Photo by Susan McCann
What’s the Buzz? by Marcie Davis
ike to eat? Thank a honeybee! Even if you’re a confirmed meat and potatoes person and don’t give a hoot about honey, one out of every three bites you take is honeybee dependent. How so? The bees pollinate crops, including those used in animal and cattle feeds. So whether you love honey, fruits and veggies, or salads and steaks, the current state of the honeybee affects YOU! You may not be aware of her plight. Fact is, honeybee populations are plummeting world-wide. Beekeepers across the globe are losing more than 30% of their bees every year, and have been for ten years. How many industries do you know that can absorb 30% losses annually for a decade and still survive? It’s a sticky situation. Like a lot of people, you may not have realized how integral bees are to our food supply. You may have known that the hardworking honeybee is responsible for pollinating billions of dollars worth of crops each year. You may have heard honeybee numbers are dwindling, and figured….no bees, no honey. But the stakes are far higher! Bees are towards the bottom of the food chain. We are at the top. Remove this small creature 50
from the equation and the outcome is catastrophic. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” Why? No more FOOD!
So, how did we get to this point, and what can we DO about it? There are many factors contributing to the honeybee’s decline. Corporate mono-crop farming, where thousands of acres are devoted to a single crop, prevent honeybees from having a balanced diet. Instead of happily buzzing in a family farmer’s field collecting numerous nectars and pollens, they are instead crammed, crowded and trucked across the country to spend weeks pollinating California’s almond groves. They may then continue on to the northeast for several months of blueberries or cranberries. The travel and single nectar source are tremendous stressors, wear-
Published on Mar 30, 2016