2822Demise of the honey bee?
- Aug 2, 2013There has been so much media hoopla about the impending doom of the honey bee, and I've been saying all along that this is hogwash. The honey bee has keepers, who are handling many of the honey bee's problems, who feed the bees and make up the nutritional gaps, who breed new strains of bees for greater hardiness, and who protect and salvage the bees as best they can from pesticide damage.
My successor (the one who bought my bees at my retirement) has been expanding every year, has beautiful hives of bees, has never seen any CCD, and provided thousands of replacement hives this spring for bees lost up North. Honey bee keepers continue to increase in the proportion of pollination service provided by all bees.
This is confirmed by this article: http://qz.com/101585/everyone-calm-down-there-is-no-bee-pocalypse/
What does concern me is that the wild bees, which have no keepers and few defenders, are in greater decline.
I have been observing them for years at our home in South Carolina. We have planted many flowers to feed and encourage them, as well as provide housing, water, mud and other essentials.
Yet they continue to decline. Over a ten year span, all species of bumblebees, except B. impatiens have disappeared at our bee sanctuary.
Ten years ago, our bradford pears had hundreds of small solitary bees on them when they bloomed; now it's just an occasional one or two. Of the solitary bees, only the large carpenter bees remain fairly common.
Our Melissodes bees used to cover our blooming coneflower, sunflowers and milkweed, by this time each year. To date, I've only seen one individual, as opposed to the usual hundreds. I only see an occasional isolated Megachiliid, and B. impatiens on these flowers.
I am deeply concerned at the barrenness of pollinators at our bee sanctuary, despite all our efforts to make things perfect for them.
Pesticide applications continue to be made in violation of bee-protection directions. Around here, that means cotton and mosquito spraying. I am certain that this is a primary cause of the loss of wild bees.
What are we doing to change this?
Retired pollination contractor
- Next post in topic >>