Biology professor Ted Uyeno at Valdosta State University (VSU) in the US state of Georgia confirms what we have blogged about several times in 2020.
Bees are thriving.
The same conclusions are apparent in Albania, where honeybees are experiencing one of the best years in five decades according to one Albanian beekeeper.
In August we blogged about bees living on the rooftop of the Carabinieri command’s headquarters in Rome and how they are happier now during the lockdown than usual.
If you enter “bees lockdown” into the YouTube search bar, you’ll see videos from the UK, Italy, Bosnia and all over Europe about how bees are enjoying a rebirth due to less pollution, better air, cleaner water, less humans and machinery like cars on the road, and so much more.
While humans are confined in many places due to COVID, bees are flying free and enjoying the bounty of not having us around so much.
Before coronavirus settled over the world, bees were challenged and struggling to survive in many places. They were even dying at alarmingly high rates. Our unwanted lifestyle changes have resulted in positive changes for bees.
Since humanity counts on bee pollination for a large part of our agricultural industry, their struggles have been worrisome for the past several years. If there is anything positive that has come from lockdown, it may be that we have given bees space to regenerate and therefore pollinate our natural vegetables and fruits with more ease than usual.
At VSU there has been a collection of beehives for the past four years. One of the people who helped start the campus bee project was Barry Futch from the Environmental Occupational Safety Crew. He rescues bees from the community and relocates them to the campus. This year’s rescues went relatively problem-free compared to the previous few years.
Professor Uyeno indicated that 20,000 to 30,000 bees live in each beehive. They were ill and dying in high numbers before the COVID-19 pandemic. He reminds us that for popular natural foods like almonds and strawberries, we need bees.
On the other side of the world in Albania, beekeeping is healthier and more successful than it has been in a whopping fifty years. See this 2:23-minute video by WION:
Bee farm owner Gezim Skermo, Morava Bee Farm founder in Korce, Albania says this is a rebirth of bees and nature. The bees are busier than ever before, and the beekeepers in this region of the world expect a rich honey harvesting bonanza in 2020. In fact, they plan two harvests instead of one.
The demand for honey has steadily increased in Albania. Eugen Skermo, the farm’s director, says that less human activity has greatly favored the bees.
The Albanians feel blessed with this turnaround compared to the beehive collapse and financial devastation of 2016 and 2017 when they lost 40% of their beehives and around 60 million euros of bee-product income.
Although people are now very impatient with lockdowns around the world, bees of all species continue to enjoy our more limited impact on the natural world.
Bees have been through so much in recent years, it is good to know that an unexpected benefit from coronavirus is that it is helping bees get stronger.
We need bees. They are our tiny heroes. BEE thankful for them and do not fear them. When a bee stings you, she dies, so she doesn't sting unless she feels very threatened. Do something good for bees because they do something good for you all the time by pollinating your food.
How are bees in your community? Tell us about it over on Facebook.