Mary’s Monday Metazoan: A topical topic

I had to go with bees because tomorrow, 6pm, at the Common Cup Coffeehouse in Morris, Minnesota, it’s time for Café Scientifique. Carrie Eberle, research agronomist post-doc at the North Central Soil Conservation Research Lab, will be talking about “The good, the bad, and the honey,” efforts to provide alternative forage crops to keep bees happy and healthy.


  1. Olav says

    Please everyone, do anything you can for bees. It’s not just because they are terribly important for pollination – and thus, for agriculture. But also because they are so cute and lovely.

    Anyone who is scared of bees, please don’t be. Get to know them better. Lie down quietly in a field *really* close to a hive and just watch the worker bees fly up and down, doing their thing.


  2. magistramarla says

    I was shocked at how much more I had to pay for local honey when we moved back to Texas. In fact, I’ve been able to get in touch with my favorite California purveyor of honey and have her to ship me my favorite ollaliberry honey for less than $2 more than I would pay for the same amount of vastly inferior honey here in Texas.
    I did a bit of research, and sure enough, I found that bees are having a much more difficult time surviving here in Texas, as well as the rest of the South. Couldn’t be climate change, could it?

  3. Olav says

    Magistramarla #2:

    Couldn’t be climate change, could it?

    It could well be, but unfortunately it is still uncertain at this point. There are so many circumstances that are conspiring against bees (they are sensitive like that). Insecticides and other poisons, monoculture, varroa mites. Climate change may be another variable in that equation.

    Help bees and adopt a hive.

  4. magistramarla says

    I meant to note that the question was meant to be snark, but hubby interrupted me to check on a problem with my laptop, so I quickly submitted the comment and logged off of my computer.
    It’s obvious to anyone but the deniers that the drought here is going from bad to worse every year.
    There’s also the fact that Perry’s misrule and deregulation has led to the air and water in Texas being fouled, so I’m not at all surprised that sensitive beings like bees are having a rough time surviving.
    Many of the communities on the California coast where we were living were making a concerted effort to help the habitats of bees and butterflies. It seemed that the honey there was becoming more and more delicious and less expensive. I hope that this year’s drought isn’t causing those efforts to suffer.

  5. mildlymagnificent says

    Insecticides and other poisons, monoculture, varroa mites. Climate change may be another variable in that equation.

    I always shiver with a bit of remembered horror when people talk about monoculture and bees at the same time. Years ago we saw a doco on colony collapse disorder and the need to export hives every season from Australia to replace the dead ones from previous years for America’s orchards. Our TV was playing up at the time, so that particular channel was showing up in black and white only rather than colour.

    A peach grower was showing the narrator through his orchards. It looked like something from a horror movie the way it was shot and displayed. Bare soil, absolutely bare like the swept floor of a barn, with sticks protruding – it was shot before blossom/ leaf emergence. Shown in various shades of grey it looked like something shot in the aftermath of a WWI battle.

    He was lamenting the lack of bees – and there was nothing, not a single thing, growing within the orchards nor at the sides of the access roads that might attract or protect or feed a bee.

    Why don’t they have lavender, rosemary, clover or other flowering herbs and grasses, maybe local native species, that would provide a living, however small, for bee colonies? If they don’t want to have things growing in the spaces between the rows – personally I don’t see why not, it’s perfectly acceptable for such plants to be crushed beneath harvesting and pruning equipment, many vineyards do it with green manure type plants – they could at least plant them as hedges or along the roadsides.

  6. Augustus Carp says

    Lovely to see a bee illustrated that is not a honeybee. This is a female solitary species in the genus Andrena. Nest in the ground and make no honey at all. Excellent pollinators though