Bee Wise

My neighbor’s honey bees have died.  All of them.

She said, in a friendly, but sarcastic tone, “Don’t worry, we won’t have bees but we’ll all have cell phones.”

There is a fantastic die off of bees all around the world, which could have a dramatic impact on the production of fruits and vegetables that require pollination.

In her article, A World Without Bees, timethief reports:

“Can you imagine a world without bees? Entomologists are studying the reasons behind an enormous bee die off.  They call it Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), and if they cannot find a solution the 80% of fruits and vegetables that require pollination may not make it to market.   Places bees can forage for pollen without being poisoned by pesticides have dramatically declined, and the cause of CCD appears to be related to diseases from pesticides, but no one is certain.”

Please read this excellent article on the dangers to our honey bee populations.

Environmental Degradation is Real

Environmental degradation can seem abstract and unreal.   Or, so gradual that we are oblivious to its very real impacts that are actually happening right now.

When your neighbor’s bees die, the reality of environmental destruction strikes home.  I live in Hawai’i, which is the land mass geographically most distant to any other land mass in the world.  This clues me into the fact that there’s nowhere on this globe where we can escape the effect of our collective errors.

About the cells phones?  One theory is that mobile phone signals are contributing to the decline of honeybees.  This is unproven, but it does make you wonder about the potential effects of our our beloved mobile communication.

Help the Bees and You Too

How can you help?

  1. Eliminate the use of pesticides including lawn and garden chemicals;
  2. Grow plants that support pollinators, including some natives;
  3. Eat organic foods;
  4. Reduce your cell phone use.  Even if it’s not harming the bees, it may not be healthy for you!  You may be addicted, but you can break free.

Happy Spring!

Do you notice environmental impacts in your neighborhood?  Any more thoughts on how to help the bees?

If you enjoyed this article please share the link.  Thank you!  Let’s connect on Google+ or the Always Well Within Facebook Page. With love, Sandra

13 thoughts on “Bee Wise

  1. I am well aware of the die off of bees and I find it alarming. I am hoping someone here will have some advice on what “Joe” Average can do. I do notice environmental impacts in our neighborhood — we had West Nile virus that killed off all the crows! The result was more song birds, the crow population is slowly rebuilding.

    • Mary,

      Thanks for sharing your concern. I agree – the bee situation is alarming. Noticing the way environmental impacts touch us seems to me a big factor in creating wider change. Thank you so much for your comment. Glad to hear that balance is being restored in your neighborhood.

  2. There isn’t much evidence of a direct link between cell phones and bee deaths, however it still has validity as a metaphor. When we focus too much of our efforts and energies into tech production while ignoring maintenance of the environment that allows our physical vehicles to thrive and last, at some point we will pay for it by having to deal with the effects of pollution. Most of the latest research into CCD indicates a combined viral-fungal cause, as well as a lack of genetic diversity in some bee species. It’s likely the ability for the virus and fungus to both be present in increased amounts has something to do with industrial agriculture and pesticide use. That’s what’s under study right now. Here’s a link to an article in Christian Science Monitor written for general audiences:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2011/0106/What-s-killing-bumble-bees-Some-species-numbers-down-96-percent.

    It’s certainly a complex problem, isn’t it? We don’t see it in my region quite as much because it’s less populated here, so people and the rest of nature are somewhat more in balance – for the moment. But the overall poisoning of the planet from human activity has a thousand incalculable harmful effects. Even a simple approach like “eat organic” isn’t universally effective any more. Because so much of the groundwater table is now polluted, green leafy vegetables have adapted to accept a higher level of harmful bacteria. If you eat organic lettuce (for example) you increase your chances of being poisoned by excess e. coli and salmonella. On the other hand, industrial farming feeds more people with products of reduced nutritional quality, which leads to obesity, diabetes, hypertension and reductions in life expectancy. Poor people eat fast food, which is killing them, but if they pay for better food they won’t be able to make the rent and cover medical bills. Yet, because the companies show profit, the standard investment funds most people rely on for retirement income include stock in McDonald’s, Taco Bell etc. Living (more) green requires a lot of thought.

    You really have to solve everything in order to solve anything.

    • Hi Mike,

      You’re right there isn’t much evidence linking cell phone use to the bees’ plight, but pesticides clearly seem to be implicated

      I appreciate your feel for the complexity of the problem! Everything is so interconnected, it can be hard to see where to start unraveling the ball. All we can do is educate ourselves, take positive steps, make our voices heard and keep walking in a more balanced direction.

      Thanks for the link. It looks like a good article! I followed the link but it seems the page has been removed or the url is incorrect and I didn’t find the article through a search.

      • Dang. I hate when that happens. If you Google the question “What’s killing the bees?” you get a raft of good articles. That’s how I first found the one that isn’t there any more.

  3. I am inundated with bees, I’m happy to say. By a stroke of luck they swarm around my particular assortment of perennials, particularly the Russian sage and the alliums, lavender, and other kinds of sage. The Russian sage grows far too large for my little city garden, and it doesn’t help our allergies, but I am loathe to cut it back or remove it because the local bees are so happy when it blooms in the later part of summer. I don’t know where their hive is, but they know where my garden is, and that’s the main thing. I don’t use pesticides on plants, and the microclimate for this garden is Mediterranean, against a south-facing wall and amid a brick-and-pea gravel patio. We don’t use our cell phones that much.

    • Sounds beautiful, Meg! Living next to bee keepers, I had plenty of bees in my garden in previous years. In fact, I was stung twice! We’ll see if any natives show up this year given the absence of the beekeeper hives. There is no cell phone coverage where I live. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your garden. The bees clearly love it!

  4. I just read a good book on this subject, The Beekeeper’s Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America, by Hannah Nordhaus. Though it’s nonfiction, she wrote it in the form of an engaging story. I learned a lot and met a host of interesting characters along the way. I highly recommend it! This recently published book also talks about the latest science on the bee die-offs. It made me want to keep bees in the back yard, in order to do my small part. I also think it would be a lot of fun to teach my kids about beekeeping, one more lifeskill for them to learn. Hopefully it’s a project I can get off the ground in the near future…

  5. Thanks for telling us about this book, Suzita. It sounds really good. What a great idea to teach your kids about beekeeping. The kids are the future! May it be a bight one.

  6. Pesticides, pollution, plastic, bees disappearing….it all is so overwhelming. Then, I go on and read Mikey’s comment, and it makes me kinda glad that I am almost happily oblivious to such detailed information. It is like the nightly news: too much information is not a good thing. Then, reading the other comments makes me feel better. As with everything, we all have to do our part and find a healthy balance in our own lives. In these overwhelming situations, I always remind myself that, at least, I can be the change I want to see.

  7. That’s a really good point, Debbie! It’s easy to get overwhelmed or even to start feeling desperate or hopeless. The best approach is “being the change I want to see” as you suggest. And sharing all the positive energy and information that you do, makes a huge impact too!

  8. On our morning walks around town, my best friend and I see lots of plants and flowering bushes and trees that have, always, in the past, had what looked like an electric halo of bees. We have been noticing the total lack of bees on these plants for several years now, and we practically cheer when we see even one bee! I would be not telling the truth if I said this situation does not worry and sadden us. I just wish there was a quick fix and I know there isn’t. We just have to keep trying to be greener and greener, I think. And cherish every little bee we see!

  9. Hi Jean,

    Thanks for sharing this story! It shows how we can all tune in and see what’s changing before our eyes. I love the way your cheer and celebrate any bees you see. You’re right – there’s no quick fix but we can keep moving in a good direction. I’m grateful for your awareness.

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