Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Was you ever bit by a dead bee?


Resident bees at Seat of Pants

I like to think that at least some of my paranoia can be assigned to a survival instinct. I can find no other way to explain what seems to me to be very strange life decisions. I am a city person with no rural skills who moved to the country. I have no hope of ever gaining employment or being of any use at all. I don't have a passion to connect with nature. In fact the opposite is true when nature is of the entomological variety, which it almost always is here. And yet, I feel that if there is a place that will escape the inevitable environmental cataclysms that we keep hearing about, it will be Larrikin's End.

News has just reached us of the disappearance of one third of the honeybee population in the USA. Even I know that bees are the stevedores on the Good Ship Foodcrop. This is the fourth year in a row that bee numbers have dramatically fallen in the USA. And bees have been disappearing in other places too. Environmentalists have been saying for years that GM crops are a danger to bees because of the double whammy of reduced nutrients and increased exposure to pesticides. The phenomenon has been dubbed Mary Celeste Syndrome, as if it were some great mystery what has happened here. They cannot find any dead bees in the bee colonies. Unless there are daleks involved, I would suggest this might mean that the bees are just not being born in the first place.

I am pleased to report that Larrikin's End is officially a GM-free zone, along with all of its neighbouring areas. We may be hicks but we're not stupid. After reading the report, I went downstairs to bring in my green waste bin and check on my own small population of bees. They are very keen on the perennial basil. I don't blame them. It is delicious. They all look healthy and happy and are just being bees.

Larrikin's End has as much chance of surviving a famine as anywhere on earth. We have a diverse range of small, traditional farms and a fleet of fishing boats. We have plenty of sun and wind and water. We even have wineries. My anxiety about the eighteen oil and gas rigs out there in the sea has heightened somewhat this week, but I suspect these things will probably be obsessively checked for the next little while.

Sometimes I wonder about my decisions but at least I ain't never been bit by a dead bee.