It’s a Bee’s Life

Guest Blogger KI Thompson

I asked KI to blog on bees because in her day job, she spends much time with these valuable creatures. Of course, I added the photos to accompany this blog. A special drawing will be held for those who comment on this post by September 10. The winner will get an 8×10 signed photo of “It’s a Bee’s Life” on a matboard.

Bees. We don’t think about them much, and the only time we come in contact with them is when we’re trying to avoid them. Understandably, some people are highly allergic to the venom in their sting, and the series of killer bee movies certainly hasn’t helped their reputation.

It's a Bee's Life

It’s a Bee’s Life

 

But consider this. We need them desperately, and since the 1980’s honeybees have come under attack by two different enemies. There is a microscopic tracheal mite whose internal damage is self-explanatory, and a larger varroa mite that attaches itself to the exterior of bees while in the colony, spreading a deadly virus. If bees had been assaulted by just one of these creatures, measures could have been taken to rid the population of the mite. But the double-whammy effect of both mites has caused a serious reduction in the honeybee population throughout the US. In fact, experts claim that the wild honeybee in this country has all but disappeared.

It's a Bee's Life II

It’s a Bee’s Life II

Currently we import honeybees from Italy, the breed considered to be the best at honey production. In southwest China, with respect to apple and pear trees in particular, pollination is done by hand because bees have been eradicated due to excessive pesticide use and loss of habitat. More than 90 American crops valued at more than $9 billion depend on bees for pollination.

 

So now you know why honey has become so expensive of late. Even without the decrease in the population, a single honeybee travels up to eight miles to collect pollen, fraught will all sorts of predators along the way. And it takes approximately 4,000 flower visits to make one tablespoon of honey. To aid in collection, the honeybee has hairs even on its eyes so that pollen will adhere everywhere possible.

 

It's a Bee's Life I

It’s a Bee’s Life I

What can you do to help? Plants indigenous to your location are the best start. Your state Fish and Wildlife center can probably provide you with a list of plants that are native to your part of the country and beautiful as well, but will also attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and others. In Maryland, a copy of such a brochure is free. You can also Google beekeepers in your area and ask them what you can do to help. We all need to protect this important species from extermination before it’s too late. For a list of beekeeper associations in your area, check out http://beebiology.ucdavis.edu/EVENTS/statebeekeepingassociations.html.

 

 

“If all insects on Earth disappeared, within 50 years all life on Earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the Earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish.”

— Jonas Salk, Biologist

For more photos of bees and pollinators, check out the tab “Recent Photos”

About kathiissermanphotos

I have been taking photos for the last 40 years and sharing them with friends and family. Recently I took the plunge to share them with a wider audience. You can view my photos on Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/kathiandkim, my purchase site-http://kathi-isserman.artistwebsites.com or here. I hope you enjoy viewing them, and please let me know what you think.
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11 Responses to It’s a Bee’s Life

  1. Teri says:

    My wife planted some new plants this past spring and we have been thrilled to see bees and butterflies in the yard this summer.

    Like

  2. We added new flowers to our garden this year and have been overjoyed to see bees and butterflies around the yard.

    Like

  3. S.A. says:

    Thanks for sharing this! It’s easy to overlook the impacts that harm to the smallest creatures can have throughout the ecosystem and moving up the food chain. I didn’t realize the situation was so bad in China that bees there are actually completely gone already! You mention the mite double-whammy with respect to bees in the US, but the loss of habitat and overuse of chemicals is as much a problem here as it has apparently been in China – so in addition to planting bee-friendly landscapes, people should also try to maintain those landscapes with a minimum of chemicals. Thanks again!

    Like

  4. I. Beacham says:

    I am a huge fan of bees. Every year, a load of them buzz in and nest in an old tree down the bottom of my mother’s garden. We assume this is their summer retreat as they’ve been coming for years! Anyway, we’ve now planted some bee-friendly flowers around the area so we figure this saves their little wings some mileage 🙂 They never bother us, nor we them, and we all live in total harmony. If they ever stopped coming, we’d be gutted. Thanks, KI, for a lovely article.

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  5. Beth says:

    Thanks for the interesting blog. One hears about the decline of the bee population but I haven’t read anything that explains it so well.

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  6. KI says:

    Thanks to all who plant flowers that attract pollinators. Keep on spreading the word about their plight. And let the EPA know you support the prohibition of cotton pesticides chemical companies want to use – they are deadly to our bees. KI

    Like

  7. Morgayne says:

    I am huge fan of honey and its healthful impacts. Yesterday I drove less than two miles away to Taylor Ranch where I’ve bought my honey for twenty years. Bees are very important to me. What good is a cup of tea without honey? Thank you for the blog.

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  8. Theresa Werner says:

    Great explanation of the plight of the bees in this country and around the world. I loved the flowers photos as well Kathi and most especially, “It’s a Bees Life” is my favorite photo. Your blog is well fashioned.

    Like

  9. Cheri Amrani says:

    Kathi – I love your photo It’s a Bee’s Life!!

    KI – thanks so much for sharing all this info! we’d lose at least a third of our produce in this country without pollinators…for more information on bees and other pollinators you can also go to the Pollinator Partnership website at http://www.pollinator.org/

    Like

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