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Jun. 11, 2010

I Thank The Bumble Bees

by Carl Flatow

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I’m feeling pretty good about my back yard garden this year. I have a nice variety of fruits and vegetables growing. I have been eating fresh strawberries for weeks and have been harvesting a wonderful collection of greens for my evening salad meal. My blueberries are just about to start ripening and, judging by the foliage and flowers, my yard promises to provide for me a bumper crop of raspberries and tomatoes pretty soon.

With all this activity, I must thank the the hard-working bumble bee for pollination help. Even though they only number a few at any given time, they have been the work horses in my yard. I have never seen a honey bee in my neighborhood, a factor which contributed to my interest in keeping bees of my own. Unfortunately, I can’t raise honey bees at home as a local town zoning ordinance prohibits the keeping of bees. Cause and effect?

Suburban development does so much to crowd out natural habitats that a little affirmative action seems to be in order to compensate. Although my strawberry crop has been pretty good, I can probably attribute a portion of cat-face berries I get to insufficient pollination.

My guess is that because bumble bee colonies are very small and don’t swarm they’ve managed to stay under the radar.

About Carl Flatow

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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