27 February 2007

Beekeepers: tighten up

The New York Times reports massive and unexplained dropoffs in the bee population in 24 states, marking the first national bee epidemic. Why is this significant? According ot the vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation, "Every third bite we consume in our diet is dependent on a honeybee to pollinate that food." So, you might say it matters.

Ann Johansson for the New York Times

While no one knows for sure why bees are declining in such dramatic numbers, one hypothesis exists:

Some 15 worried beekeepers convened in Florida this month to brainstorm with researchers how to cope with the extensive bee losses. Investigators are exploring a range of theories, including viruses, a fungus and poor bee nutrition.

They are also studying a group of pesticides that were banned in some European countries to see if they are somehow affecting bees’ innate ability to find their way back home.

It could just be that the bees are stressed out. Bees are being raised to survive a shorter offseason, to be ready to pollinate once the almond bloom begins in February. That has most likely lowered their immunity to viruses. [Emphasis added]

Stressed out bees! Woe is the modern condition! If you read the rest of the article, you'll see that beekeepers are also stressing their colonies out by driving them around the country in search of the best jobs, feeding them protein supplements (bee steroids!) and exerting the downward pressure of a rapidly consolidating bee industry (bee downsizing!).

Apparently, just as modernity exerts pressure on human organizations, so too are the complex social networks of beedom on the verge of collapse. If only Foucault had survived to write about this. Nonetheless, Beekeepers: tighten your shit up.

Moreover, considering the fact that every third bite of food we eat is dependent on bees, this article also exposes the absurdity of veganism. Vegans, you lose, you cannot live independant of animal labor, hence, you too must tighten up your (soy based) shit.


The Becca said...

I'm thinking tiny bee homing devices.

Pepper said...

can we administer some kind of bee prozac through the flowers?