Friday, 26 August 2011

To bee or not to bee?

I have had a fear of bees since childhood. That buzzing sound could make me a clear a room in four seconds flat. On the 17th of August I ventured outside of my comfort zone, to visit a man about bees. No, not a psychologist or hypnotherapist, but an apiarist. A man so passionate about bees, that he calls them his pets.

Worker bees are disappearing around the globe, and no one knows why. The phenomenon is called colony collapse disorder (CCD), the cause of which remains a mystery to science. Some suggest that pesticides are causing it, while others go so far as to consider radio waves, radiation from cell phones, or electromagnetic fluctuations. But the truth is, no one knows why the little guys in black and yellow jerseys are dying at an alarming rate.

Spending time with an apiarist is not going to be possible for everyone, so here are some of the top tips he suggested. When thinking of bees, think of you’re ABC’s as well. A stands for apiary, where people make homes for bees on farms, allotments or in their back yards. B is for behaviour change, meaning that we should respect bees, and not kill them with insect repellent or a swatter. And lastly, Create a bee-friendly garden, by planting pollen-rich plants and not using insecticide.

We may consider bees to be insignificant bugs that frantically buzz around our gardens, but without them, humanity cannot survive! Bees are an integral part of our food system, pollinating almost every flowering crop known to man. So consider their plight the next time you’re thinking of squishing one that is banging against a window, and instead, let the little guy go to live another day.

Gregg Brill
Senior researcher & writer at green24

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