“WASHINGTON (AP) — More than two out of five American honeybee colonies died in the past year, and surprisingly the worst die-off was in the summer, according to a federal survey.
Since April 2014, beekeepers lost 42.1 percent of their colonies, the second highest loss rate in nine years, according to an annual survey conducted by a bee partnership that includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“What we’re seeing with this bee problem is just a loud signal that there’s some bad things happening with our agro-ecosystems,” said study co-author Keith Delaplane at the University of Georgia. “We just happen to notice it with the honeybee because they are so easy to count.”
I now have to hand pollinate my garden. I used to have so many honey bees in my yard that I would get stung 3 to 4 times a year just from walking into them.
Even though I am loaded down with good habitat and tons of flowering shrubs, I am beeless.
The scent of the pollen allured her, hanging in the still air of the morning. She would stop in her travel and visit each flower that she found. The precious nectar oozed from deep within the petals and she would thirstily drink at each one. She would gently land in the scented shade of each blossom and coax the precious nourishment from it. She never gorged, but rather drank from each flower what it was willing to give. Some were full and over ripe and bursting with the honeyed juice. Others had a smaller treasure, but she would drink lovingly of their gift leaving them an offering of pollen as a thanks. Her small, delicate tongue would gently lick and probe the recesses of the flower hunting the sweetness inside. The pollen on her coat would touch with the very deepest innards of the bloom and enter its very core. Her gift, as she suckled each part, was imparted into the scented womb of the softly petaled blossom. Each flower awaited her coming and spread wide it’s scented opening for her to enter. Their swollen pistils would be gorged with the potential for life and their gently glistening stamens would tempt her to feed on their sticky juices. The soft buzzing of her wings caressed the delicate parts of the fragrant blooms with a gentle breeze as she drank her sustenance. She sheltered in the colored shade of petals, hung round her like colored sheets, as she took what each one had to offer. When she was done she would move on to the next, slowly and deliberately milking the juice of life from each one. Every flower needed her and each one did what it could to tempt her in. Some threw heavy fragrance into the air so she could catch their scent while others bared their large and swollen glands so she could see their abundance. She traveled from bloom to bloom, sometimes enticed by the shaded shelter, and other times the sight of glistening pollen. But she fed on each one, large and small, and in each one she left her gift. The pollen that she carried would be imparted on each erect stamen as she fed. The glistening end of the shaft was soft and sticky and waiting for the pollen that would carry on its life. While she fed each day, there was a gardener who tended to her plants. He took gentle care of them, weeding and pruning and tending to their needs. The flowers that she fed on were his future sustenance and he tended her as well. He would follow her sometimes through his garden and watch as she gently buzzed from plant to plant. She was used to his watchful eyes as he watched her drink from each bloom. He knew that his crop depended on her and he would peer into the bedding of petals as she caressed the sweetness from each one with her tongue. Her long tongue would probe deep into the recesses of the fragrant flower and find every drop of nectar. The gardener watched as she carried on the cycle of life for him and would wait for days to see the swollen fruits of her labor burgeoning from his plants. When she left each flower satisfied with their delicious treat, she would fly off to the next, not knowing that a seed would be swelling in the gorged pistil that she just left. And so it went as the bee buzzed her life away every day. The gardener would be there among his carefully tended crops, watching and waiting as she moved among the flowers. His gaze would follow her as she traveled through the foliage and landed amongst the blooms. Every day he would watch as she coaxed the sweet nectar from each one and left her gift in return.