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Bee Colonies and Populations are on the Decline and I Feel Guilty

(Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

I was mowing the other afternoon and my lawn (weeds primarily) had grown fast and thick thanks to all of the rain we’ve had.  I had lots of clover, which added a light-colored softness to the yard.  As I mowed, I noticed all the many bees that were busy harvesting the pollen from the clover; bumblebees, honey bees and other little creatures that look like bees.

At first the mowing down of the clover seemed to be a problem for me because I felt a pang of guilt; the bees wouldn’t even notice my huge metal machinery headed straight for them.  As the mower sliced the vegetation, it also was certainly sending these many bees to slice-and-dice heaven.  I hesitated at first because I don’t want to add to the life problems of our local bees, the natural pollinators of the Earth.  But I couldn’t mow at a pace that would allow each of them to get out of the way because if I did, I would never get finished mowing!  So reluctantly, I mowed at my normal pace and let fate take its course.

“Surely,” I thought, “I couldn’t be mowing down enough bees to significantly impact the bee population?  Besides, everyone mows and must kill them, too.”  However, I had heard and read about the decline of the bee colonies and populations, and the last thing I wanted to do is to add to, even in my slightest way, the decline of the bees.  After all, without them, we’re all doomed!  Bees help to pollinate all vegetation, which includes our crops that produce our food.  So just how bad is this bee decline?

Speculating about what culprits are causing the problem, my thoughts naturally turned to things that man does that could hurt the bees, such as spread insecticides and construct buildings where vegetation once was.  I was right about the insecticides, which certainly and easily have an effect on the bees.  Man’s construction?  That contributes to the decline, too, since when we build we take away flowers and other vegetation.  Bees are also being hurt by mites, fungi, viruses, etc.

Pesticides/insecticides seem to be the focus of the problem, at least for now, and bans are being considered in order to help bee colonies repopulate.  For without the bees, we will all be in big trouble.  Personally, I don’t know what the solution is, nor is there much I believe that I can do about the problem.

I do realize, however, that the mowing of my yard is not considered to be a real threat to the bee populations, and for that I am relieved.  After all, I really don’t want my house to be surrounded by a “jungle,” and I want to be able to mow my property without causing a catastrophe.  I also know, though, that I feel badly about mowing down bees.  Maybe the solution is simple…I’ll just get a couple of goats!  They’ll eat the grass and weeds, but not the bees!  Do you think my neighbors will mind?

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