor. 
The pesticide industry disputes that... 
The European Union has proposed to ban their use on crops frequented by bees. Some researchers have concluded that neonicotinoids caused extensive die-offs in Germany and France.
But as long as agri-business makes money, who cares about the bees?

No comments: