Quite a buzz has been occurring about bees, or the lack of them reported by domestic beekeepers. This past year approximately 25% of all the colonies which should have bees, are vacant of buzzing, and this has alarmed not only beekeepers but other scientists as well.
While there is no real consensus about what is the cause of the problem, some have stated that the disappearing may be caused by an insecticide, Gaucho. Others have stated that warmer than normal winters may have had an effect on the bee population. Others say that as the number of keepers has grown, the basic level of care and competency has decreased. One thing researchers have agreed upon, is that more resources – tax dollars – are needed to research this problem. This may be a case where they may actually be correct.
Bees are tremendously important to the growth of food, as they are often shipped into farming areas to pollinate large amounts of crops. Paul Wenger of the California Farm Bureau testified that “bees are the unsung heroes of our state’s important almond industry that has an annual farm value of more than $2.5 billion.” Wenger added that more than honey and almonds are at stake. In California, bees pollinate “melons, cherries, avocados, Bartlett pears, bushberries, kiwi, many apple varieties, cucumbers, plums, prunes, pumpkin, squash, ornamental plants, and dozens of vegetable and flower seeds,” said Wegner.
Albert Einstein, quoted in Germany’s Der Spiegel, once said, “if the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”
This buzz – or lack of it – may be a rather serious issue, and is at the least worthy of Federal funding to investigate.