Posted by Brad @ 4:22 pm on November 8th 2008

The End of The Hive

Rowan Jacobsen, who has written a book on the end of the honeybee, on how mankind can survive once the stripey menace has been vanquished.

No mass starvation, because the grains that make up the bulk of our diet are not at risk. (Wind-pollinated.) So we’d have corn, bread, oatmeal, etc. And certain fruits, such as grapes, are wind-pollinated or self-fertilizing.

And then there’s human pollination, as they’re doing in China. (Take millions of peasants, hand them bundles of chicken feathers, and let them climb through the fruit trees, touching every flower with a bit of pollen from a bucket.) What we’d have is extraordinarily high prices for most of the fruits and vegetables that provide our vitamins and antioxidants, if they could be found at all. And the beef and dairy industry, as Michael Pollan has pointed out, is switching more and more away from natural forage to corn, even though corn makes cattle sick, because it’s cheaper to feed corn and administer antibiotics to sick cattle than it is to use nature pasture. So we’d still have a beef industry, though a freaky one.

We’ll never be truly secure until we have a bee-free economy. We need an Al Gore led initiative to make America pollination-independent.

Or, we can continue to have this:


  1. Bees always mildly frightening to me. I’ve never been bit so there’s always the possibility that when I eventually do, I’ll swell up and die.

    Comment by Cameron — 11/8/2008 @ 4:27 pm

  2. I suppose that should say stung instead of bit. And I’m missing the verb “are” in the first sentence.

    I’m going to go slink away in proofreading shame now.

    Comment by Cameron — 11/8/2008 @ 4:48 pm

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