Pollen Vector Worker
A 2007 Worldchanging post, revealed that China is beginning to pollinate crops by hand due to severe population losses in bee and flying pollinators.
Hand pollination is an interesting method of pollinating crops and provides employment and income generating opportunities to many people during apple flowering season. But at the same time it is an expensive, time-consuming and highly unsustainable proposition of crop pollination owing to the increased labor scarcity and costs.
As a dearth of pollination continues worldwide, the high cost of oil might seem picayune in comparison to the shock we’ll feel paying $5 for a peach.
Not to worry. The decision makers we elect to Congress, while handling today’s plethora of problems they’re busy enough to ignore on behalf of their contributors, have plunked $10 million into the 2008 Farm Bill to identify causes and solutions for bee colony collapse disorder.
But many species of flying insect pollinators are rapidly disappearing!
The problem is far beyond the research dole at the Federal honey pot. It’s far beyond the shrinking profit of farmers, more than 90% of which are vertical conglomerates. And it’s far beyond bee vendors renting empty hive boxes.
Sex-hungry crops want to know, “What’s killing bees, bumble bees, wasps and other flying insects needed for pollination?”
Toronto’s Globe and Mail reports that Steve Buchmann can tell you everything that is currently known about Colony Collapse Disorder, killer bees and a plant’s promiscuity.
Buchmann has been warning us about the pollination crisis at least since 1994. His Forgotten Pollinators Campaign started in 1995. Years ago his research shows that it’s unlikely we’ll save any single pollinator species unless we rebuild farming at the landscape-level.
Bee Seeing You Differently
Pollinators respond to a great variety of lures from plants, but it doesn’t seem to be that they’re happy with a 100 miles of corn flowers. Industrial mono-crop agriculture may be the first weakening of these insects.
Hive and nest chemistry might require nutrients, compounds and enzymes from a far greater variety of plants and environments. Gee whiz, I should tease and tease our imagination! We’re learning enough about complex ecology these days, such as the DNA bending powers of rainforest orchids, perhaps it’s plants killing bees! Yes, plants might be playing a part in pollinator killings – revenge of the starving mitochondria – because bees and insects fail in a ‘fair exchange’ of diverse compounds in exchange for nectar.
It seems to be the advancing theory that a richly diverse landscape are the answer, not monocultures of corporate crops, not merely sprinkling wildflowers amidst the pastures and paddies of corporate farms. Oaks and pine and willow and birds and worms and fungi and, well, you get it. Pollinators may not survive by Farm Bills alone.
Protecting the Birds and Bees, By Mrill Ingram, Gary Nabhan and Stephen Buchmann.
Resonating Bodies is a series of mixed media installations and community outreach projects, which focus on the biodiversity of pollinators, such as bumblebee colonies and their foraging activities, ultraviolet bee vision, and pollinator/plant co-evolution.
Post about Resonating Bodies, art with living systems.
Big Brother in the Beehive, 2005
And one more thing for the pent-up real estate and mall developer in us all.
Schools, families, gardeners and farms, corporate conglomerates too, can begin to assist pollinators. Holding back on pesticides, of course, but providing habitat too. Dr. Peter Hallett of the University of Toronto is encouraging condo developments for pollinators.
Bee Haven. Bumble Corners. Pollinator Palisades.