We’ve had a couple of hot days in March, and so I’ve been keeping the water fountain in the backgarden flowing, and the various bird baths dotted about under bushes topped up with water.
Not only have the birds had a wonderful time, cooling themselves off and vigorously sending showers of droplets into the air, but I’ve also noticed a sudden surge in the number of bees in our garden who have taken over the water fountain. Normally, we don’t have quite so many at one time, but perhaps it’s because there are so many pollen-bearing (and hayfever-causing) trees and bushes in our and our neighbours’ gardens? I’m starting to wonder whether they have a hive nearby?
Although I’m nervous of bees and avoid getting too close to them, I am very pleased to see them in our garden. They’re an essential part of our ecosystem. And what with bee colonies collapsing all over the world, threatening our future food supply, it is particularly heartening that they are still flourishing here.
According to Wikipedia, the causes of colony collapse disorder aren’t fully understood as yet.
Some authorities think it may be caused by “biotic factors such as Varroa mites and insect diseases (i.e., pathogens including Nosema apis and Israel acute paralysis virus).“. It could also be caused by “environmental change-related stresses, malnutrition, pesticides (e.g. neonicotinoids such as clothianidin and imidacloprid), and migratory beekeeping”.They’ve even speculated that it might be caused by “cell phone radiation (e.g.) and genetically modified (GM) crops with pest control characteristics, though no evidence exists for either assertion.”
Of course, it could also be a combination of many factors, with the general idea being that all the environmental stressors are weakening the bees and thus making them more susceptible to pests and pathogens.