The Common Honeybee

Most people react the same way when approached by a buzzing honeybee. They duck and weave, making elaborate gestures in an effort to escape this buzzing denizen. To me, it’s quite funny, but to some they are viewed to be as perilous as a venomous snake. Of course some people are allergic to bee stings and thus the fear of this tiny insect.

To me the honeybee is a wondrous creature and the absolute epitome of God’s creation and one of his most splendid gifts to mankind. Why am I so fond of honey bees, probably because I was reared amongst generations of bee keepers? My mother and brother raised bees and I still have a cousin in the industry. My grandparents and my ancestors all raised bees as well. I personally have never raised bees but I have some knowledge that I gleaned from my mother.

In today’s media we are bombarded by all the gloomy predictions of global warming and all the hysteria that goes along with it. Global warming will probably not affect any of us living today but the demise of the honeybee could issue in an unmitigated disaster affecting mankind today or in the very near future. There is an unsubstantiated quote supposedly made by Albert Einstein “that if the bee went extinct, mankind would only have about four years to exist”. Dire Indeed! But I’m quite skeptical being Einstein was not an entomologist.

There has been a continual decline in bee populations since the end of WWII when the USDA began tracking them. In 1946 there were 4.5 million bee colonies in the USA, today the population is down to 2.5 million. This has been noted by our government: the USDA formed an agency in 2015 called The White House Pollinator Health Task Force who are tasked with the job of researching the general health of honeybees and other pollinators. I might stress that this decline in bee colonies is more detrimental to mankind than global warming will ever be. I guess our government doesn’t want to alarm the public but this is like Radical Islamist Terrorism coming to your neighborhood.

Why is the demise of the honeybee colonies so alarming? Because they are responsible for mankind’s food! Honeybees are the principal pollinator of mankind’s crops and all of nature. Without the bees the blooms don’t get visited and without pollination there is no fruit or vegetables. GET IT!

Since 2005 the US has observed a sharp decrease in bee populations measured by bee colonies. As of late the US has observed an 8% decrease in bee populations just between the years 2015 and 2016. This is absolutely alarming and not being put out to the media. I am not sure if the government is driving this muted silence. What you don’t know will not alarm you! (But 8%)!

You should be pushing back your chair and asking yourself if this could be true. Look it UP! The government and beekeepers are scratching their heads and looking into the problem desperately looking for a solution. There are viruses out there that affect bees and also mites (Varroa mites) that are unique to them and of course the use of pesticides. We have medications and such but this is something different.

What I have read was about neurotoxins. It used to be pesticides on leaves, then we started engineering and coating seeds. Now we are treating the soil with neurotoxins that are absorbed by the plant and kills anything that decides to bite it. Scientists think these neurotoxins are in the blooms and thus absorbed by these bees. The bees are basically taking a trip on LSD or developing alzheimer's so they can't find their way back to the hive. Like the commercial,DIRE INDEED!

The something new is a condition called CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) and all that is mentioned is that there are no dead bees in the colony. The bees just fly off and don’t come back (science fiction horror story) why? It’s sort of like pilot whales or dolphins beaching themselves for no apparent reason we know of. In their bee colony survey group they (scientist) observed an 18% loss between January thru March in 2015 and a 17% loss during the same period in 2016. ALARMING!

If the world governments could just emulate honeybees! Honeybees and bumblebees compete for the same pollen and nectar so bumblebees forage in the morning and honeybees in the afternoon. Nature (God) can solve its problems but mankind can’t! I will give all of you some tidbits of knowledge about bees I recently learned:

There were no honeybees in the Americas until the Europeans introduced them. Of course there were bees but not domesticated honey bees.

The honey bee belongs to the genus “Apis” and there are only two types that are domesticated, “A Mellifera” and “A Cerana Indica” worldwide.

Honey Bees pollinate about $15 billion dollars’ worth of crops every year. A quart of honey represents bees flying over an estimated 48,000 acres to gather the required pollen and nectar. (Quote 1911 bee culturist) Each worker honeybee will only produce one 1/12 of a tsp of honey during its lifetime of approx. 6 weeks.

Honey is God’s perfect food. It is the only food that includes all the substances necessary for sustaining life including antioxidants. It has been concluded in tests to prevent or slow senility and prevent dementia. I take a tbsp. in the morning with my coffee as a sweetener. I will now take one at night with a warm glass of milk before I retire. Hey! If it will help my short term memory loss then I am certainly going to try it.My mother told me it was the perfect food when I was a child.

I will make note of something that I question. Beekeepers keep their colonies from swarming by monitoring the colonies and destroying migrant queen cells. A bee keeper doesn’t want his colony to swarm because a new queen will take a portion of the hive’s bees with her. This is a natural phenomenon to propagate bees but lessens the honey harvest. In short a bee keeper prevents new colonies in order to produce more honey. A literal “catch 22”

On a last note something funny. I was working on a natural gas well(Halliburton) and was up in what we called the Dog House. There were several people there and we were drinking sodas and thus attracted bees. Its summer and it’s very hot and dry! Everyone ducked and avoided the bees and swatted at them. Being knowledgeable about bees, I noticed a drone on the front glass window. (They don’t have a stinger and they have bigger eyes and so forth). To everyone’s amazement I reached up and cupped the drone in my hand and stroked and petted it and talked to the little bee. I then walked to the door and told it to go home and it flew off. I literally flabbergasted everyone in attendance. If the Horse Whisperer Movie had been back then I would have become the “Bee Whisperer” I never did tell them the trick of it. I still laugh at the thought of those amazed looks on their faces.