The Bees are Disappearing!

No. It’s not just a Dr. Who plot. They really are disappearing, and the explanation is neither as simple or as comforting as them having been called back home to visit relatives on a distant planet.

If you’ve ever spent any time watching bees, especially bumblebees, the idea of them being aliens from Malissa Majoria probably doesn’t seem too far-fetched. Unfortunately, their disappearance from our planet could be quite as serious as anything the Doctor ever faced, and like it or not it’s happening right now.

Photo courtesy PDPhoto.org

Photo courtesy PDPhoto.org

For years now, beehives have been turning up empty. Sometimes the bees die, other times they’re just nowhere to be found, and the Queen bee is often left behind. According to a recent article, “the US honey-producing colonies have dropped from a population of 5.5 million in 1950 to 2.5 million in 2007.” It’s sort of hard to imagine the world without bees or honey, but bees do a lot more than make the world a little sweeter.

They literally keep us alive.

What, you don’t believe me? Don’t think your existence could possibly depend on an alien-insect? Think again. Bees have one of the most important jobs on the planet: they pollinate plants. Yep. Without pollination, most plants don’t grow. Think about it, major portions of the plant life, gone…and with it, major portions of the food supply.

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” — Albert Einstein

It’s probably not an exaggeration; and if we’re not very careful, we may find out just how accurate it is very soon.

The causes of the disappearances are widely argued. Theories range from parasites to cell phones…and, of course, alien migration paths. However, more and more studies are linking what is now being called Colony Collapse Syndrome to the use of specific pesticides. It’s not a certain answer, but it’s a start, and it’s heartening to know that in places where these chemicals are being banned, bee populations are starting to recover.

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re about to ask. The eternal question constantly asked by every Witch, Wizard, Time-Lord, and Fan: “WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?!”

Well, now that you mention it, I’m so glad you asked.

First: check out this great blog on the subject, including ten things you can do to help the bees. Then, sign the petition to raise awareness and create a global ban on bee-killing pesticides. And last, but not least, be kind to the bees. Whether they’re alien-life forms from another planet or just busy little insects going about their daily lives, remember that we all depend on them for survival. Every one of us, every day.

Oh, and in case you needed another reason why bees are important, “Dumbledore” is the Old English word for bumblebee. Yep.

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2 Comments

  1. Quinn Kess

    April 15, 2012 at 7:14 am
    Permalink

    I can’t find a link right now, but I know that Neil Gaiman (of Sandman, American Gods, and Neverwhere fame) keeps bees, and has spoken in the past about the population disappearing. It really is an issue, and one that most people don’t realize the importance of.

  2. September 27, 2012 at 8:02 am
    Permalink

    Interesting article. Though, as a side note, Albert Einstein never said anything about bees. It’s a quote often misattributed to him.

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