Eight species from a North American bumble bee genus (Bombus) were studied. Four out of the eight showed serious declines in both number and size of habitat since the late 1800’s. The abundance of some bees had declined by 96 percent, while the ranges of some bees shrank by 23 to 87 percent – The Case of the Disappearing Bees
We’ve been keeping bees in the city on and off over the last 18 years (Farmer D started keeping bees back in 1972 on the first homestead in New Zealand.) For me, the honeybee has always been part of my childhood. Growing up, helped harvest honey and remember folks coming from all over to buy the gooey raw nectar.
This spring there’s an eerie silence here on the urban homestead. The feral bee colony is no more. Of course, we are puzzled at this hive’s recent and unexplained vanishing act. Could it be CCD ? We are suspecting that this die off isn’t a “natural cycle” and probably more to do with human activity. The neighboring school’s recent installation of WI-FI, perhaps?
Does that mean the end of keeping these beneficial insects here on the urban homestead, we wonder and are very, very worried indeed. We are worried too about the recent urban bee trend that has cultivated bee “havers” instead of true “keepers.” “Havers” will wreck havoc for us “keepers” here in the city who are diligent in the maintenance of their hives. These folks will do more harm than good in their attempt to “save the bees.”
Instead of being joyous at the sight of fruit trees bursting into bloom, feeling the emptiness of our pollinator friends. It would always make me happy to see bees happily going about their buzziness but the lack of is absolutely heartbreaking.
We all should be worried about the unexplained mystery. If this post hasn’t scared you, here’s a chart that will.
This is the fourth year in a row, that more than a 1/3 of the Western honeybees have failed to survive the winter. Bees contribute to global food security (contributing to about 1/3 of our diet) and their extinction would represent a terrible biological disaster.
Bees are the on the front lines when it comes to predicting the future and are the latest causality in our fiddling with the nature of things.