Wednesday, March 14, 2007

First are the bees or dying without a trace

They are gone. They have left the beeyard alone, didn't care about the young offspring. They never appeared again the older, adult bees. Didn't leave dead bees behind. Millions and millions of bees disappeared in North America in the last few months. More and more American beekeepers who open their beeyards for the first time after winter in these first warm weeks report the same: One beeyard after the other is empty. No bees are at home. Shocking!

At the west coast almost 60% of the bee colonies have collapsed, at the East coast and in Texas almost 70%. More than one half of the American states is struck and parts of Canada. The same happens in Spain and Poland. First reports come from Swizzerland and from Germany as well - but nowhere it's as bad as in the U.S.

It is a strange, creepy phenomenon that haunts the bee colonies. Science has given it those name, which it has reserved for something that can't be described yet, or maybe ever: disorder. They speak of "Colony Collapse Disorder". Scientists know much about the symptoms but very little about the reasons.......
But the know that it would be a catastrophy when the bees would disappear. A catastrophy for mankind, too. It could be a writing on the wall, a warning that something has gone out of balance.

About one third of the human food is dependend on bees directly or indirectly: Between 80 and 90% of apples, pears, plums and many other fruit are pollenized by bees . Also melons, almonds, peppers, pumpkins, raspberries and about 90 other fruit and vegetable species- but also animal food like clover and the widespread -especially in the U.S.- alfalfa. There are no real alternatives to bees.
Researchers say that stress has become too much for the colonies. They say that it is a wonder that nothing has happened sooner. A bee colony is a complex super organism that has adapted to the most difficult circumstances in millions of years. But in the last 10 years the bees have become weak. Maybe there is really only one reason that will be found but there could be many that have overwhelmed the bees: Consolidation of farmland that left very few boundary ridges, mono cultures and a too perfect forestry that didn't leave a single hollow tree trunk in the woods. Cities and suburbs that overgrow the earth. Pesticides that poison the bees. Illnesses and parasites that attacked the bees, introduced in the course of transcontinental dispatch of breeding bees.
One sentence is cited oftenly at the moment. A sentence of Albert Einstein: "If the bees disappear, then mankind will live only four more years; no bees any more, no pollination any more, no plants anymore, no animals anymore, no human beings anymore....".


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