THE HONEY BEE’S PLEA
Arthur Firstenberg 29 Jan 2020
The honey bee in the banner at the top of this newsletter has been speaking to us for over one hundred and fourteen years. Its numbers ever diminishing, its message ever more urgent, it waits for a sleeping world to finally listen. “Now!” it says. “Wake up before it’s too late, there is no more time!”
On the Isle of Wight, off the southern coast of England, Giuglielmo Marconi built the world’s first permanent radio station. And the bees’ first warning to humanity was heard. “They are often to be seen crawling up grass stems, or up the supports of the hive, where they remain until they fall back to the earth from sheer weakness, and soon afterwards die,” wrote Augustus Imms of Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1906. Ninety percent of the bees had already vanished from the entire island. Unable to find a cause, he called it, simply, Isle of Wight disease. Swarms of healthy bees were imported from the mainland, but it was of no use: within a week the fresh bees were dying off by the thousands.
The description, more than a century later, is exactly the same. (continue reading…pdf)