Last weekend, just 200 yards away from the Ironman Coeur d’Alene triathlon, a semi truck carrying 400 beehives overturned, spilling it’s cargo on the freeway.
There were an estimated 2 million bees inside, many of which were killed either by the crash, or by the foam that the cleanup crew used on them afterward. Millions of bees, on their way to pollinate someone’s very large farming operation.
Several local beekeepers were on the scene, attempting to rescue “as many as they could.” I don’t know how many that ended up being, but it seemed like such a waste.
People don’t get it. If we don’t have bees, we don’t have efficient pollination. No pollination, no farming. No farms, no food.
Bees = Food
I’m not some great environmentalist. I don’t hug trees, I don’t care about spotted owls, and I throw away as much junk as I recycle. But bees are necessary.
It really hit me again, because the neighbor who lives behind me has beehives, and as I glanced out my back window today I noticed that the air in my yard was filled with flying creatures.
This is the third time this year. We had three swarms last year, too. Her hives are very healthy, as they grow to the point where they need to create a new queen (who then leaves, taking a swarm with her.) Last year we received some delicious honeycomb from them after the swarms came through our yard.
I watched them from the house for a while today, then went out to see if they I could tell if they were gathering somewhere or if they were on their way out. It was really hard to tell.
I called my neighbor, Nona, and left her a message that her bees were swarming again, but since she didn’t answer I also sent my son down around the corner to her house, to let her know. Thankfully, she was home.
I quietly walked back outside and noticed they were gathering on a branch on the next door neighbor’s lilac tree, which separates our yards.
Nona gets it. She keeps bees as a second generation beekeeper, and gets a few gallons of honey a year from the bees she keeps. Her dad still has many hives on his ranch, about an hour away. He’s on his way out as I type this, to attempt to capture the queen (and the swarm) and take them back to ranch with him. He will sell the hive to another keeper.
Again I tell you, I’m not some crazy green environmentalist.
I don’t tote signs and yell at people for using plastic or having microwaves or logging or any of that. I know loggers. They’re good people. I know logging truck drivers. It’s a dangerous job.
And there is the semi driver whose truck crashed, resulting in the spilling of his cargo, and probably the forfeit of his paycheck for the transport not to mention the damage to his truck, which was extensive. He was just trying to do his job.
But the bees didn’t have a say in what happened to them. They were being brought to do what they just do naturally, because without them we all starve. I hope they were able to salvage at least some of the hives, but from the looks of the video and the thousands of dead bees on the ground, I’m not so sure.