We know we can thank bees for honey. We know they can deliver a nasty sting when we get in their way. But we don't necessarily think about everything that they do. Bees are responsible, after all, for pollinating crops, fruits, vegetables and flowers. Their loss would threaten the food we eat and the beauty around us.
Sadly, bee colonies haven't been doing all that well in recent years. Back as far as 2007, concerns were expressed about the fact that honeybee colonies were dying at an alarming rate and there appeared to be no simple answer. According to researchers, who determined there was more than one factor at play here, the issue was complex. They ultimately attributed the majority of the losses to parasites, disease, nutrition and pesticide exposure.
Information released by BeeInformed.org reported in 2015-16 that beekeepers across the United States lost 44 per cent of their honeybee colonies from April to April. Losses continued for the same timeframe this year. Phys.Org reported a lost of 33 per cent. Though the lower number is encouraging, experts were quick to add that the number is still too high. However there is now a glimmer of optimism.
Given that these little insects play a significant role in maintaining Earth as we know it, we obviously want colonies to survive. And the news from Canada appears to be heartening too. The Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists reported that for 2015-16 the national percentage of colony winter loss was 16.8 per cent, the third lowest since 2006/07. Beekeepers have been able to replace dead colonies and the number of colonies has increased by 22.4 percent.
So, if it seems that the worst might be behind us, that the fear that bee colonies everywhere are falling faster than a hummingbird's wings is now behind us, you might wonder what prompted this chatter from me. The thing is, like many people, I can have a tendency to take things for granted. When I first heard about this concern, it was troubling. Over time, however, the idealist in me trusted that experts would get it figured out and the worry would be behind us. Bees once again just became another insect.
But after happening upon this information during a search for something completely unrelated, I decided it was time again to give these helpful, though occasionally prickly, friends of ours their due. It was surprising once I made that decision how often they came to mind.
From the minute the day began when I looked over to see my husband add his dollop of honey into his coffee I was reminded about the things in my life for which I can thank the humble bee. It was there once more while the two of us were enjoying said coffees on the deck and my attention was diverted by a bee settling on a nearby coneflower, hanging out there for a time before droning on to a shasta daisy.
Later that afternoon as we headed out for a bit of socializing, I gazed out the car window at fields of crops and thought again of the tiny creature that played a role in the success of agriculture's bounty.
Even as the day came to an end and I prepared for bed, my mind returned to the value of bees as I slathered on my homemade lotion, concocted of oils and beeswax.
The bottom line here is that play a far greater role in our lives than we often reflect upon. So for today, we will promote the humble bee and its environmental contributions with some super clipart collections.
iCLIPART.com Bee Illustrations
iPHOTOS.com Bee Images
Clipart.com Bee Images