Friday, September 7, 2007

Bees in the News

Three kinds of bees have been in the news lately.

First, there are the bees that are too abundant. The Houston affiliate of ABC News reported on home in Katy, TX, in which over 500,000 bees had made their home. They provided video of an exterminator working to remove the hives and the bees. That’s a man who earns his money! Several previous efforts had been made to get rid of the bees but they have always come back.

Second, there are the bees that are going away. American beekeepers are having a terrible time because their honeybees are disappearing. The problem, known as Colony Collapse Disorder, has reportedly affected between 50 and 90 percent of the commercial bee colonies in the United States. Some scientists reported this week that the problem is likely associated with the Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV). Other researchers think that other factors, particularly the effects of chemical pesticides, may also play a role in the disappearance of the bees. The situation has implications even for non-honey lovers, since bees do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to pollinating the plants from which we get much of our food.

Third, there are the bees that no one thought were there. Archaeologists have recently excavated beehives at Tel Rehov in Israel. This beehive colony, dating from the 10th-9th centuries BCE, is the first one ever discovered in the Middle East that dates from the biblical period. It had heretofore been thought that when the Hebrew Bible spoke of “honey” that was not wild it referred to honey made from dates and other fruits. So, at least starting in the 10th century, Israel may have literally been a “land of milk and honey.”

Too many bees, not enough bees, and surprising bees—bees in the news! There’s something to think about in every account.

1 comment:

Joshua Ruffin said...

Bees are kind of like Fritz; they're everywhere you don't want them, absent when you need them, and you're never really aware of where they might turn up next.