Monday, 2 May 2016

Where have the bees gone?

It appears that our bees have died. There is collapse of hives being reported all over Ireland this winter. The beekeepers remove the box and find dead bees clustered and the honey untouched. They are thinking that it was the wet summer and cool wet winter that caused disease to kill them off. Up to 50% loss and more being reported. Tragic!

But that spells disaster for our orchard and vineyard.  There are plenty of bumblebees. I saw one wasp and quite a few flies, but the fruit trees are laden with flowers that, for the first time since planting, have not been blown off by hurricane force winds. So I went out with an artist's brush this afternoon and pretended to be a bee.

I had seen an article about the Chinese pollinating their crops by hand because of the collapse of their bees and other insects. So I decided to try the same. I don't know if what I am doing will have any effect but I have to try.

 Meanwhile the grapes have not yet unfurled their leaves as it has been cold. But signs of life continue and hope remains eternal. We'll see what this foray into food production will yield this year.

We had one good year with a bumper crop of apples (2014). One bad year with nothing of note, no apples, one mini-pear, and a few cherries eaten by the birds just as they ripened. Growing food is not easy. I wouldn't want to have to depend on it.