When Good Bees go Bad

Bees are essential to plant and animal life on this wonderful planet of ours. However the small flying honey producers we all love (or hate depending) are in grave danger as they are surrounded by a myriad of threats that are causing their populations to rapidly decline. Why should we care though, I mean these little bastards just fly around all smug, stealing pollen from those plants in your garden. And if those black and yellow stripes aren’t gang colors I don’t know what are. Do you really want your children out there playing with these thugs. What if they get stung, what if they are allergic! Dear God wont someone think of the children!

The truth is, as I said in my first sentence before you got all hysterical on me, honey bees are essential to our environment. There are many different plants and foods that they help pollinate, such as almonds. Once Albert Einstein said “Mankind will not survive the honeybees’ disappearance for more than five years.” Now that may not be literally true as honey bees are not true natives to North America and there are other pollinators that existed before and after their arrival on our continent. And after all the Native Americans did live quite healthy lives before the palefaces showed up and through a wrench in their health care system, but that’s a topic for a different time. But Einstein did have a point a lot of the foods we all know and love require honey bees to do their pollination, and certainly the resulting necessary shift in agriculture that would be caused by the world wide death of the honey bee, would cause food shortages and starvation. So if you want those previously discussed children to be able to eat almonds we should care.

One of the many problems effecting the every day bee on the go is sexual rebellion. No these are not teenage bees, nor are the bees taking to the streets and burning their bras and protesting. In fact almost every honey be you will ever see is female, the males are kicked out of the nest to die shortly after they mate with the queen. I can hear the angry mutterings of the men’s rights activist already, but no that is not what I am talking about either. The queen is normally the only bee that lays eggs and this is the right and proper way of things (for bees anyways I am not sure Elizabeth II would be up to populating the whole world). But recently it has been discovered that when certain chemical changes occur in the wax it can cause the everyday workers to begin competing and laying eggs of their own. This is the sexual rebellion I was talking about. Why is this a problem you ask, surely this will just mean more bees and weren’t you just telling us we needed more bees. Wrong! Unfortunately these workers only lay eggs of male bees which are for all intensive purposes useless to bee society (sorry guys). Not only that but the competition I mentioned is more of a murder orgy, than a friendly game. This behavior can quickly destroy a colony. So far the whys and the hows of this problem, not to mention what to do to fix this have not been discovered.

In the mean time you can do a few things to help bees if you so desire. You can become a beekeeper this way you can bring bees back to your local area and you get to reap the benefits of all that extra honey. If that doesn’t float your boat you can plant foliage that bees like here is a list. This way your yard can be pretty and you can help out our little stripped friends. Lastly if you ever have bees that take up residence in an unwanted location, such as the walls of your house, then use a bee removal specialist who will safely remove the hive without killing it instead of using poison to kill the critters. So go get out there and hug a bee and let them know how much you appreciate their hard work (note: do not literally hug a bee it will most likely sting you).

-SMS

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