a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

Back in October of 2006, National Research Council reported that bees, bats and other pollinators are disappearing from North America. At that point, shortages already existed, putting crops and other plants at great risk and further disrupting an already out of balance eco-system. Recent information shows that things are not improving, with mites and other maladies continuing to kill off bees in large numbers.

More mysterious, is the development of widespread CCD or Colony Collapse Disorder, where bees abandon their hives almost overnight. Studies and speculation of causes point towards pesticides, GMOs and even cell phone use. Bottom line? No bees, no food. The End.

Studies on bee populations and research on solutions has continued. Scientists are developing a food supplement for bees, made with essential oils of lemongrass and spearmint, a formula that helps bees resist the pathogens carried by mites – an immune booster of sorts. Other solutions are being explored, such as the breeding of wild bees. The government will hopefully become involved (better late than never, we may say) in response to a bill recently introduced to Congress by Senator Barbara Boxer of CA. The proposal would give funding for research to protect the bee population.

What can we do to help? Plant gardens with bee-friendly plants, such as Beebalm/Buckwheat and Clovers, to ensure food supply for bees in your area. Educate your friends and neighbors about the importance of Honeybee preservation. Love the health benefits of local honey? Bee-farming at home is not as difficult as it may sound. Convince friends and neighbors to co-operatively manage a few hives and reap big rewards with shared efforts. My co-housing community just had our first honey harvest last week, collecting enough honey to fill 50 jars of “Arcadia Gold”. It took just 2 bee suits and 6 people a half day to complete the job. Fun – and no stings – were had by all.

Apartment dwellers and other non-bee types can pitch in by making sure to purchase only organic and non-GMO products, keeping pesticides, and other chemicals out of the food supply for both people and pollinators. Learn more about bees, here.

Let’s give Bees a chance.

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  1. Marywinne Says:

    The New Yorker issue of (I think) August 6th has an issue on bees- interesting. about CCD and other matters.

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