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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

the reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated . . .

A week or so ago a news story (New York Times, no less) about the decline of honeybees was brought to my attention. Scientists and beekeepers aren't sure yet whether the hives are suffering from stress, disease, the effects of pesticide, inbreeding, climate change, or what, but a drastic reduction in bee numbers is undeniable, they say. So I took a look, and I'm happy but mystified to report there are what seems like a good number of honeybees in my yard, nectaring on waxflower, camellia, anisodontea, and african basil which are in bloom now. Of course this kind of observation tends to be subjective but it seems like there are more honeybees than it seemed like there were (or at least, more than I remember it seeming like there were) last early spring. I do remember thinking last year, "Gee, where are all the honeybees?" It seems unlikely that Tustin, home to too many parking lots and mono-cultured landscapes, would be a hot bed of thriving honeybee hives. But, I don't make up the stories, I just report 'em. Maybe someone in Old Town has taken up beekeeping as a way of annoying the new City Council. Or more likely, maybe there's a wild hive living in the overpriced derelict building for sale down the street.

Scientists, those annoying types that count and record things accurately, who dispassionately study even their own biases, are working on the bee problem. For the sake of those of us who like to eat, let's hope they soon uncover the root of the Apis mellifera scourge, and (in these difficult times) an affordable way to solve it.

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