Where no bee flies

I just read another doomsday article focussing not on banks or ballistics but on bees. It seems that bees are disappearing for reasons at best guessed at, and not just from here in the UK but in most places world-wide. In ten years time the last honey bee in the UK will keel over, dead. Many of the wild bee species ditto. In case we didn't know, the writer points out that much of our food is bee-dependent because without bees there would be no fertilisation of large pollen species such as fruit trees, grains and rape. He also points out that rising populations plus falling food supplies equals unimaginable disaster for the human race.

The reasons for the disappearance of many species of bees may be unknown, but amongst the plethora of scientific guesswork a small codicil mentions something called 'genetic modification'. Surprise, surprise. Who was it said, "He who the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad"? Bees eat pollen as well as carrying it from plant to plant. Perhaps the bees are trying to tell us something?

But for me the real sting is in the tail of the article. It seems that in a Chinese Province which is dependent on the fruit trade and where the bees have absented themselves, hundreds of people with minute paintbrushes are taking the pollen from millions of flower stamens to millions of flower stigmas; humans doing the work of insects. I knew there had to be a solution.

How do you like them apples, New York City?

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