I have a few thousand new pets. A couple of weeks ago, two lovely girls dressed head to toe in fresh white jumpsuits with large brimmed hats swathed in clouds of netting came over to my garden and bestowed upon me two boxes of feisty, buzzing, glorious bees!
If you garden, if you care at all about plants (actually if you care at all about the planet), it is pretty impossible to not know that there is a very real and very serious crisis – and bees are at the center of it. Herbicides and pesticides are devastating our world, and the canaries in this coal mine are our fierce comrades in arms – the bees that, via their tireless and masterful pollination efforts, keep our food growing, keep our plants blooming and reproducing, which in turn underpins the oxygenation of our world. It isn’t just about food (although that is important enough), without bees our planet wouldn’t breathe.
Yet people still use poisons in their gardens just to make it easier to keep their lawns and flower borders weed-free. They don’t like bugs anywhere near their plants so they spray everything with pesticides that kill the bad and the good, rather than taking the time to apply the principles of Integrated Pest Management – that takes too long! Just get rid of all the bugs and we’ll sort it out later. Well, the sorting is happening now, and the bees are pointing right to us as being the ones accountable for the Colony Collapse Disorder that has the potential to become an Armageddon for out busy beneficial friends. And although they are now implicated as a major player in Colony Collapse, it isn’t just neonicotinoides that are the problem – this isn’t just about banning one class of pesticides and moving forward with business as usual – if we as a garden and farming culture don’t re-think our strategies for dealing with HOW we grow, we are in for big trouble. BIG TROUBLE.
But some people seem to not care. They go into their big box stores and buy their poisons and they use them on their pretty gardens and are puffed up with pride when they get compliments on their lovely flowers and glorious plants. I wish these people didn’t garden. They are doing serious harm. It would be better if their gardens full of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides were to go fallow and grow over with whatever weeds appear in their corner of the world, so that our little struggling friends can start to collect pollen from whatever has survived the killer garden that previously held court. Yes – KILLER GARDEN. I am not being hyperbolic. Sometimes no gardening is better. REALLY.
So yes, I have bees now! I know when they collect pollen from my plants, they won’t be collecting pollen contaminated with fungicides and pesticides. I just hope that when they roam far for their pollen, that they don’t venture into the Killer Garden of some plant enthusiast who has jacked up their roses and tomatoes with Miracle-Gro, doused their lawns with Green Light to keep grubs at bay, and has a man spray broad spectrum insecticides around the foundation plantings to keep bugs out of the house. If they do, they will come back with a contaminated bounty that weakens the hive and leaves it open to mites and parasites. There may be neonicotinoide residue in that pollen, and that could create a disruption of the tiny bee version of neurological pathways, causing the bees to abandon the hive and die.
When someone says that what they do in their garden is their business, I am going to point to my bees to illustrate how interconnected we all are. THE BAD GARDENING PRACTICES OF OTHERS AFFECT US ALL.
So please cross your fingers for my new pets, my busy bees, that will be buzzing in a 2 mile radius – pollinating everything they can! There are some hardcore Killer Gardens out there.
HAPPY BEE WEEK!!!! Kiss a bee today!
on May 28, 2014 at 9:06 am, in the category Gardening on the Planet, Grab Bag, Real Gardens.