Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bees Scare Me

First it was the African Bee. I was living in Mexico City at the time, a place so polluted that sometimes birds would drop dead from asphyxiation. There were news that Mexico was invaded by killer African bees. I was very afraid. I remember seeing a huge black bee, like a wasp, on the outside of my windshield on a hot day in Mexico. Had it been on the inside I would have jumped out of the car. I closed the window immediately, so convinced was I of my imminent death at the sting of an African bee. Ever since I saw my friend Dina take a bite of an orange on which a bee was standing, I've been afraid of bees. Dina's lip was swollen to the size of a lemon.
Now it turns out that bees are disappearing and nobody knows why.
Genetic testing at Columbia University has revealed the presence of multiple micro-organisms in bees from hives or colonies that are in decline, suggesting that something is weakening their immune system. The researchers have found some fungi in the affected bees that are found in humans whose immune systems have been suppressed by the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or cancer.
There is also, according to the NYT, a pesticide that has been banned in France. So we are making bees sick. That is very bad. Selfish as I am, I don't want to leave in a world without honey. But it's not all about me:
Honeybees are arguably the insects that are most important to the human food chain. They are the principal pollinators of hundreds of fruits, vegetables, flowers and nuts.

Bee colonies have been under stress in recent years as more beekeepers have resorted to crisscrossing the country with 18-wheel trucks full of bees in search of pollination work. These bees may suffer from a diet that includes artificial supplements, concoctions akin to energy drinks and power bars. In several states, suburban sprawl has limited the bees’ natural forage areas.

Don't tell me that even bees are made to eat junk food, because that just blows my mind. That is the last straw!
I hope they don't all come back and sting us.

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