By Beverly Hicks Burch
There is a great mystery going on right under our noses…one worthy of Agatha Christie and the Great Sleuth himself…Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately, this mystery is real and not fiction. The world’s honeybees are vanishing and it is stumping the scientists around the globe.
The situation is so serious that it has been given a designation…Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). In 2007 alone some estimate 25% of the honeybee population vanished! Although there have been variances in the populations of the honeybees before…it would even seem that our little friends have pulled these disappearing acts as far back as 1880. The problem this time is the large numbers and the mystifying cause. Is it disease…pesticides…malnutrition…Jupiter & Mars…little green men (just joking on the last two of course)? One thing does seem sure…if the little fellows continue to disappear at the current rate they will be extinct by the year 2035!
Why should this concern us? Well, other than the fact that I HAVE to have honey for my hot tea?! (Republic of Tea Safari Sunset is my absolute favorite…a nice African red tea.) And who can imagine not having a big homemade buttermilk biscuit with butter and honey? There ARE some very serious implications.
Many of our plants are pollinated by our little friends. That includes between 90 – 100 of the world’s edible crops. Think apples, almonds, blueberries, carrots, avocados, broccoli, kiwi, peaches, cherries, strawberries and asparagus to name just a small few. Now, I can’t imagine life without honey not to mention some of the delicious treats above…no juicy, fresh peaches! Heaven forbid!
Is there anything we can do to help out our little winged friends?
Well, as a horticulture loving person my first response is to tell you if you garden keep these little food producer and industrious critters in mind. Before I became chronically ill, I tried to garden to draw bird, butterflies and bees to my garden…now my mind does the design and Tall & Handsome does the labor. We have a saying…we are an”I’m the brains and he’s the brawn” gardening duo. Spring is a good time to consider adding a few plants that will add and draw honeybees to your garden. Some to consider: Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia), Lavender (Lavandula), Clover (Trifolium), Bee Balm (Monarda didyma), and a beautiful and fragrant Butterfly bush (Buddleia).
There are also a couple of other fun things you can do. Burt’s Bees has a website and a mobile tour that will visit 35 cities between now and September 2008. Check out the website and the tour if it comes to a city close to you.
Finally, just in time for hot weather…enjoy a pint of Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Honey Bee Ice Cream ($4.20). Haagen-Dazs donates a portion of the sale of each pint of this ice cream to universities that study CCD and programs related to honeybees and pollination research.
These all seem like simple, small and even fun efforts but, if we all pitch in we are sure to get sweet rewards…
© 2008 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.