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View Diary: The Buzz on Honey Bees (158 comments)

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  •  Hand pollination (3+ / 0-)
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    Agathena, AZ Sphinx Moth, Sunspots

    From a 2010 opinion piece at The Guardian:

    One that, for me, sums up a year of continued and frightening environmental degradation and the looming prospect of severe food shortages in years to come. It is the image of workers in the Maoxian county of Sichuan, China, an area that has lost its pollinators through the indiscriminate use of pesticides and the over-harvesting of its honey. These workers aren't picking fruit, or digging, or planting. They're pollinating pear and apple trees by hand. In this part of China, the honeybee has been replaced by the human bee.

    I learned about this startling practice this year, but in fact its been going on for the past two decades. Every spring, thousands of villagers climb through fruit trees hand-pollinating blossoms by dipping "pollination sticks" (brushes made of chicken feathers and cigarette filters) into plastic bottles of pollen and then touching them against each of the tree's billions of blossoms.

    One-third of all our food staples only grow after pollination. In the United States alone, the cost of replacing this "free service" which nature has provided for hundreds of thousands of years, is put at anything between £14bn and £92bn. And that's in one country alone. If we don't wake up to the global crisis facing our pollinators, the banking crisis is going to look relatively trivial as the world runs out of food. China can, for the time being, afford to hurl this level of human labour at the problem: but short of the prospect of actual starvation, it is wholly unrealistic to imagine this happening in, say, California, where bees still pollinate orange, apple, pear and plum trees.

    The solution will, of course, to have "guest workers" in California and not switch to organic farming methods.
    •  Temporary guest workers in Canada (1+ / 0-)
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      Canada admitted 213,516 temporary foreign workers in 2012 alone — by a large margin, the most ever.
      Most are headed to the Tar Sands. I'm sure they'd prefer being human pollinators.

      To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Tue May 28, 2013 at 03:18:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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