Animals Environment Science

The Buzz About Bees


Bees have been making a lot of news lately. Scientists have been confounded by Colony Collapse Disorder (PDF), the seemingly random disappearance and collapse of whole hives of bees. Eat. Drink. Better. has a very good post that breaks down some of the issues related to honeybees.

It’s not well known that bees are absolutely crucial to our food system. Strange that people don’t realize this, because that is how nature works. Bees pollenate all kinds of plants that provide us with food, like almonds, fruit, etc. In my understanding their are not really anymore wild colonies of bees in North America. Colonies are trucked all over the continent to pollenate crops for industrial food corporations. In other words, you pay a company money to truck a semi trailer full of bees to your industrial-sized farm in California for a while. Then when you’re done with them, they get shipped somewhere else.

Does this sound crazy to anyone else?

Here’s where this way of using bees to produce our food gets sticky (I had to…sorry). Shipping bees all over the place to pollenate our crops is one more way that we misread Genesis. Is this method of food production stewardship, caring for the creation on which we are dependent? Or is it dominating and controlling nature, bending it to our own purposes and intentions?

5 comments on “The Buzz About Bees

  1. “Is this method of food production stewardship, caring for the creation on which we are dependent? Or is it dominating and controlling nature, bending it to our own purposes and intentions?”

    False dichotomy alert! Man battle stations!

    Okay, sorry for being a drama queen. But my point is that maybe it’s some combination of the two. Bees have become livestock, but that’s not an excuse to objectify them.

    I find myself wanting to focus on the scale of the issue to find the wrong-ness of it…but maybe that’s a wild goose chase?


  2. i’m as much the dualism police as anyone, but they do spark thought and debate.

    i think i’m asking a more basic question. bees basically don’t exist in a non-domesticated capacity. i’m no bee expert, but from what i understand there are no longer populations of bees out there not being trucked around that crops. we are in complete control and domination of an aspect of nature that we were never intended to be in control of.

    i wonder what effect that has on us and on nature. it gives a false sense of control. CCD is a reminder to me that we don’t know what we’re doing when we try and manipulate nature to our own ends instead of understanding it first and working with it.

    not sure if that just bypassed your question.


  3. It’s a little unclear EXACTLY what point you wish to make. Suffice to say that unless there is an escalated, widely communicated, campaign which stresses the awareness of the NEED to balance carefully EACH and every action ‘we humans’ seek to make on a DAY-TO-DAY basis (small or great) with the question: ‘IS THIS informed and appropriate, taking into consideration what is known about the ECOLOGICAL consequences weighed against the ECONOMIC, for ‘survival of all’???
    Failing this there can only be a contribution to downfall of the world as we think we know it’…Ben


  4. hey ben,

    sorry if i was unclear. your comments are excellent and i like your approach to the overall big picture. as a person of faith i was raising a question more specifically about how we relate to nature and understand our role in creation.

    it seems to me that we manipulate nature (i.e. feed corn to cows to fatten them) then there are repercussions (i.e. e coli contamination in the meat) and our solution is not to stop the problem at the source (i.e. don’t feed them corn) but to give them antibiotics (which has other repercussions). perhaps the situation with bees is similar??


  5. Pingback: Movie Buzz About Bees « What Would Jesus Eat?

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