Honey, Don’t Leave Me

| 4/21/2008 10:26:53 AM

“In 30 years … we won’t be able to have apples, avocados, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, cucumbers, melons, oranges, grapefruit, pumpkins, squash, sunflowers, tangerines, watermelon, clover, and alfalfa,” Jeffrey Hill writes in The Next American City.

There has been a buzz surrounding the dwindling honeybee population in the media for the past few years. But sadly, little has been done about it. A 2007 study by the American Beekeepers Association revealed that “since 1975, 80 percent of honeybee hives in the United States have been decimated by pesticides and a parasitic virus that is wiping out the species,” writes Hill.

Big corporations haven’t been feeling the effects of the shortage, but small farmers are suffering; and so are the wallets of the produce-consuming public.

What’s the solution? Hill says we should all be talking about it; don’t forget that the bee shortage has a major effect on one third of the human diet. Make the issue a real concern, and maybe a swarm of like-minded people will incite some change.

Erik Helin

julie kate hanus
4/21/2008 4:59:44 PM

For more honeybee reading, I definitely recommend checking out “Buzzkill: As honeybees die off, farmers look to native species to pollinate food crops,” by Sharon Tregaskis in the March 2008 issue of Urbanite. (It’s available online here: http://www.urbanitebaltimore.com/sub.cfm?issueID=58§ionID=4&articleID=879.) It’s amazing to me that with all the ink spilled, like you say, Erik—that I haven’t seen more discussion of turning to native species. Super interesting. And, then, not to totally dork out, but there’s an awesome poem by Matthew Lippman called “No More Bees,” which I first read back in August in Chronogram (http://www.chronogram.com/issue/2007/8/Poetry/Poem-No-More-Bees), which now has popped up in issue #34 of Tin House: http://www.tinhouse.com/mag/issue34/current_poem.htm. Definitely worth reading, too. http://www.utne.com/bios/Julie-Hanus.aspx

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