I normally don't read much non-fiction outside of wedding and design blogs, but my little brother, who is currently in a honey bee seminar, pretty much demanded that I read Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis by Rowan Jacobsen. I am also quite oblivious of the news, so the collapse of honey bee hives has escaped my notice; nearly everything concerning honey bees has escaped my notice. Jacobsen does a fabulous job of providing basic facts about honey bees so that you understand why they are so important to agriculture and the way we live. Did you know that approximately 82% of the world's almond production takes place in California and that many beekeepers send their bees to pollinate all those trees? The honey bees are crucial to pollinating the millions of acres of trees and maintaining the production levels. However, sending hives from across the country to one central meeting place is similar to sending your child to daycare; more often than not, they come home with germs and end up sick. Jacobsen explores the plights of the honey bee, from varroa mites and pesticides to Colony Collapse Disorder, and the future effect on how we are able to obtain food.
I've been trying to convince my mom to set up a hive this spring, but she hasn't given in so far. After reading Fruitless Fall, I'm pretty sure I'll only be eating organic, local honey from now on.
If you want to know more, the honey bee seminar class has their own blog: Propolis Metropolis.