To be a bee

I’ve often taken pleasure to see, in both my Clerkenwell and Regent’s Park flats, bees buzzing around on my balconies. Not sure what geranium honey would taste like, but hopefully OK. (Yes, I’m a gardener who goes generally for the easy option.)

So I was sad to read in the Guardian yesterday that these were certainly not “wild” bees, but from some domestic hive. I don’t suppose it matters to the bees, but it certainly might matter to the environment that the wild bee population has been lost, and even the domesticated population is in trouble, and reliant on imports to maintain its numbers:

“Britain’s apiary crisis can be traced back to the Nineties when hives were first struck by varroa destructor – a parasitic mite that feeds off the bodily fluids of bees. Populations plummeted, particularly among the nation’s wild swarms which have virtually been eradicated. Only colonies tended by people survive in this country today. New feral colonies are sometimes established but without a keeper to help will only survive for a short time before succumbing to disease.

[And]’New strains of varroa, resistant to the chemicals that had been used to treat the condition, have started to infect hives in the past year. Their appearance has triggered renewed alarm, with beekeepers reporting major dips in honey production.’

(An aside: this reminds me of a recent editing job, which involved the word “wanna-bee”. Buzz, buzz.)


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