I am terrified by bees.
More like anything that buzzes, because the sound reminds me of when I was swarmed at the age of 7.
I'm not talking three stings. I'm talking 27 stings all over my body, spinning around on the back deck behind my house, not wanting to open the door and go inside for fear of letting some in.
The insects that stung me were really hornets, which live only to breed and sting, but I my apiphobia includes honeybees too, even though I know they are wonderful creatures.
After years went by I soon became able to tolerate being in the same area as honeybees, which is good seeing as I love to garden. It scares me that they are slowly disappearing from our planet.
This summer and fall I was working in the organic garden that my friends and I planted, and was devastated to realize that we weren't going to get a very good harvest because of the sheer lack of pollination. There is a farm just across the street from our little plot that keeps bees, but two of their hives left, or died, so the remaining bees are hard pressed to just work that farm, let alone ours.
We had rows of flowers edging our vegetable beds, but the utter lack of bees was stunning. The odd silence was deafening when I worked in the garden.
I associated gardening with the rich smell of dirt, the warm feel of rotting vegetation, the shine of baby vegetables, and the now comforting hum of honey bees. But their voices, which used to strike terror in my heart, but now are a welcome sound, are gone.
It's a sad story, the bees'. They have no way to communicate to us what is happening.
It's not only my little patches of carrots, eggplants, and tomatoes that are suffering.
Bees are essential to growing all different kinds of food.
Of course there are birds, fruit bats, and other animals that eat fruits, and spread the seeds and pits, but that is only part of the process of growing a new generation of plants. Someone has to initiate the pollination process, and bees are much better equipped for this.
Imagine having to walk across acres of plants with bags of pollen slung across your shoulders (assuming you could have collected that pollen efficiently in the first place) and having to spend hours sprinkling it all over the plants' sexual organs. First you'd have to FIND some of the plant's sexual organs. (That's a job in itself)
This is why we need the bees. I'm not a fan of them, with their buzzing, and their ruthless, vicious cousins the hornet, but I love them.
They provide me with bell peppers for my salad.
With honey for my green tea.
With carrots for my dog to play with when he's bored. (Yep, he's a healthy pup :] )
And they give me a symphony when I dig in the dirt.