Monday, March 17, 2008

Bee Story

A very strange bee story,

ripped from the headlines by yours truly:
(the picture above is gorgeous isn't it? I wish I'd taken it, but it is from an internet stock photo outfit called pdphoto.)


Big rig full of bees flips over; swarm closes highway

Associated Press
Millions of swarming honey bees are on the loose after a truck carrying crates of the insects flipped over on a California highway.The California Highway Patrol says 8-to-12 million bees escaped Sunday from the crates in which they were stored and swarmed over an area of Highway 99 and stung officers, firefighters and tow truck drivers trying to clear the accident.CHP Officer Michael Bradley says a tractor trailer flipped over while entering the highway on its way to Yakima, Wash. The flatbed was carrying bee crates each filled with up to 30,000 bees.Bradley says several beekeepers driving by the accident stopped to assist in the bee wrangling.The bees had been used in the San Joaquin Valley to pollinate crops.

That bit that I highlighted there seemed, well, a tad unlikely. Thanks to the fabulous internets...a better version of the story fleshes this part of the tale a little more fully for those curious to know exactly how many beekeepers are driving up and down highway 99.

Were they in formation?

Just happened to be following a truck carrying beehives? hmmmmbzzzzhmmmmm.

Anyways, I hope the people who are stung are ok, and that the bees are happy in Sacramento instead of back in Yakima. It sounds like they were going back there, after their gig pollinating in the Joaquin Valley. Now, what will the farmers in Yakima do for replacement bees? I know that supplies of bee colonies are quite scarce due to the colony collapse disorder...This may affect the early fruit harvest people, serious business!
I think I noticed this story because bees interest me quite a bit. Not just because I'm a gardener, it goes beyond that really. I know I've mentioned this here before, that I'm fascinated with the idea of beekeeping, and always say "someday I'll be a beekeeper." My favorite beekeeper (and only one I've met in person) is Jim from our local CSA farm, Camp Joy, and I love reading about the exploits of Neil Gaiman's bee wrangler BirdChick.

1 comment:

Laume said...

Y'know, I didn't think of it as being unlikely because a) they were in an agricultural valley and b) I know a number of people who, although you wouldn't know it, are beekeepers. My friend Deb (did you meet her in Chicago with me?), our neighbors - several of our neighbors actually.

We have beekeepers kitty corner to us and they've mentioned several times how much their bees love our yard. We have a lot of different kinds of bees in our yard - I don't really know which are which (except to tell the difference between a bee and a wasp and we've got those too). Did you ever read The Secret Life of Bees? If not, rush out and get it. Bees fascinate me as well, for not only their obvious relation to us in the physical, but also their their varied symbolism. My ex's grandfather was a beekeeper and I still have the last of a gallon jar of honey from his farm. We had dozens of gallons because no one else wanted them because they had "bees and wax" floating in the top. Anyways... bees. Yes.