The Buzz About Bees

Image courtesy of Pixabay

The world’s bee population is dying. While there’s been so much talk about the mosquito-borne Zika virus these days, there is absolutely no discussion surrounding the rapid decline of the bee population. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not downplaying the seriousness of Zika. My point is that more attention must be paid to bees, considering that the demise of bees essentially means the demise of human beings.

I recently became fascinated with bees although once fearful of them. Let’s start with the stingings: I’ve been stung countless times, and once, I witnessed my grandmother get stung in her armpit! And who can’t forget My Girl.. I know I wasn’t the only one to “ugly-cry” when Thomas J died trying to retrieve Vada’s mood ring (everyone under the age of 32 needs to see this movie if they haven’t already!). But my interest in the bee-human relationship started because of a young girl named Mikaila Ulmer. She started Me & the Bees Lemonade (formerly, Bee Sweet Lemonade), scored a deal on Shark Tank, and recently landed an $11M contract with Whole Foods… all before she even hit puberty! The young entrepreneur stirred my interest and opened my eyes to the issue, and now I’d like to become a part of the mission to help spread awareness, starting right here on Medium.

Highline, NYC. Photography by Kim Carey. All rights reserved.

Why should we care, you may ask? Well… Did you know that bees pollinate about 1/3rd of the world’s food crops? It’s no wonder that we humans are in trouble a solution isn’t found. Some debate the cause of the mysterious, yet rapid decline of bees. Some blame global warming. Some blame pesticides — in small doses, pesticides make bees dizzy and, in larger doses, it proves to be fatal for bees. Still others blame the microscopic parasite appropriately named varroa destructor, which preys on bees typically when they are still larvae.

Bees are truly wonderful — ecologically superior, socially adept, and hardworking creatures. Worker bees (which are all female, might I add) work together harmoniously to keep the hive running seamlessly. Even the way they communicate is fascinating. “Scouts” share the location of food through a choreographed “waggle dance,” which essentially gives the coordinates of the flowers in relation to the sun. With flowers comes pollination. With pollination comes human food crops. With food crops comes our sustenance and life source. Without bees, who knows. It’s time for everyone to shift our attention from mosquitoes, and start worrying about our bees.

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