October 10, 2010

The Great Bee Mystery... Solved?!

I took this picture back in August and I still can't stop thinking about it.

When I look at this bee I feel a little bit like a voyeur. Like I'm seeing something private. Something personal. Something that maybe only God (and people who have macro lenses) should see.

I don't have a macro lens. I just take pictures with the same old muddy camera that I've had for a number of years. But sometimes it brings me an interesting surprise. Like this. Sometimes when I take the little disc out of the camera and put it in the computer I find that this old camera saw something completely different than my naked eye saw.

This happened another time recently when I took a picture of a parasitized tomato worm.

What haunts me about this picture is the pollen...

And how the bee has collected particles of pollen all over her body, to carry back to the hive. But meanwhile, she spreads the pollen from flower to flower, pollinating everything she touches. How simple... and yet how grand!

I just have to say, I am in awe of this bee... and the enormous impact she has on my garden. There wouldn't be any vegetables to harvest if it wasn't for this bee. So I am thankful for her, and her sisters. And I have been a little bit concerned about the mysterious dying off of bees I have heard about in the last few years.

But I was relieved to find out on CBS evening news the other night that the cause of "colony collapse" may have finally been identified. You can read about this news yourself here. The story and video segment are also here. But in simple abbreviated countrygirl terms... there is a parasitic fungus and a virus that affects bees. Bees can live with one or the other. But when they become afflicted with both, they die. Luckily scientists know a treatment for the fungus. So they have been spraying bee colonies with an antifungal treatment, with success. And there is hope now for saving the bees.

Long live the bees!

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