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2650359120_f03d519fd0photo credit: Jaroslaw Pocztarkski

If you haven’t heard about it yet, you will over the coming months:  Bees are disappearing and the implications for our food supply are a whole lot scarier than you probably think.

Eat apples?  check

Eat carrots?  check

Onions? check

Blueberries?  check

Garlic?  check

Broccoli?  Tomatoes?  Squash? Cherries?  Almonds?  What about oranges?

Each of these foods among countless more, require pollination by bees.

Truth be told, my knowledge about the role bees play in putting food on my table only extended as far as honey on my toast.  I didn’t realize they played such a keystone role in so many other foods that both humans and livestock require.  In economic terms, in Canada the value of honeybee pollination is estimated at $1.2 Billion a year.

30% of all bee colonies in the USA have died in the past couple years.  And similar numbers are being reported from all over the world.  No one really knows why.  They’re just dying off every year.

So while we’re increasingly anxious about peak oil and climate change, it could be the demise of this tiny little creature that does us in.

Haagen-Dazs has created a site with further info, a wee bit lite in tone: www.helpthehoneybees.com.

What does all this have to do with money?   Not much, directly, but everything indirectly if our food supply suffers a catastrophic breakdown.  So if you’re able, #HelpHoneyBees !

About the Author


Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com

4 Comments

  1. brad

    Yo, Nancy — not only are bees disappearing, but I guess it’s even becoming hard to find photos of them: that picture in your post shows a fly, not a bee. How can I tell? Bees have four wings, flies have two. While honeybees’ wings are coupled so it almost looks like they have just two wings when at rest, a close look shows the difference. This baby’s definitely a fly.

    [Reply]

    Nov 08, 2009
  2. @brad rotfl – I stand corrected! And I’ll try to upload a *real* bee picture later 🙂

    [Reply]

    Nov 08, 2009
  3. I thought the reason for colony collapse had more-or-less been found to be travel stress… but I see that (according to Wikipedia) that’s just one of the current theories.

    Bee rentals and migratory beekeeping

    Since U.S. beekeeper Nephi Miller first began moving his hives to different areas of the country for the winter of 1908, migratory beekeeping has become widespread in America.

    Bee rental for pollination is a crucial element of U.S. agriculture, which could not produce anywhere near its current levels with native pollinators alone. U.S. beekeepers collectively earn much more from renting their bees out for pollination than they do from honey production.

    Researchers are concerned that trucking colonies around the country to pollinate crops, where they intermingle with other bees from all over, helps spread viruses and mites among colonies. Additionally, such continuous movement and re-settlement is considered by some a strain and disruption for the entire hive, possibly rendering it less resistant to all sorts of systemic disorder.

    U.S. bee rental travel extent

    One major U.S. beekeeper reports moving his hives from Idaho to California in January, then to apple orchards in Washington in March, to North Dakota two months later, and then back to Idaho by November—a journey of several thousand kilometres. Others move from Florida to New Hampshire or to Texas; nearly all visit California for the almond bloom in January.

    Beekeepers in Europe and Asia are generally far less mobile, with bee populations moving and mingling within a smaller geographic extent (although some keepers do move longer distances, it is much less common).

    This wider spread and intermingling in the U.S. has resulted in far greater losses from Varroa mite infections in recent years.

    [Wikipedia]

    .-= Jan Karlsbjerg´s last blog ..Silent letters in English: Almost all of them =-.

    [Reply]

    Nov 08, 2009
  4. brad

    Yeah, I don’t think travel stress could be the only explanation because even wild populations of honeybees (which don’t travel except when they need to make a new hive) have been affected.

    Plenty of other insects serve as pollinators, but few are as effective as bees. One look at the fly in the picture helps explain why: no pollen baskets on the legs, a lot less hair to trap pollen grains, etc., and no social organization or communication methods to effectively deploy the troops to a patch of flowers.

    [Reply]

    Nov 09, 2009

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