Right at this moment I am uncertain if there is a crisis or just a minor glitch in the human species’ march towards extinction. We already know that honey bees are sort of like the canary in the mines used to warn miners to escape the mines if the canary dies.
Honey bees besides making honey for greedy humans and they pollinate the flowers which will produce fruit crops and so forth. This year for the very first time ever my apple tree blossoms have not been visited by a single honey bee. In fact I have not seen a single honey bee this year. Bubble bees – yes these big bees are in the fruit trees. But not a single honey bee. This year I would have seen and taken hundreds of bee photos because I have been working on my photographic skills. I have a couple of cameras while not professional models both can take almost professional level photos. I’ve been using graphic software since the software came on the market as shareware. This year I’ve been taking hundreds (thousands) of photos and picking the best ones to use in darkroom type software. Thus when I write that I would have seen and photographed honey bees working IF there had been any out working – I would have seen at least one honey bee. Every single day of that wasn’t raining I have been outside with cameras and tripods. I am learning about raw file format and macro photography. I am learning my cameras during the day and reading camera manuals every night. There are no honey bees.
In years past the fruit trees would be full of buzzing bees – two different species of pollinating the fruit trees. Yet this year only the bumble bees and a large ant species are in the trees. As I was taking over two thousand photos I kept thinking that I was missing something – there was something missing this spring. The trees have been blooming too long. Generally the oldest tree, that also happens to have several varieties will bloom continually. The first early bloomer branches have always dropped their blossoms before the later blooming variety begins its show. I haven’t seen the west and east side of the tree blooming at the same time. When a bee comes along and pollinates a blossom the petals drop – their job in the reproduction process is done. Very few pollinators (other than a few bumblebees and not many of them) means that the petals are staying in place still waiting.
How wide spread is this missing honey bee problem? We did have the wettest winter and spring (so far) in the history of rain according to official record keepers. Could this be a factor in the missing bees? We do have a squad of bee murdering folks who moved from the cities to rural areas and then try to eradicate the wild things of rural areas. I was in a local hardware store when a middle aged woman marched into the store on a mission. She walked up to the clerk and asked for a poison that kills bees. The clerk told her which isle had the bug sprays.
“Does that happen often?” I asked. “Too often.” The clerk replied. “It’s always the city folk that want to kill the bees.” I checked with other stores – like feed stores in the area. Same story about bee murderers. So there has been an on going effort to kill off buzzing bee pollinators – many people don’t know the difference between beneficial insects and the nasty ones like yellow jackets and hornets.
But a few folk battling bees couldn’t bee responsible for a total lack of honey bees. There have been news articles of bee diseases (zombie bees) and agricultural pesticides taking a toll on bees. The genetically modified seeds are also suspects in the loss of bee hives of commercial bee keepers. The seeds are shipped encased in bee killing pesticides. Cause and effect is almost impossible to prove. Global warming/climate change also probably is playing a role in the missing bees on my fruit trees.
More on this subject as the season progresses.
Here’s an article about the decreasing bee population plus links to scientific research.
An update on my orchard – the Apple blossoms are mostly gone and we’re had nearly constant rain all during the Apple blossoms time. Poor bears , raccoons, blue jays, crows and other small birds will have to find there food elsewhere. Last year the blackberries were abundant with few takers.