What is wrong with this picture? I looked out at a field of blooming clover and was struck by what I did not see…bees. No honeybees, no bumblebees, no wild bees of any species. No buzzing…silence but for the songbirds in the nearby trees.
What is wrong with this picture? This from an NBC article: Honeybees don’t just make honey; they pollinate more than 90 of the tastiest flowering crops we have. Among them: apples, nuts, avocados, soybeans, asparagus, broccoli, celery, squash and cucumbers. And lots of the really sweet and tart stuff, too, including citrus fruit, peaches, kiwi, cherries, grapes, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, cantaloupe and other melons. In fact, about one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants, and the honeybee is responsible for 80 percent of that pollination, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Even cattle, which feed on alfalfa, depend on bees. So if the collapse worsens, we could end up being “stuck with grains and water,” said Kevin Hackett, the national program leader for USDA’s bee and pollination program. “This is the biggest general threat to our food supply,” Hackett said.
U.S. beekeepers in the past few months have lost one-quarter of their colonies — or about five times the normal winter losses — because of what scientists have dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder. The problem started in November and seems to have spread to 27 states, with similar collapses reported in Brazil, Canada and parts of Europe. “This crisis threatens to wipe out production of crops dependent on bees for pollination,” Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said in a statement.
“For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals, from the moment of conception until death.”
And may I add, this goes for all life on Earth. Are we entering our silent summer?