Wednesday, April 27, 2016


That's kind of a weird word, I agree. But when I was eating my breakfast this morning, I started to think about what parts of it might not be there if it weren't for the bees -- in today's case, the 'bee' in breakfast.

The berries probably wouldn't have been there -- at least not in the proliferation I am spoiled by -- unless perhaps I had taken lessons from the Chinese who now hire people to act as pollinators in many of their orchards. I suppose peacock feathers could be useful for such a task.

And most certainly, the honey I used as sweetener wouldn't be there. The same is clearly true for the sprinkling of bee pollen I like to take in the morning.

But then I thought, wait a minute. What about my cereal? Ingredients on the box are simple enough: Wheat. Period.

Are bees required in the fertilization of wheat? As it turns out, this is one of the grasses that doesn't require bees, as wheat is one of the grasses that's wind-pollinated. Apparently, if you try growing it indoors (sounds ambitious and requiring a fairly huge home), you need to rustle it around now and then to accomplish this.

So then I considered the milk I'd poured on the cereal. If wheat doesn't require bees, do those other grasses consumed by cows need them? Again, if those cows are content with a diet of straight-up grass, I guess so. But if they rely on alfalfa or flax or several varieties of clover, they'd be out of luck without the bees.

After I ate, I went outside to say hello my berry canes -- not just the raspberry ones, even the less civilized-looking blackberries, which at the best of times, can only be called vines.

They've begun budding, so I'm keeping my eyes open, looking to their being visited (not by just the ladybugs, who were busy out there today), but by some hard-working bees.

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