Thelma was the first person who commented to me about it, back before xmas. More recently Gillian said about it too. This year there seems to be fewer honey bees around. Much fewer. In our new place I note there are a few wasps (German, most unwelcome), but I have to agree, not many bees. Initially I put it down to there not being much in the way of flowers, or possibly the non-stop rain from winter into most of summer; but I’m now wondering if there’s something more sinister – perhaps the ravages of the varroa bee mite or some other cause.
There seem to be plenty of bumblebees, including some small bumbles – could they be young, or a different species from the one I’m more used to seeing. I see the smaller versions quite frequently on a shrub down on the waterfront – it has small white flowers and I wouldn’t have thought there was a lot of nectar present. What do I know – the bees have clearly figured out where’s the best place to be. I wonder if the decline in the numbers of honey bees provides opportunities for the increase in numbers of bumblebees.
Hopefully next season will see the honey bees back in full force – the energy of the growing sector of the economy has more to do with the efforts of honey bees than the efforts of the drones in parliament.
A later update: Patrick notes from the USA a possible link between disappearing bees and GM crops. I’m hoping (expecting) that’s very highly unlikely here – GM crops are best kept in the US. According to the BBC, US beekeepers apparently are experiencing ‘colony collapse disorder‘ – good grief, sounds ominous. Not the vanishing bees, that is disturbing. No, the part about Hillary Clinton being interested. On another tangent, it’s funny how events in the US are always an EVENT with a name, frequently involving multiples of words – a nation of poly-verbal disfunction syndrome disorder.