Tuesday, July 28, 2015



I always loved summer as a kid. Besides it bringing my birthday, school was out and my friends and I spent most of the long, hot days outside. I also spent lots of time in the library catching up on books by my favorite authors. Sometimes my family would have a picnic with the cousins or we’d spend a day at the beach. It was welcome time away from our usual activities. So when summer came upon us this year I decided to take a needed blogcation for a few weeks to regenerate myself.

Now it’s time to return to my backyard. My blogcation helped me look at things through refreshed eyes. And I see that the yard needs tending. Things have grown abundantly over the years. The trees we planted for shade have done their job very well. The yard looks wooded and natural but we see that the bulbs we had planted no long bear flowers because of the shade generated by the trees. The privet hedges are long and lanky, reaching up through the tree branches to find the sun. The lovely Rose-of-Sharon bush spread to the other side of the yard and the seedlings seem to want to take over. Yes, tending is in order.

 At least I have the choice of gardening or resting; not everything in nature has that option. The bees have been busy gathering nectar and pollen from the Hibiscus and Echinacea flowers. They sing their way around the purple Salvia and Butterfly Bushes. Their visitations help distribute the pollen that fertilizes the plants. I hear them buzzing in the vegetable garden and I am grateful for their help. They make the juicy tomatoes we so love possible. In fact, a good portion of everyone’s diet is facilitated by honeybee pollination.

Which brings up the problem of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Our honeybees are in trouble. More colonies than ever have been failing.  Several dead hives have been found. Sometimes a queen bee and immature bees are present but no adult bees to do the hive’s work. The Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA's internal research agency, is trying to find out what causes CCD. Is it due to pesticides? Is it merely cyclical? Does it reflect poor management?

It makes a case for all of us being dependent upon each other. Bees are important to our survival – and we are necessary to theirs. As I enjoy the fruits- and vegetables – of their labor, I hope that we find a way to guarantee their continued presence. Come autumn, the old guard will be over and the new queens will hibernate until the next spring approaches. I understand about down time, even in Nature, but let’s not make CCD a permanent state for the bees.

Become familiar with the life of the honeybee:
Understand the problems bees currently face: