Bee worried

Bee-less borage: I spooked the one bee I saw this morning. Granted, it was early and the dew was up, but normally, it’s not one bee I annoy with the camera: it’s dozens.

This was to be the year that we got honeybees for our farm. I’ve done a lot of research, and let me tell you: hives are very complex things. Maybe it’s just the very social nature of the insect, but I find the ins and outs of beekeeping rather complicated. (Complicated, but not too much: I think my biggest downfall as a human is this oft-uttered statement: “Well, how hard can THAT be?”) Human society confuses me at times, too: I will never understand war, for example.

Of course, Colony Collapse Disorder is out there. Out there, and out HERE too. My bee guy (who, coincidentally, is my goat guy) has 20+ hives. ALL ARE DEAD. He doesn’t move his hives; he doesn’t live in a biological wasteland; he doesn’t do anything that would make his bees susceptible. There are no known beekeepers near him. Yet, pfft, all dead. He is very worried.

I plant many inedible flowering things within the veg garden to attract honeybees, and the more ubiquitous bumblebees (those little aerodynamic marvels: how DO they fly, they’re so big) and mason bees and the like. I still do see some honeybees on the parsnip umbrels and beautiful blue borage, and I see some worrying over the yard’s clover, but there are not nearly the numbers I have seen in the past. The bee balm, too: it’s empty, save the hummingbirds.

I am not alone in worrying, it seems. I will keep planting pollinator-friendly things, and keep my fingers crossed. My bee and goat guy got a few nucs and hopes to be able to give me one in a year. So, maybe next year? Maybe?

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9 responses to “Bee worried

  1. Oof! I’m sorry about your friend – that’s horrible news – but it seems to be exactly what’s going on out there. I’ve been following the bee problem closely, and it’s gotten me into the idea of starting up a colony as well. For no other reason then I think it would be really fun (and I like honey!)

    I’ve been trying to raise money for bee research to figure out what’s going on with our bees. If you get a minute, I hope you’ll check it out!

    Thanks!
    Ryan
    http://www.savetheblank.com

  2. Yep, it’s pretty scary. Many of the beekeepers around here have lost their hives. One lost 400 out of 500. Overnight.

  3. Robin (Bumblebee)

    I’ve been following this story on the bees for a while now too. I don’t know anyone who keeps bees, but I have to admit that my stomach plunged to hear that your neighbor lost all his bees.

    The bees are like our little army doing a big job. What happens when their numbers shrink?

    Glad to have found you, El. I read about you over at Colleen’s blog.

    –Robin (Bumblebee)

  4. Blackswamp_Girl

    Wow. I hardly saw bees early in the season (although something apparently pollinated lots of things here, between the seedheads I saw and the apples and blueberries on my plants) but now I have bunches. I haven’t seen many on the usual plants, though; more on the alliums than on the salvias, for example. They are probably different kinds of bees than I used to get–maybe other types of bees are filling the vacuum right now?

  5. I haven’t even been able to talk about this. I’m short on philosophy, science, faith… I’m just scared.

  6. Ryan, I have no idea if you are legit or not, as many “organizations” similar to yours are simply in the business of SaveMyBankAccount. However, I am of a generous mind today, so I will not delete your comment.

    Kelly, isn’t it spooky? I love honey, but this goes beyond my simple sweet fix.

    Robin, it’s mutual! I think in a year we’ll know more about CCD, but that’s a long time from now if beekeeping is your living.

    Kim, it’s kind of fun to find out what comes to visit your gardens, isn’t it? Until I started seed-saving in earnest, I really didn’t know a thing about what plant is reliant on what to pollinate. But I do know that, if you take one thing away….

    CC, sometimes I have a hard time finding the right note, too. At least your blog is premised on being pissed off; mine is supposedly *just* a garden blog, so if I really tee off on something, I sometimes think I sound heavy-handed.

  7. The County Clerk

    The bee thing makes me extraordinarily nervous too.

    I think the only rational thing to do is start drinking heavily, racing speedbaots and rock climbing. It all seems to be coming apart.

    I have a few bees.

  8. I have seen some bees but not the numbers I think I should be seeing. Word around here is that losses from colony collapse disorder are minimal. So strange. I can’t believe your friend lost so many over night. I personally think Amercian Idol is the culprit.

  9. Meredith, (smacks forehead) OF COURSE!

    Hank, hmm. Would you do that in that order?

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