As I wrote the day before yesterday in Bees and eagles--distressing biodiversity news from Michigan, Doctor Who isn't the only one worried about disappearing bees. That entry included a video from WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids showing how farmers help dying honey bee hives about colony collapse disorder. The very next day, The Washington Post published How the White House plans to help the humble bee maintain its buzz showing that bees have friends in high places.
The humble bee — nuisance, threat, and linchpin of the American food supply — has won over the leader of the free world. And now President Obama is intervening on the bee’s behalf as its habitat dwindles.Droege wasn't the only scientist praising the announcement and the plan. Reuters posted its video Saving the honey bees showing Stephen Cook, a research entomologist, applauding the administration's action and repeating the importance of pollinators.
On Tuesday, the Obama administration will announce the first National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, a bureaucratic title for a plan to save the bee, other small winged animals and their breeding grounds. The initiative may feel like the kind of niche interest a second-term president devotes his time to, but scientists say his attention to the busy workforce that sustains many American crops is critical. While bee colonies regularly die off during winter because of stressful conditions, their sharp decline has been called a potential ecological disaster by some environmentalists and academic experts; conservative Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) described it in an interview as “an essential thing [that] we need to pay attention to.”
The strategy, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, will seek to manage the way forests burned by wildfire are replanted, the way offices are landscaped and the way roadside habitats where bees feed are preserved.
It is also the culmination of a years-long fascination Obama has had with the bee and its worrisome fate.
“I have to say that it is mighty darn lovely having the White House acknowledge the indigenous, unpaid and invisible workforce that somehow has managed to sustain all terrestrial life without health-care subsidies, or a single COLA, for that past 250 million years,” said Sam Droege, a U.S. Geological Survey wildlife biologist and one of the country’s foremost experts on native bee identification.
Reuters has more on the importance of bees in That’s billion, with a bee: Measuring the massive cost of hive collapse. To read the announcement and plan, click on the link to the Washington Post article above and follow their links or click on this link to Announcing New Steps to Promote Pollinator Health at the White House website and follow the links from there.
As for me, I approve of this Crazy Eddie plan and wish it all the success possible. Our food supply is depending on it.