Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What's the buzz?

I've always liked bees! As a child I used to recite the verse 'Bertie the bee has a musical buzz and a bright yellow jacket of velvety fuzz...' The same verse taught me that wasps were aggressive and not to be trusted and duly noted, I've never liked wasps. According to today's paper wild bees are responsible for 40% of the world's food pollination. If this is true (and we're talking the Metro here so I feel I need a little more research!) we shouldn't just like bees we should worship them!
I sat enthralled several summers ago when D and N's father told me about his father's prize winning bee-keeping ways. It seems he was a bit of star in the bee world!
As much as I'm fascinated by bees I can't imagine having some of my own. For one I don't think I'd suit that white outfit and veiled hat; I'm not adverse to hats but all that white!? I also don't think I have room for a hive. I know that there are many successful hives languishing on London's high roofs and they benefit from the popularity of window boxes but I don't even have a balcony. So I’d have to have dwarf bees living in a tiny colony in a hive about the size of a pineapple perched on my windowsill. Hmmm, I don’t think that is going to work! I do recall a company at Borough Market selling bee related products that had a scheme where you could sponsor your own hive. This means without the trouble of donning a strange white suit or possibly upsetting the neighbours with excessive buzzing you can get your own supplies of honey and know you’re support an industrious population somewhere.
The reason why bees are in the press today seems to be not just the decline of their population but a study by the University of Newcastle tagged 20,000 bumblebees with tiny little numbers and released them in various places around North East of England and recorded whether they were able to find their ways back to their nest. It seems that the record was 13km for some intrepid bees which is further than always believed a bee could forage. I just love the idea of tagging 20,000 bees, what an insane task that must have been and if you found some poor disorientated bee buzzing plaintively in your window how surprised you would have been to see it carried identification. Well if it makes for happier bees, then I’m all for that. For some reason I now crave some honeycomb ice cream. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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