Encyclopedia Brown And The Case Of The Missing Bees

Ken AshfordEnvironment & Global Warming & EnergyLeave a Comment

This actually troubles me:

vanish without a trace.

Billions of bees have done just that, leaving the crop fields they are supposed to pollinate, and scientists are mystified about why.

The phenomenon was first noticed late last year in the United States, where honeybees are used to pollinate $15 billion worth of fruits, nuts and other crops annually. Disappearing bees have also been reported in Europe and Brazil.

Commercial beekeepers would set their bees near a crop field as usual and come back in two or three weeks to find the hives bereft of foraging worker bees, with only the queen and the immature insects remaining. Whatever worker bees survived were often too weak to perform their tasks.

If the bees were dying of pesticide poisoning or freezing, their bodies would be expected to lie around the hive. And if they were absconding because of some threat — which they have been known to do — they wouldn’t leave without the queen.

Since about one-third of the U.S. diet depends on pollination and most of that is performed by honeybees, this constitutes a serious problem, according to Jeff Pettis of the U.S. Agricultural Research Service.

Maybe they were raptured?

Seriously, nobody like bees (they, you know, sting), but they are a vital part of the food chain, on top of which we sit.  If bees don’t pollenate the crops, the crops don’t grow.  If they don’t grow, we don’t eat (and the animals that we eat, don’t eat).  That can’t be good.