I saw a recent documentary on bees and it really caught my attention due to the impact it can have on our food. The imported European honeybees are in deep trouble with mysterious large declines CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) due to potentially multiple diseases, overwork, cell phones, and chemicals. The culprit is being actively researched around the world as bee colonies disappear literally overnight from their hives. Some bee keepers have had to import at a great cost bees from Australia that do not have symptoms of CCD.
Bees have always when sick left the hive to die elsewhere to prevent causing more infections in the hive, but this is on a large scale. Three out of five bites of our food supply rely on pollination and a great deal of that is due to the honeybees. In China some people have had to start human manual pollination for fruit trees.
- PBS NATURE: Silence of the Bees
- Stung By Bees Newsweek article on the loss of bees on farmers
- Infoshop News - Honey Bee Disappearance No Laughing Matter
- 'Let Them Eat Cake': The Bee Crisis, Part 1
- Slashdot | Vanishing Honeybees Will Affect Future Crops
- 60 Minutes: Why Are Honeybees Disappearing? Pt. 1
The one thing we can all do is limit insecticides and pesticides in our gardens and encourage the native bee populations to thrive. There are many native bees in the world and they differ quite a bit from the European honeybees as they are not really honey producers, but pollinators. You can encourage native bees in your yard or property simply by taking small diameter (1/4” or 5-9 mm) bamboo cut to about 5 inches long and place them around your garden in bundles. Native bees love these little bee houses.
One thing I noticed and videotaped this weekend in HD slow motion was the fighting of bees amongst themselves stealing each others pollen.
More native bee house designs and info:
- PureFlorida: Recycled Bee House
- Mason Bee House
- Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees
- Aussie Bee
- Solitary Native Bees