Friday 9 December 2016

Kevin Myers: There has never been such a bee-less summer as this one, so maybe disaster now awaits us

Kevin Myers

Published 23/06/2010 | 05:00

The meadows of Ireland now reek with the heavy fragrance of unmade
honey as the clover waits in vain for the honey bee
The meadows of Ireland now reek with the heavy fragrance of unmade honey as the clover waits in vain for the honey bee

A VISITOR from yesteryear, now walking over whatever remains of our pristine countryside during this amazing June, might be tempted to ask: where are our honeybees?

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That is the great unasked question of Irish life today. We can be reasonably sure that the catastrophic collapse in the damson crop across Ireland in the past two years was because of the rapid disappearance of the honeybee, which would usually have pollinated the springtime blossom.

Later in the flowering season -- namely now -- emerges the clover bloom, the head of which consists of scores of florets, each containing at its base a tiny capsule of nectar. The honeybee, with her tiny, searching tongue, can extract the nectar and bring it back to the hive. There, worker bees gather round the droplets of this floral sugar solution and, whirring their wings, create a warm draught that evaporates water, and creates the distillate that we call honey.

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