Recently Barbara of Tigers and Strawberries wrote a wonderful post on the mysterious disappearance of bees. We are observing this phenomenon first hand. On June 1, 2007 we posted this article on bees in our yard. We had lots of bees, but this year the picture is quite different. No bees showed up last week or this week. Couple of stragglers visited over the weekend. And this absence is troubling.

Taking pictures last year was quite a challenge, with literally a swarm around each plant. Last June, this salvia bush was covered with, maybe, over a hundred bees. They kept flying in and out of the frame. It is not a dangerous job though, as the bees are busy drinking the nectar and are in general very peaceful when you meet them in public. They do get fiercely mad if you ever get close to their hive, especially if they are africanized bees.

The same bush this June had exactly two bees.

Bees love the flowering plants in our garden like Salvia, Chaste, Russian Sage, Weigela which have tons of flowers and bloom right through summer.

Bee in the Crookneck Squash flower

Bees also love to visit the flowers of our raspberry bush, squash, watermelon, cucumber etc in our veggie patch. They are the primary pollinators for lot of vegetables and fruits. A whopping US$14 to15 Billion worth.

Most of these bees are in managed hives in commercial farms. Typically the number of hives per acre of crop in large farms is (source: wiki)
Apples: 1 to 2
Blueberries: 4
Cantaloupe: 2 to 4
Cucumber 1 to 2
Squash: 1
Watermelon: 1 to 3

Over the past couple of years there has been an alarming drop in the bee population, threatening food supply. Commercial farms have lost about a third of their hives to CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder).

Nobody knows the cause for CCD. Scientists are furiously trying to figure out why this is happening. If the trend continues, food production is going to be hit. The sector is already reeling from high fuel costs and this would only be a double whammy. Food prices will undoubtedly go up too.

Maybe the absence of the bees from the neighborhood hive (that our little veggie patch owes a lot of gratitude to) is due to the erratic weather that we have faced in spring (spikes of cold and hot). Maybe it hasn’t consistently warmed up and they haven’t re-established their colony. I fervently hope so. If not, I will have to do a lot of manual pollinating. As cool as that may sound, its not really that much fun. That’s what we have the bees for!

-Jai

LOVE-IN-ACTION

The solidarity continues to pour in for the CLICK for Bri fundraiser from every corner of the blogosphere.

*** A long list of edible and non-edible goodies from Wandering Chopsticks. They include Malaysian and Indonesian specialty food items and hand-knit scarves.
Details at Wandering Chopsticks. Bid Price: $10, Code: Wandering Chopsticks.

HATE-IN-ACTION

This is an unbelievable story, and every bit is true. First they steal content from 300 sites and post it on their monetised site. Then they cyber-stalk those who bring it to their attention and threaten them with bodily harm. They set up bogus e-mail accounts, bogus stat counters and websites to malign those whose data they have stolen.

They “punish” the person who wrote them an e-mail about her content being stolen by putting her profile on one of their porn sites. When they realised they’d gone too far, they claim to have atoned by making a donation to a fictitious orphanage. They threaten to ‘track her down’ and ‘teach her a lesson’.

Sounds like a bad soap opera, but these people are for real. They claim to have a legitimate business based in San Jose, California, as they try to make life hell for our dear friend and fellow blogger Inji Pennu. We refuse to name them or their site. We do not want their trolls to land up here. You can read all the gory details at Ginger and Mango. Unfortunately for them, they chose to pick on the wrong person. Every day, a new can of worms is opened, and we learn more about their shady dealings.

We join the protest against these despicable threats and intimidations that follow blatant plagiarism. We refuse to use the term ‘cyber bullies’. This is much more than that. It’s like calling men in India who swagger around bus stops and public places molesting women ‘eve-teasers’. Excuse us, touching a woman without her consent is not ‘teasing’. It is attempted rape.

Threatening someone with physical harm, attaching Google maps with e-mails containing threats of physical assault, putting her profile and e-mail address on porn sites, generating bogus e-mails supposedly sent from her inbox – all these acts go way beyond ‘bullying’. All for pointing out that they had taken content from her Malayalam site without consent.

The law enforcement authorities are now involved. So are Yahoo and Google, who are taking this very seriously. Watch this space. Inji, hats off to you for not backing down.

- Bee and Jai

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17 Comments

  1. musical says:

    Beautiful pictures! Finally we get to see the Bee :)

    On a seious note, Inji Pennu has really gone through a lot recently-i hope those people are brought to justice.

  2. dee says:

    Beautiful pictures , the song of the cuckoo bird by amulya malladi was enlightening about bees , I hope they come back. Inji pennu , hats off to u for not backing out of this and fighting. I sincerely support her and wish for her well being. Its truly traumatizing to get such hate mails and threats . I hope these thugs get punished severely for the damage they have done.

  3. been reading a lot bout the disappearing bees in the passt few days!! And about Inji Pennu, she really is handling the issue so well!! I hope everything settles down soon

  4. Priya says:

    I read about both these issues over the past week and was stunned by both. Inji Pennu is definitely a very brave woman and I also admire her family for supporting her through all this. I was terrified just by going through her blog post! Kudos to her for fighting on.

  5. Maryann says:

    Amazing photos. I love them :)

  6. christey says:

    These are WONDERFUL shots, I really love the first one.

    I have been reading about the disappearance of the bees for the past several months and I find it so baffling and sad. So far we (in east central FL) haven’t been affected, and in fact Peter and I were discussing this exact thing two days ago, out front while we watched a swarm of bees pollinate our coconut tree. I hope they don’t leave us as well.

  7. Thank you for adding me to the list.

    I can’t believe what’s happening to that poor woman! This is why I am very careful of my privacy online. Some people are just scary.

  8. Maheswari says:

    Loved the pic.s..

  9. arundathi says:

    I took some lovely photos last year of a beehive right outside my window – and this year there was no beehive – yes, its a sad thing – I hope they come back. Here are the photos, if you are interested:
    http://arundathi-rediscovery.blogspot.com/2007/07/beehive-up-close.html

  10. Jyothsna says:

    Ha, we finally see “BEE” :)

    Inji’s putting up a good fight. The whole thing is so abusive to her!

  11. Nirmala says:

    Wonderful pics as usual!
    Inji is great to stand up for this and ofocurse we are all there for her ! I once noted a famous tamil magazine has stolen pictures from mahanandi for their recipe artcle written by again a well known culinary expert. I tried to warn them and sent mails but no response. They take it for granted that everything available in internet is a public property!

  12. Asha says:

    Beautiful shots!:)

    It’s in excess of 100F here, I don’t dare step out to watch the plants or Bees. Water the plants at 8pm safely!:D

    I have been touched and teased since I was 13yrs old all the way up to in my 20s in India. I HATED it, it scars you emotionally for life. I am so glad Trisha has never gone thru’ that here, boys respect her in school. The most they tell her that she is pretty, VERY CAUTIOUSLY! HeHe!
    I am afraid to take her to India to visit for that reason. She is a big girl unlike I was at that age, she probably kill the guy if anybody touches her!:P
    Good for Inji, she is a fighter!:))

  13. kalva says:

    Wheres JAI???

  14. Such stunning photos. I envy your garden – I might just come and visit and hide myself under that beautiful salvia (?).

    A day or two before your post I read this – have you seen it? It is also on the bee problem.

    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/06/10/vanishing-bee-colonies-
    doomsday-scenarios-and-sunspots/

    Ganga

  15. [...] 102.Santhosh Pillai 103.Sini 104.Kaithamullu 105.Nandini Vishwanath 106.Thathamma 107.Bee and Jai 108.Chithal 109.Karim Mash 110.Jyonavan 111.Anuraj 112.Shankupushpam 113.Kavalan 114.IdliDosa [...]

  16. J. says:

    Lovely blog! Just found it (via Wild Yeast) and added it to my reader.

    Gorgeous photos.
    The vanishing bees thing is an issue here in Holland as well. One theory I read recently is that beekeepers nowadays feed their bees sugar in winter, instead of letting them eat honey. This causes them to die simply through lack of good nutrition…



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