Monday, April 23, 2007

The Vanishing Bee

There have been plenty of atrocities to keep the world horrifed over the last few months. We have not lacked for discussion topics in any way. Perhaps that is why I have just become aware of the mysterious case of the vanishing honey bee.

It seems that beginning late last year, the honey bee rental agencies (did you know about those ?) were setting their honey bee hives as usual, near fruit fields to allow for easier pollination. When they returned to check up on them in a few days, all the worker bees had vanished. Not died, vanished. No bodies have been found. Nothing left but the Queen and a lot of immature larvae. This did not just happen in one spot, like say Roswell, Newe Mexico, but has happened all over the country. It is also being reported on other continents. We are talking billions and billions of bees. This is not just some interesting mystery here. This is a major disruption to the produce industry. It also is probably really pissing the Queen off.

Now no one is going to starve without honey bees, but plenty will suffer. As has been pointed out by bee experts, you will still have all the oatmeal that you want, just no fruit to put on it. So what we are talking about here is basically a boredom factor for the world. I like blueberries on my cereal. I like strawberries on it to when I can get them. The idea of eating crunchy granolla for the rest of my life, without seeing the colorful berries on top, depresses me no end. I know what you are thinking, I have taken a world wide tragedy to the bee and made it all about me. Well why not ? Until I see at least one bee carcass, I have no reason at all to believe that these bees are dead. Indeed, this bee disappearing act has happened before, back in the 1880s. I think it's one of two things, a social revolution against the Queen, or just a general strike on the part of a self pitying "downtrodden" insect who is tired of spending each day "busy as a ...."

It is clear to me that this "attack of the slacker bees" is something up with which we should not have to put.There's lot's of times that I get tired of practicing law. I don't just vanish. Our whole firm does not just disappear one day, without a trace, leaving clients holding the bag. These bees need to wake up and sniff the pollen, and gather it too while they are at it. If this is just the first act in a horrifying event where our farm animals just "disappear" we are all in for it. No only will I have no berries on my granola, but no milk either. My hope is that this is just an political problem, internal to the bee species and that things will soon work out. I'm sure that it is frustrating to be stuck in what is really an antiquated fuedal system all of your short, busy life. Perhaps it is time that the Queen was presented with, and made to sign some form of Bee Magna Carta, giving a few more rights, and a little vacation time to the drones. I am willing to give up two weeks of berries on my cereal each year if it will get every bee back to work. I'd throw in the bank holidays too, if they'd sign a ten year no strike contract. I don't think we should be unreasonable about any of this.Believe it or not, June 24-30 is National Pollinator week. Let's shoot for a ceremonial signing then, on the White House lawn. Bush would look perfect in one of those beekeeper hats. It may just bee his highest and best use. That's the buzz anyway.

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