We Love Bees

I love to watch bees. Springtime and early summer is when I find the plump yellow-and-black honeybees buzzing around my backyard, doing their best to pollinate every fruit and vegetable flower in sight.

 

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, bees help* pollinate 71% of the 100 crops that provide most of the world’s food supply. Bees are busy pollinating fruits, avocados, almonds and other nuts, and we humans can eat 4000 different vegetable crops, thanks to bees. They also pollinate a variety of flowers, which add fragrance and color to our homes.

 

Bees have been in the news for the past decade for ‘colony collapse’, where the entire hive dies off. The cause is thought to be mites. A second concern was reported recently in the New York Times [“Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms”, NYT on March 28, 2013].

The article reports that during the past year, die-offs of honeybees escalated; the cause is thought to be nicotine-based pesticides.

 

We know that bees add immeasurably to the variety of foods we can eat and the flowers we can look at and smell. It would be great for bees if gardeners stopped using nicotine-based pesticides in their gardens. It would be even more helpful if agribusinesses did the same in the fields.

 

I for one want to see the bees kept happy and pollinating for years to come so I can enjoy the various fruits of their labor.

 

Bet you do, too!

 

*In 2000, the value of crops pollinated by bees was estimated at $14.6 billion in the USA alone, according to the UN.

 

 

8 responses to “We Love Bees

  1. This, for me, is a controversy. I am afraid of bees. It’s got to look hilarious in the spring and summer to see me outside trying to work, then suddenly taking off like a Tasmanian Devil because a bee got too close to me. I’m not allergic. Just afraid. However, I DO recognize their importance in maintaining our food supply. And I’m grateful to the little buggers for keeping us happily munching. I just wish they’d do their thing , um, not around me. 🙂

  2. Balancing nature can sometimes be challenging. I’m okay with the big fat bumble bee’s just not the wasps and yellow jackets. Still like Laurie I do understand the importance of the different species.

  3. Totally agree. I’ve been reading some disturbing articles about bees dying off and we really need them.

    Lavada, I’m more afraid of the big fat bumbles. They nest in my mailbox every year. They’ve never done anything aggressive but those big ole bodies floating around while I get the mail is a bit creepy.

  4. After I wrote this article, I read about Mason bees. They are singletons, not a hive species, and they pollinate– a lot. Backyard gardeners can get the little boxes of bee larva and set them out in the spring so that their garden plants get pollinated. Many folks might like the fact that Mason bees don’t sting anyone. 🙂
    http://crosscut.com/2013/04/02/environment/113720/seattle-backyard-mason-bees/

  5. Valerie J. Patterson

    Rather interesting about the bees. A couple years ago my hubby read an article about the dramatic decline of honeybees in the US due to some type of bee virus, and how they may become endangered. While it sounds odd to protect a bee like larger wildlife, that’s what it’s come down to. In Ireland, there are 4 species of bumblebee that are endangered. In the UK, 3 species of bumblebee no longer exist. We’ve had problems in the past with carpenter bees damaging eaves in our barn. Not sure what purpose those buggers serve!! 😛

  6. Yes, we really need them, but I just wish they’d give me a wide berth 🙂

  7. <>

    I don’t think we have carpenter bees on this side of the pond.. As for purpose, I am still trying to figure out what purpose mosquitoes serve. 🙂

  8. Thanks for interesting post, Theresa. Late coming in on this topic. I love bees, particularly the big bumble bees despite my only time being stung was by a bumble and I did have a bad reaction. It’s the horrible wasps I hate. We should encourage bees. Funnily enough, this article is timely as I recently wrote a blog on another site about the birds and bees and butterflies some of you might find interesting. Hope you don’t mind my posting the link here. http://ow.ly/jREyA

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