Recently the whole “buzz about the bees” has been growing louder as more and more people are talking about the mysterious disappearance of the honeybees. Considering the fact that one-third of our agricultural food supply is dependent on the yellow-black winged arthropod, this fact alone might be reason enough to tune into the buzz.
The honeybee, better known as the Western honeybee, has gradually become not only a national and global concern, but also a state-wide concern for all Californians who have at one point or another enjoyed the fruits of honeybee labor. Although the vanishing honeybee population might appear “mysterious” to those who might have ostensible knowledge of the issue, a closer look into the honeybee business would uncover the grave truth behind the growing disappearance. It just might be that our honeybee system is designed to eventually drive honeybee existence into oblivion; this very fear has become a driving force for innovative, environmentalist thinkers who are currently exploring ways to save our honeybees.
California is largely impacted by the loss of honeybees since the core of this issue resides in Central Valley, CA, where eighty percent of the world’s almonds are grown on acres and acres of land. Almonds are not only a huge agricultural demand in California, but also in several other parts of the world that rely on Central Valley, CA for their almond supply as well.
With so many people across the globe dependent on this popular agricultural product, uncovering ways to solve the honeybee problem should be a top priority for Californians involved with the almond trade. Those involved and largely invested in the business might consider themselves the masterminds of the operation, but the truth is that the almond business runs entirely on honeybee energy and labor.
Every year, the largest mass-pollination effort in the world takes place as 1.5 million beehives from around the country are delivered to these orchards. Communities of bees are loaded onto huge big rigs and are shipped to the next major pollination cite, depending on which fruits are in season or in popular demand. These honeybees may be on these trucks for several days at a time before being able to see natural light again. The whole process is structured much like a slave trade, with honeybees forcefully removed from their beehive homes and crammed into boxed crates.
While on the road, honeybees interact with other honeybees from different communities and often times contract viruses or parasites that are spread from bee to bee throughout the duration of the trip. Many times whole honeybee communities are found dead upon arrival, proving that this current method of operation is flawed, inefficient, cruel, and unreliable in the long-term. More than ever, honeybee colonies are suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) a growing disorder amongst honeybees that is thought to be the byproduct of pesticides, parasites and the spreading of diseases.
This isn’t the only thing killing the honeybees
Not only are honeybees dying by means of transportation, but also by toxic pesticides that are sprayed all over the orchards during the day while the honeybees are actively pollinating (something that could be avoided if workers would spray pesticides at night). Despite the fact that more and more people have become increasingly aware of the issues involving the honeybees it seems as though not enough productive change has taken place to improve the current honeybee problem.
Perhaps too many Californians are living under a veil of cool indifference and blind optimism, falsely believing that everything will magically work itself out. The truth of the matter is: Californians can not afford to let things casually escalate, since doing so may prove environmentally and economically devastating in the long haul. It appears as though carelessness ruled by a capitalistic agenda might be the true culprit behind the diminishing honeybee mystery.
Fortunately, there are those pioneers who are in search of uncovering a better system than the one we currently have in place. Honeybee sanctuaries might be a system that offers a more optimistic future for the honeybee. According to environmental activist Randy Sue, from Santa Rosa, CA, “[she] is creating this honeybee sanctuary to eventually be able to share with the public bee-education tours and classes along with honey tastings and other bee related activities,” all in the hopes to find a solution to the honeybee problem. Randy Sue lives by the philosophy:
Nature flourishes when there is minimum to no interference from human beings.
Perhaps a more natural approach would be a more efficient system, and solution to the vanishing honeybee problem.
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi
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