Parlando: The COC Blog

2/12/2013

Honeybees: The Questions About Colony Collapse Disorder Continue

Four Seasons Centre BeesBeekeeper Fred Davis regularly updates us on the honeybees that live on the roof of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, located at 145 Queen St. W., here in Toronto. In this blog post, he ponders the very real issues facing honeybees, and us:

There is no one cause or smoking gun for Colony Collapse Disorder, but rather a storm of pressures the bees face because humans have pretty much failed at maintaining the complex balance of animal husbandry and respect for our environment. In my opinion, we have allowed CCD to happen but not intentionally. And we have again allowed technology to get ahead of us. We're good at rationalizing our actions in the name of short term gain. To be clear, CCD does not affect the colonies atop the Four Seasons Centre. But they do have to deal with other pressures. Commercial, hobby and urban beekeepers continue to learn more about, and try to deal with, pressures like varroa mites and American Foul Brood; the former introduced by honeybees imported from Asia and the latter by European settlers. It's important to remember, honeybees are not indigenous to North America. They were first imported from Europe. And herein lies another pressure the honeybees face. We are told that honeybees (apis mellifera) in most of North America are descendants of the original 472 mother bees. Genetic diversity is obviously very important, but is there enough diversity to sustain the honeybee? I don't know.



I am thankful to forward-looking organizations like the Canadian Opera Company for supporting urban beekeeping. The COC has supported me and the bees in good times and in bad. In some years we've seen a bounty of honey and in others less. This year's hives are now bundled up for the winter and I think of them and hope that they will emerge again next spring when I will be thankful for what they do best - pollinating and helping to diversify and strengthen plant life in downtown Toronto.

Thanks, Fred!

Posted by Gianna Wichelow / in FSCPA Honeybees / comments (0) / permalink


Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001