CONTEXT

October 18, 2013

A bee blog

Colony Collapse Disorder is still with us – more than 10 million hives have collapsed since the problem was noticed in 2007.

This beautiful photo of a bee collecting pollen courtesy of Jon Sullivan.

This beautiful photo of a bee collecting pollen courtesy of Jon Sullivan.

That’s the bad news, The good news is that a consensus is forming – even in the scientific community – that no single environmental factor is the cause.

I’m a big fan of science, but not of scientists working  vertically, hermetically sealed in their own little specialties. Nothing exists in isolation, which is why there are vast empty spaces in our knowledge of just about everything. We know that A is good for us, but even better when combined with B – but how does A/B interact with C?  And D? Conditions and compounds and events combine in every living thing infinitely and there is no end game.

It’s all about synergy. Which is why we must err on the side of caution when it comes to the environment.

The Europeans, for instance, have decided to ban nicotinamides, pesticides that might be poisoning the bees.  Seemed like a good idea, but scientists have found that sick bees can have traces of as many as 25 different chemicals in their pollen, including several that are supposed to be harmless.

Here’s two minutes of a succinct visual presentation of the problem, btw, and maybe we can all ask our local libraries to show the entire feature.

Happily, the world is increasingly full of people who get it; I recommend the Permaculture Research Institute and this essay by Craig Mackintosh.

This thing about the bees? It’s not really optional. I don’t know if that Albert Einstein quote is accurate (i.e., without bees, mankind can only survive about four years), but we do know that without pollinization we lose  not just nice things like apples and almonds, but also the grasses that feed animals.

While we wait for science to get the big picture, we can all help. Plant wildflowers and let the weeds grow. Healthy bees prefer them to hybrids.

And keep diesel fumes away from your plants. It turns out that diesel fumes neutralize the volatile organic compounds that scent some plants so effectively that bees don’t even know the flowers are there. That’s a very recent discovery that needs to be stirred into the pot.

***

I’m celebrating the return of one of my favorite parts of the federal government – the NASA feed is back on my home page! The caption for the photo is taken from the NASA site:

'This portrait looking down on Saturn and its rings was created from images obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on Oct. 10, 2013. It was made by amateur image processor and Cassini fan Gordan Ugarkovic. This image has not been geometrically corrected for shifts in the spacecraft perspective and still has some camera artifacts.The mosaic was created from 12 image footprints with red, blue and green filters from Cassini's imaging science subsystem. Ugarkovic used full color sets for 11 of the footprints and red and blue images for one footprint...'

‘This portrait looking down on Saturn and its rings was created from images obtained by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Oct. 10, 2013. It was made by amateur image processor and Cassini fan Gordan Ugarkovic. This image has not been geometrically corrected for shifts in the spacecraft perspective and still has some camera artifacts.The mosaic was created from 12 image footprints with red, blue and green filters from Cassini’s imaging science subsystem. Ugarkovic used full color sets for 11 of the footprints and red and blue images for one footprint…’

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2 Comments »

  1. Although I am allergic to bee bites your Blog us of supreme value

    Comment by galyatarmu — October 18, 2013 @ 11:03 am | Reply

  2. “No single factor ” they say. How about humankind? Us and our eternal goal to tame nature.

    Comment by Carol — October 18, 2013 @ 4:32 pm | Reply


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