I’m not quite sure what we’ve done to deserve such glorious weather in October. Sunshine, blue skies, and 22 degrees. Shorts and t-shirt weather, as long as you stay in the sun. Absolutely fab. It’s the sort of weather that begs to be walked in.
The corn has been cut so the field is navigable. It hasn’t rained in days so the ground is hard. The winter wheat has been planted so the views are flat. Which is why I noticed the peculiar copse for the first time. We walked by it, heading towards the island, and didn’t pay it much attention. But on the way back, I noticed what it was – trees on three sides making an alcove for a buzz of beehives. How had they gone unnoticed? Judging by the peeling paint, they’ve been there for a while. How had I missed them?
I’m very fond of bees. I don’t like honey, but I’m fond of bees. But there are many types of bees and had I to choose a favourite, it’d be the bumble bee. I think. My five-year plan includes reseeding a field of flowers just for the bees.
Einstein has often been cited as saying:
“If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have four years left to live.”
He didn’t say it, though. Or maybe he did but there’s not record anywhere of him saying it. [For a fascinating account of who might have said what, check out the Quote Investigator… one of my favourite sites.] But that Einstein didn’t say it or mightn’t have said it, doesn’t make it untrue. We need bees. The services they render to humans in pollinating is calculated by, wait for it, ‘working out the cost of having humans do the work’. Imagine. And it runs into billions (of dollars). Annually.
There’s been plenty of bytes and column inches devoted to the precarious situation our bees have found themselves in. CCD was being touted as the end of time a couple of years ago:
Colony Collapse Disorder is the phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees and the queen.
But apparently, CCD is on the decline. It’s still there, but other factors killing off the hives are harsher winters, pesticides, and stress. Yep. Worker bees are not immune to stress. I hadn’t realised that
at dead of night the beekeepers drive their ’nomadic’ hives to the forests, and leave them in situ for the 10-15 days that the trees or flowers are in full pollination. Then they drive the bees home, and extract the riches by cold pressing.
According to the US EPA, transporting bees to multiple locations for pollination might be a contributory factor to CCD. Humans travelling all over the place to work might take a lesson from this. Note to self duly made.
A piece in Daily News Hungary reported recently that
In one particular region of Hungary called Kiskunság, there are 124 different bee species identified, meanwhile in Holland, only 4.