Spring is in the air. With warmer weather approaching, flowers are beginning to bloom all around us, birds are swiftly passing overhead and the bees are buzzing past our ears.
But wait, where are the bees? Since 2006 beehives across the country have increasingly been turning up barren. Beekeepers have been returning to nearly empty hives. This mysterious and abrupt disappearance of bees from their hives is called colony collapse disorder, and it is no stranger to Rider’s campus.
This past Monday, Rider has made a second attempt at sustaining a hive right here on campus. The first hive, which was prepared last spring, unfortunately collapsed. Hives that have been affected by colony collapse disorder have been abandoned even though the queen is still present, which is unusual behavior for bees. The abandoned colonies show no signs of dead bees and none are found in the area surrounding the hive. So what do all the vanishing bees mean for us humans?
No more painful bee stings. But don’t get too excited about that just yet. Bees have been providing for us for as long as their little wings could carry them to the closest pollen rich flower. According to BeeGuardian.org, bees are responsible for pollinating one-third of the country’s crops. One worker bee can pollinate up to 100,000 flowers in a single day. Some crops, such as almonds, are 100 percent pollinated by bees. What would you do if your favorite foods were no longer available because nothing was done to stop the bees from disappearing
So what is behind this mass disappearance? The causes are still unknown. According to the same website, the vanishing of the bees has been linked to the use of pesticides on crops. Bees are an indicator of environmental quality and we can use the way that they behave as a message. This means that if there is something wrong with the bees, such as an abrupt disappearance, then something is wrong with their environment. If their disappearance is, in fact, linked to the use of pesticides, the bees clearly don’t like it. Whether it is the pesticides or not, this mystery needs to be solved.
As the weather gets warmer and you find yourself crossing paths with one of Rider’s new buzzing friends, keep in mind all the hard work they do for you. As Saint John Chrysostom once said, “The bee is more honored than any other animal, not because she labors, but because she labors for others.” With this in mind, visit panna.org to sign a petition to stop the use of bee killing pesticides.
As a part of Rider’s Green Film Series, there will be a showing of The Vanishing of the Bees, narrated by actress Ellen Page from Juno, on Tuesday, April 24, at 6 p.m., in Sweigart 115.