Aristotle had a beautiful mind. And a hunch about honeybees. He thought they collected honey from rainbows. He may not have gotten the science right but he sensed that there was more to bees then their bristling good looks.
This year I see fewer bees than last year. And the year before that. And the year before that. Actually, I see more bees in the news than in my gardens.
It’s official ~ bees are the new backyard chickens. And they’re riding in trucks. Beekeepers are renting them to big farms.
Honeybees live in artificial hives built for them. And housing starts are way up.
But there’s an invisible elephant in the room and we’re tripping over its trunk. Honeybees are dying from CCD, or Colony Collapse Disorder. The bees literally disappear. Open the hive, no one’s home. No dead bees. Nothingness. I wonder what Aristotle would make of this disappearing disease.
When we use the expression “elephant in the room” today, the elephant we’re usually talking about is something that’s too obvious to go unnoticed but uncomfortable to mention. However, there’s an older “elephant in the room” with a different meaning ~ something huge or perhaps unprovable. Scientists have a pile of theories about CCD. But this one fact is thuddingly true: there are serious declines in native solitary bee populations, in wild bumble bees, and in honey bees that are reared commercially. Should you care? In a word, yes.
When it comes to bees, the elephant is too big to ignore. In the US, there were 5.9m maintained colonies in 1947; today there are only 2.44m. Wild honey bees have all but died out. If bees keep disappearing at this rate, it’s estimated that there will be none left in the US by 2035. So researchers are generating some positive buzz. And showing us what life without bees will look like.
The Bee Problem is a complex issue involving many species. The research is far from finished. We need those little yellow hive dwellers ~ they put good food on our plates and plenty of sweetness in our lives. Like Blake Shelton and his Honey Bee tune. (Click the YouTube icon, lower right.)