Last Friday, April 22nd, was Earth Day. In celebration, here is a series of pictures of bees doing their thing in the autumn roses that spill on to our veranda.
Why, you might ask, is my attention on such an apparently insignificant little creature?*
Well, it is these creatures that are responsible for ensuring a goodly supply of food and wine for the world. Bees pollinate most food and fruit crops that are not self-pollinated or pollinated by other means, like wind.**
They disappear into the depths of flowers collecting pollen and doing the very important job of fertilising the plant.
Bees, however, are threatened. Virtually world wide. Ironically, the African bee, and particularly the Cape Honey Bee (Apis mellifera capensis) is aggressively invading hives, not just north of the Cape Province of South Africa, its home, but north of us, where it is is invading the the hives of African Bees (Apis mellifera scutellata).
In Europe, it is Apis mellifera scutellata that is invading the hives of European Honey Bees (subspecies Apis mellifera mellifera, A.m.carnica, A.m.caucasia, or A.m.linguica). It is hybrids of these species, i.e. A. scutellata and one of the European bees that has given rise to the Africanized Honey Bee, colloquially known as killer bees.
Ironcially, while Africanized bees are wreaking havoc on the American continent, it is American foulbrood, a larval disease of honeybees, caused by the Paenibacillus larvae bacterium, that is killing off our Cape Honey Bee (A Capensis).
You may remember our goal of having our own bee hive? Well, that was not to be. Bee Keeper came to fetch his hive: bee-filled hives are much in demand around us during spring. They are located in their dozens along the perimeters of vineyards and orchards. Not for pollen and nectar collection, but rather to ensure that each of the beautiful blossoms is visited by bees so that come summer and autumn, there is a harvest.
Every day is Earth Day.
* except for those who may have been stung, and more particularly, if they are allergic….
**grain crops, like wheat, oats, or corn, which are grasses, are usually wind pollinated; figs are pollinated by wasps. That’s another story, though.
© Fiona’s Favourites 2016