I pretty much hate bees. When I was a kid, to check the mail I would have to walk through this swarm of bees to the mailbox. I was terrified of being stung. But as many times as I walked that six foot path, I never was. They just ebbed and flowed around me, oblivious to my hesitant and petrified gait (I always walked really slowly, rather than run, I guess because I was afraid that would tick them off more).
Today, I don’t usually walk through a swarm of bees. Heck, I haven’t seen a swarm of bees since my grandma got rid of the plants by the mailbox that made them swarm. But I still don’t like hearing that buzz. Every once in a while I’ll get one in my car, and I have visions of being pulled over for swerving all over the road, and the cop laughing at me when I say there was a bee in my car. “Yeah, right, like I never heard that one,” I imagine him saying as he prepared to give me a sobriety test.
Lately, scientists have noticed that whole colonies of honeybees are disappearing. Not dying. Not migrating. Simply disappearing. This is called Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. Forget about a shortage of honey – the real concern is that bees are responsible for pollination. Without bees, many crops are threatened, including avocados, peaches, strawberries, almonds, cantaloupe…the list goes on and on. In fact, honeybees pollinate about 1/3 of US crops.
Possible causes of CCD that are being investigated include the nutrition and stress level of the bees, or a lack of genetic diversity (can you say inbreeding?), among other things.
What can you do? Donate to one of the foundations doing research into CCD.