“Be(e) the change that you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Honeybees are having a tough time surviving these days. There’s an epidemic sweeping their world that has been labeled Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. What this means is that entire bee colonies are collapsing (dying) due to an undetermined interference with the natural order of nature.
The cause of CCD has been attributed to everything from cell phone use to malnutrition to climate change, which to me are shiny distractions to keep us from looking too hard in the right direction – our current system of agriculture (monoculture) and the chemicals, pesticides and herbicides used to produce vast quantities of cheap food.
Much of our food supply is pollinated by honeybees. Beekeepers haul trailer loads of honeybees across the country to pollinate flowering crops of nuts, fruits and vegetables. Transporting bees for pollination services is not a new practice. Ancient Egyptians floated bee hives down the Nile. The bees stay long enough to do what they came to do before they are loaded up and moved on to the next crop.
In our current agricultural system the crops containing the flowers the bees are visiting are treated heavily with chemicals to promote growth, control weeds and insects. Honeybees are insects. It’s common sense to me that when a bee gathers nectar from these treated flowers it’s also going to gather those chemicals. I think CCD shows that we’ve reached a tipping point in chemical applications in agriculture where the bees can no longer recover from the chemical shock to their tiny systems and they die.
Medicine men and women around the world have traveled into nature for centuries to seek specific plants to heal specific illnesses. Animals instinctively know what plants to browse to fulfill their bodies needs. Would this not also hold true for insects?
What I feel we can do right now to assist and support honeybees and other pollinators to survive this chemical-shock is to provide them with a diverse resource of native and medicinal plants from our own back yards that serves as a healing oasis where they can freely gather what they require to survive.
Perhaps with enough backyard healing oasis’, together we can assist honeybees to move from surviving the effects of a chemical laden world into thriving in it.
SEEDS for BEES
st john’s wort