Friday, January 9, 2009

Busy little bees



One of the blogs I follow is Linda’s Bees. I’ve always avoided bees. I’m highly allergic to them. But because of Linda and her wonderful bee blog, I’ve really become interested in them.

I’ve already learned a lot about these tiny creatures from Linda and the various links she provides. I went on a site yesterday that she had mentioned and I watched bee movies. They were really neat. I enjoy learning new things.

Then this morning I came across a bee story out of Fresno California. With my new found bee interest I decided to read it. It seems the citrus farmers and the beekeepers are having a battle.

The citrus farmers say that the new seedless variety of tangerines that they are growing do not require bees attention. As a matter of fact bees ruin these tangerines by pollinating them and causing seeds to grow when seeds are unwanted.

The beekeepers say they are losing a lot of bees right now due to the lack of nourishment during the winter months. There just isn’t enough food for all the bees and they have to compete for the food that is there. The tangerine groves provide that much needed food.

The story read to me a little like an elementary schoolyard fight. The beekeepers say if you don’t want the bees doing what comes naturally to them, net your trees. The citrus farmers say make your hives smaller. Less bees equals less competition. And if you don’t like that, move.

I’m leaning towards agreeing with the beekeepers but probably not for the reasons you think. First, the whole let’s mess with genetics and chemically manipulate a fruit that human beings are going to eat thing doesn’t sit well with me at all. Cloned sheep is another no-no to me. Or those people that clone their dogs. I just couldn’t do it. It’s not natural.

But I digress. The second reason I agree with the beekeepers is they’re right. You can’t blame beekeepers for bees pollinating your trees. Even if the beekeeper wasn’t there with their hive, bees would still have access to your grove. All a beekeeper in the area does is increase the amount of bees. I think trying to blame the ruination of your crops on a specific group of bees is like saying there’s a little water in the ocean. It just doesn’t work.

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