If you are familiar with my column you would know that I have been quite vocal about the overblown media coverage on the Great Honeybee Loss of 06/07. Seems now the media is also waking up.
IT'S like a scene out of a Stephen King novel: One sunny day, the happy buzzing sound of bees doing that spring thing that bees do fades to silence. The bees disappear, abandoning hives and leaving flowers unpollinated, never to bear fruits and vegetables. Gradually, the world starves.
That's the picture some are painting this spring in the wake of heavier than normal losses by beekeepers. "Unless someone or something stops it soon," one recent wire service story speculates, we could all be living on a "bread and water diet".
But though that picture may have a certain apocalyptic appeal, it ignores some inconvenient facts.
For starters, California's almond farmers — who grow the most bee-intensive crop in the country — are forecasting a record harvest this year. In fact, the latest estimate, released last week, is for this year's crop to be almost 20% bigger than last year's. The state's plum, peach and nectarine farmers say that their trees are full of fruit too. And so do Washington state cherry, pear and apple farmers.
In fact, though pollination is still continuing for a few crops, so far there has been no indication that the honeybee disappearances will have any effect whatsoever on any harvest this year.
This is certainly not to suggest that there is no problem, but only to say it's way too early to start stocking up on canned fruit.