[ExI] the bee problem and a possible solution

spike spike66 at att.net
Tue Apr 1 18:11:04 UTC 2008



	From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of
ablainey at aol.com
	Sent: Monday, March 31, 2008 11:33 PM
	To: extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
	Subject: Re: [ExI] The Bee Problem
	...Interesting, I'd also like to know if this is worldwide or
America's specific...

This first round of the bee site effort will be US-specific, but Europeans
if you wish to participate, make notes of the bee population and where you
live.  The resolution I planned for the US would be at the county level.  A
county in the states is typically about 50 to 100 km on a side.  Is there
something analogous to a county in Europe and Australia?  If not, a city
will do for location, or GPS coordinates.  

	...You said 'We are going to miss eating fruit and nuts.' I can see
this being a definite problem if all bee types are declining. but what if
other species like solitary bee's, bumble etc are not effected? These and
other pollinators might increase in number to fill the gap?	Alex

Alex, the bumblebee is a pollinator, but not an adequate substitute for
honeybees.  If you are in a position to do it, watch a bumblebee, and
estimate how much work she gets done per unit time, by counting the number
of blossoms visited per minute, number of minutes before she leaves, how
many total bumblebees are on a particular bush at a time, etc.  It's about a
tenth as effective as a honeybee, and there are far fewer of them usually.
You will see that bumblebees are lazy bugs.  Well, everything is lazy
compared to a honeybee.  Honeybees will swarm onto a blossoming orange tree
by the skerjillions, and really make tracks from one blossom to another.
They seem to go in fast forward compared to all other pollinators, such as
flies and humming birds.  Honeybees do more pollinating than all other bugs

Your comment gave me an interesting idea however.  We could look at the
possibility of breeding alternate pollinators, possibly non-flyers, such as
some hardy type of roach for instance.  They stay nearby, they breed like
mormons, and for all their undeserved reputation as diseased carriers, I
have never seen a sick roach.  If we develop crawling pollinators we might
have less of a problem with their being smashed on car windows and might be
easier to keep them healthy.  

What would really be cool is if we could somehow process the roaches into
food at the end of the pollination season, or perhaps feed them to the hogs.
Of course it does have some psychological factors (...fruit trees black with
creepy roaches, ewww...) but we will overcome that hangup once we get
sufficiently hungry.



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