Cynthia has been a beekeeper since 2010.  Her desire to support colonies of bees was inspired by news about colony collapse disorder. After doing some research Cynthia choose a top bar hive for sheltering the bees that live in her back yard in Auburn, NY and on her 20 acres of meadows and forest in Sterling, NY. Both locations have access to fruit trees, berry plants and flowers that blossom through out the growing season.

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A World Without Bees

by Allison Benjamin and Brian McCallum

experts posted here with permission from Claiborne Hancock Pegasus Books US

 

            “With honeybees responsible for so much of what we eat, the list you scribble before the trip to the supermarket would get shorter and become less palatable.  Off comes the honey, followed by fruit, save for bananas and pineapples, and most vegetables, along with protein-rich beans, meat and dairy products.

            It sounds odd when you say no bees equals no steak and no bacon.  The connection is not obvious, but without bees to pollinate crops grown for cattle and pig feed that could happen.  And it won’t just be joints of meat that go:  cheese, milk and even ice cream could disappear, or become prohibitively expensive.

            Honeybees also dramatically increase yields of coffee, so without them the shelves of rich-smelling beans would be sparsely filled.  And where dozens of types of cooking oils used to stand, only a couple – walnut and olive – would remain.  The fish counter might still be stocked – but with fewer sources of protein available the seas will probably have been plundered.

            That leaves bread.  But what do you spread on it?  Rice and pasta are plentiful, but where are the ingredients to make a tasty sauce?  And let’s hope you can get used to pizza with no cheese toppings, taco shells without refried beans, and noodles with no bean sprouts.

            Breakfast will contain a dry piece of toast, a bowl of porridge made with water, and an egg.  No fruit juice to wash it down.  You couldn’t even substitute soya milk for cows’ as the bean from which it is extracted relies on bee pollination.

            Think about what you have just had for lunch:  a sandwich, a bowl of soup or a salad, perhaps.  How much of that would have been possible without vegetables or a slice of cheese?  And tonight’s meal:  how would you prepare that with just cereals and grains.”

 

“But it’s not just our diets that would change beyond all recognition if bees were to vanish.  We would also have to give up the clothes on our backs, from T-shirts and jeans to chinos and denim shirts.  The cotton plant that clothes us has far higher yields when pollinated by honeybees.

            Medicines also rely on flowering plants pollinated by bees.”

 

            Plants also feature heavily in the lexicon of alternative medicine.  The herbal industry promotes thousands of “natural” remedies for common ailments, ranging from evening primrose oil, made from crushed seeds of the plant,…,to the flowers of St John’s wort that are used in teas and tablets to relive anxiety and mild depression.

            Beeswax has over 120 industrial uses in drugs, polishes, lubricants and skin care products.”

 

            “Just a basic understanding of food chains explains why removing the honeybees from the equation would break the link that begins with flowering plants.  Without flowering plants being pollinated, there would be far fewer seeds, roots, leaves, flowers or fruits for birds and small mammals to eat and they would die. 

 

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